How to Write a Song | Teen Ink

How to Write a Song

October 24, 2010
By JRsingersongwriter GOLD, HB, California
JRsingersongwriter GOLD, HB, California
11 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's one thing to put yourself in someone's shoes. It's another to walk around in them." -Me!

I've always loved writing songs. I haven’t posted any of my current best songs on TeenInk because they haven’t been copyrighted yet. But for those of you who like to write songs and post them, I thought I’d share my favorite tips on songwriting. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

Repetition is good, but don’t overuse it. Choruses are great, but I don’t like to put more than 3-4 in a song.
Try to be more symbolic than literal. For example, instead of “You dumped me the next day, and I felt so bad”, try “I stood at your doorstep, but you never came home. You left me, all broken, when I needed you most.”
Filler words like “yeah”, “oh”, “whoa”, and “ooh,” can add oomph, but when used a lot it can really make a song sound cheesy.
You don’t always have to rhyme. Take the song “Black Horse & Cherry Tree” by KT Tunstall. It doesn’t rhyme a lot, but still the song is very catchy and well-written. (BTW, it’s another example of being symbolic!)
Listen to all kinds of music. If you only listen to pop singers (Selena Gomez, Ke$ha, Rihanna) then all your songs will probably have a pop sound to it. I listen to everything from pop to oldies to jazz to techno to choral to hip hop. Pop best suits my voice, but all my songs have a blend of sounds to them now.
Write down ANY ideas you have. They might sound weird now, but later you can edit them and make them work!
I like to use this site they have daily lyric suggestions that I use often.
If you can’t play an instrument, use Apple’s Garageband or this site:
Certain words and phrases are waaayyy overused, like ‘I love you’, ‘you make the sun shine’, ‘I’m down’, ‘come on, let’s go,’ etc. Try to be original!
Certain rhymes are overused also. Like ‘fly’, ‘try’, ‘goodbye’, and ‘down’, ‘around’, ‘ground’, and ‘me,’ ‘be’, and ‘see’. Try to use other ones. Like, instead of ‘when I’m with you, I can fly. I can do anything if I try,’ how about ‘when you’re around me, anything’s possible. you’re always there to catch me when I fall’ it’s still a little cheesy, but better than the first one.
11. When you're done with a song, record it with a desktop microphone. I started doing that when I was eleven.
12. Copyright it. It's not too expensive if you copyright all your songs at once. Once again, I did that when I was eleven.
13. Burn CDs and give them to friends and family... but make sure they're copyrighted first, and they don't go out to the wrong people! (I learned that the hard way in sixth grade)
14. If you're not too shy, and if your teachers are okay with it, try writing a song for a project! I've written songs about everything from the immune system to pioneers, and got good grades from it! Plus it's entertaining to the class!
15. If serious songs aren't your thing, try parodies (think Weird Al, Venetian Princess from youtube, and Adam Sandler)! Instead of 'Tik Tok' by Ke$ha, write a parody called 'Tic Tac' about the breathmints! (Sry, i tried to but then found out it's already been done =P)

Hope these tips help! don’t forget to share yours in the comments! ?

The author's comments:
Songwriting is my life. Some of my earliest songs are:
Dinnertime (about my favorite meal, written when I was six)
Bummer (about a group of girls who excluded me, written in Kindergarten)
Jared's Moving (about my best friend who moved away, written in first grade)
Friends Till the End (a collaboration with my best friend about our friendship, written in second grade)

Now my songs are more developed, but I look back and think how cute my compositions were in elementary school!

Here are some tips for "more advanced" songwriters ;).

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This article has 8 comments.

on Jan. 5 2015 at 10:15 pm
Thanks for those helpful tips they really helped a lot

Teena said...
on Jan. 16 2014 at 7:43 pm
Thanks for your helpful tips, but would you share how did you put a melody on your lyrics?

on Aug. 6 2013 at 12:04 pm
I need so much help I did just comment my troubles but I need A LOT of help!!!!!!!

on Aug. 6 2013 at 12:02 pm
I totally agree with what you are saying but my problem is I can't find anything that comes to my heart. This is my first time writing a song and I have a lot of pressure being put on me for it well my uncle has a band and my aunt said he could publish it once its finished and I don't want to mess this chance up. I need a lot of help with this. I mean you said about the break up song but I haven't had a relationship to write about love and my cousin just died but it hurt me so bad it is giving me a brain blockage. If you could give me any feedback at all on this I would be soooooooooo grateful

on Jan. 16 2013 at 5:18 pm
EatWriteSleep PLATINUM, Orlando, Florida
48 articles 0 photos 38 comments

Favorite Quote:
We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars- Oscar Wilde

I tooootally agree with basically everything you said. It annoys me immensely when teenybopper pop singers say "ooooh" and "whoa" and "yeah" in ther songs just as filler. Great tips, I would probably sayt he same thing.

on Feb. 23 2012 at 1:36 am
JRsingersongwriter GOLD, HB, California
11 articles 0 photos 33 comments

Favorite Quote:
"It's one thing to put yourself in someone's shoes. It's another to walk around in them." -Me!

You're welcome! Thanks for commenting. If you need any help whatsoever just ask, and I can help give my input. Link to your songs if you have any!

on Feb. 12 2012 at 5:08 am
Thanx is will come really handy cause ive been thinking about writing a few song s but have been struggling to think what to write and what to write about!!!!

on Feb. 12 2012 at 5:06 am
Thanx this will come in handy cause ive been thinking of writing a few songs but have been struggling