Struggling with songwriter's block? Try one of these methods to get your ideas flowing:
Steal a chord progression.
There’s a reason chord progressions alone aren’t copyright-able: because SO many songs use the same chord progressions.
Grab a chord progression from a song that you like and switch it up: change the tempo, the groove, the instrumentation, etc. Loop that chord progression and start improvising melodies on top of it.
Not only is this a great practice in improvisation, but it’s a great way to get your juices flowing and you might just discover a great melody for your next song!
Start with one word.
Take one word. Turn it into a metaphor. Then brainstorm a list of related words and choose ones that will support the metaphor.
Let’s take the word “car,” for example. We’ll make it a metaphor for a relationship moving too fast. Here’s a list of related words: gas, driving, steering wheel, rear view mirror, wheels, brakes, headlights, signs, stop light, tires, license, pedal, swerving, etc.
From that list of words, come up with a few ideas for the hook: "Stop running red lights," "Hit the brakes please," "We’re gonna run out of gas,"...
With a little set-up and explanation, those could all be interesting hooks for describing a relationship that’s moving too fast. So try this method for writing a metaphor-based song next time you’re struggling for lyric ideas!
Use speech patterns as a guide.
Pick a sentence, any sentence. Say it a few times. Notice which words stand out. Unless you’re a robot, you’re probably naturally emphasizing certain words more than others.
Use those words to form your melody: If you put those words on higher notes, they will naturally stand out more. Try forming a melody with peaks on those words.
You can write a whole chorus or verse with random sentences using this method – it doesn’t have to make sense! If you end up loving the melody, go back and re-work the song with real lyrics.
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