Heyo! As many of you know, I have been on the journey of songwriting for the past couple years. I am learning through experience what process works best for me and wanted to share that with all you guys who are just starting to find your niche in music. These steps can be used for any song with words, but are definitely catered to christian themed music. If you accept the challenge of writing a song, I would love to hear it/help you along. Connect with us through our facebook, email, or instagram! Happy writing!
1- Identify your topic/theme
What is inspiring you to write what you’re writing? All parts of this song will point toward this theme. Some theme examples that I’ve written are: my story, slowing down, God’s faithfulness, and having faith through the hard times. You can write about anything, but I find it easier to write about things that are going on in my life at the time.
If you are writing a worship song or song of testimony, a great place to start is the Bible. Find a passage that really sticks out to you and that the World needs to hear and write it down.
Other Ideas: Not all songs are the same. You can tell a personal story, tell a story from a different perspective (ex. a disciple, someone who experienced a miracle in the Bible) or just stick with going over what you think people need to hear.
2- Invite God into the Process
I always start with prayer because I believe that God can speak through music. Ask God what to write about… You may or may not have something specific pop in your mind, but prayer is always a good start to a song.
3- Always Be Taking Notes
Take a notebook around with you so that whenever you come up with a lyric you can write it down before letting it slip your mind. I use my phone and have hundreds of random lines. Some end up as songs, most do not.
4- Voice Memos
Record all your ideas. There have been way too many times where I made something super neat and forgot to record it so I couldn’t remember it the next time I came to work on the song.
5- Decide on Your Genre
What style of music do you like? If you play an instrument and want to do both, work within your preferred style to figure out a vibe. If you don’t play an instrument, just work on your lyrics and collaborate with someone who does later.
Play around. Don’t settle on the first sound you create. More content gives you more to choose from when putting the song together.
If you also play an instrument, or have someone to play for you pick a key that best suits your voice and style. All your chords will (most likely) filter through this key.
6- Start Writing
There’s not just one way to start your song. If you prefer, you could start with your chorus/pre-chorus or even change your verse into a chorus later. I like to start with the verses
Verses are great story starters. Begin your idea. Write it out. If you are writing a song from personal experience with God, start with how you felt before God came into your life. Then throughout the song, develop the flow.
If writing about a specific passage in the Bible, you can make the words into a verse, then, summarize it in the chorus.
Not all songs have these, nor do they have to. Pre-choruses are used to introduce the chorus. They build up suspense that is both relieved musically and through the words.
This should get stuck in your head. The chorus is the main point/thought you want to convey to your listeners. Take time to play with a couple lines and then finalize with the most theme-fitting, musically flowing chorus.
The bridge is usually what I write last. Bridges are used to break up the song to keep the listener’s attention. In Christian music, the bridge is repeated multiple times. This is used to reinforce your theme/purpose behind the song.
Tip- Throw in a new chord progression (within the chosen key) to emphasize the new thought being sung.
Build the bridge up to a high chorus to finish strong.
Play/sing your song to find your favorite rhythms and words. Don’t be afraid to make changes, but don’t forget to record each time you do.
Play/sing your song to trusted friends/family. Ask for their input and advice. This is a really vulnerable part of songwriting so don’t take their words too personally. We, as musicians, can always improve and inviting others into the songwriting process is necessary for growth; even if it’s your first time. You can always choose what to change from their input, nothing is final yet.
9- Name Your Song
Based on all the elements in your song, choose a title you think best exemplifies its purpose.
10- Write Another Song
Cause why stop at one?!
If you can't seem to develop a whole song at once, it is totally normal to come back to it. Let it sit and start another one in the mean time.