Resource 2 : Songwriting

We have developed the following document to provide you with tips to support and strengthen your songwriting abilities. After reflecting on your story and lived experience, we will now use these tips to translate them into a song.

We will now cover six tips:

  1. Mindset
  2. Concept
  3. Brain Dump
  4. Song Structure
  5. Techniques
  6. Rehearse
 

Mindset

  • It’s about believing in yourself. Tell yourself that you are amazing. You got this!

  • Your story is your unique story and it needs to be heard. Be YOU

  • Get out of your own way. Remove ego. This is about the song now.

  • Don’t worry about what others think of you, let yourself be vulnerable and honest and the most beautiful song will come out of you.

  • Your first instinct is often your best.

  • Let the song tell the story from here.

Concept

  • When you come up with a song, start with a theme or concept.

  • Anything and everything is a song, just look around you. A song can start from a conversation, a story, something you read, something you see. Be aware !

  • Think about what you or someone else is going through and the song will express these thoughts and emotions.

  • Our theme for this project is “home”

Brain Dump

  • Start writing down all your ideas and thoughts relating to your theme.

  • Use notes on your phone, a pen and paper, a voice recorder. Just get all of those thoughts and ideas out of your brain.

  • If you are collaborating on a song, use a google doc that you can edit and refer to together.

  • Get messy, No idea is a bad idea. Let your brains run wild. One word you write down could eventually become the title or hook.

  • Just get everything out of your heart and mind. Its therapeutic to put it all out there.

Song Structure

  • The brain dumps are the ingredients to your song. The theme is the base and next we are going to add our toppings

  • Make sure you are being direct with your story and message. Simplicity is key. Make lyrics conversational, relatable and understandable.

  • There are no mistakes and you can always rewrite the song as many times as you like. So don’t be afraid to write those words on the page.

  • Songs have sections like an intro / Verse / PreChorus / Chorus / Bridge / Outro. The same way your story has a beginning, middle and end.

  • The chorus is the repetitive mantra or hook for people to keep in their minds so they remember that song. The verses are the story to lead up to that chorus which is the message that you really want to convey.

  • Now pull those words from your brain dump to form a story and song.

Techniques

  • For rap we commonly use rhyming patterns. For example: A-G

A is one rhyme like “Back” and B is the next rhyme like “Down”

The next A will be “Crack” and B will be “Now” next we move to C and so on.

  • Notice Down and Now are ‘near rhymes’ as opposed to ‘hard rhymes’ which still sound like a rhyme when performed.

  • Try different rhyme Schemes: Try the 2+1+1 rule:

First two lines the same  / Third line changes / Fourth line changes again

  • Then switch up the pattern, e.g. Try 1+2+1

  • Use similies – Similies are when you are comparing the subject to something else. E.g I’m like the sun or I’m as hot as a fire.

  • Metaphors – Explain the subject as the object., I AM the sun or I AM the fire.

  • Play around with syllable patterns – Think of the structuring of your words and consider syllable counting.

    g. “The Way I Am” by Eminem.

    This pattern is 3 syllables on each beat of one bar…. So 3/3/3/3 in each bar. There is often 4 beats in a bar in most hip hop tracks)

“I SIT BACK / WITH THE PACK / OF ZIG ZAGS / IN THIS BAG.”

  • This pattern helps you stay in a style so you keep in a flow.

  • Place the best rhythmic and melodic components on the most important words.

Rehearse

  • Rehearse Rehearse Rehearse

  • Practice and all will come.

  • See above and repeat.



    Stories can also be told without words. either instrumentally or through dance or other forms of art. But we will talk about that in another module down the line. Stay tuned. www.street2stage.com.au