Just curious about how other people go about this. When you're writing music and you want to play it with your band for the first time, do you tab out all the parts? Do you make a lyrics sheet with just chords and the other members kind of figure it out? Or do you do it with just a lyrics sheet and build the musical side out of a jam or something? Obviously there are a bunch of different approaches.
I would do lyrics with a chord sheet. That way, you could play it for them and ask them to build onto it.
Once, our one guitarist wrote a whole song by himself and was like "Here! play this!"
He was mad because we couldn't play it like it was in his head.
I would just build it together, given the choice
Roland AX-09 Lucina Keytar
Yamaha PSR-E413 Keyboard

Roland CM-30 & KC-350 amps
We usually put our songs together like this:
1. I'll write a ton of riffs throughout the week that are kind of related and sound decent together
2. Obsessively work out every minute detail of said riffs
3. When we all get together, we build drums/bass for each riff
4. Keep the best riffs, and organize them into a loose structure
5. Slowly add more intricacies and interesting parts until we have a complete song

And our vocalist works out his lyrics and phrasing throughout this whole process, so by the time we hit step four the vocals are basically done. It works very well for us. But obviously it's going to be different for every band, depending on your strengths and weaknesses.
Last edited by Axle543 at Feb 2, 2014,
We demo all of our songs, record and rough mix. Add parts to them as we go and work out a structure.

we then add any "production" we think is necessary (Choirs, Synths just extras so to speak)

we then have an entire song ready to be "Learned" by the band and by learned i mean cleaned up for live play.

the entire process takes about a month for each song from idea, to fully playable live song. Keep in mind we have 24 hour access to our practice studio so we can jam whenever, before the practice studio it was about twice as long to get a song done.
I pretty much write all the parts, and then teach them riff by riff at practice. I also usually demo the thing at home, with all the guitar parts as well as drums, so the drumer has some idea what we are going for. But yeah, i just teach them, since none of us know sheet music, and it would take to long to write tabs. They pick it up pretty quick anyway, and they build a bit on it as well, and we kinda change the structure if we feel like it. Also, i sometimes tab out a complicated part, if someone asks for it. But i did that like 3 times in total. I guess learning guitar pro would help...
Joža je kul. On ma sirove z dodatki pa hambije.
I usually either bring up a guitar piece and see if anyone else likes it or has any ideas and go from there or I write and record the entire song on my own and when I bring it to the band they can use it as a starting point. I feel strongly that everyone should have their own flavor in their parts otherwise it's just a solo project. I usually leave lyrics and vocal melodies to the vocalist unless of course I am doing vocals or back-up vocals. I have the music notated for them in some way too or if not I'll just show them piece by piece.
I record guitar with logic then bounce a rough arrangement to the band members. Then by prac time everyone has their parts ready to go. We usually get the song done in one prac.
Lol you guys are keen!

For my bands:

1. Someone records an idea on their phone.

2. They SMS that song to the rest of the guys.

3. If people like it they'll learn it for practice, expand upon it. Complete songs are preferred over riffs etc.
And no, Guitar Hero will not help. Even on expert. Really.
I generally start off by writing the sort of, barebones of it. So chord-structure, lyrics and melody, demo that, (acoustic guitar + vocals) and we work through it all together, adding parts and changing things as we go along.

I often find that pre-writing parts for other members doesn't go too well unless it's something like a melody for the violin or trumpet or vocal harmonies.
We've discovered we don't work well with the "one member brings in a riff, everyone then works on it" model. So most of our songs are done through jamming. We play until we hit on something that works. We then take that idea, and work on it until we know it's a verse, chorus, bridge, etc... Then we talk about where the song should go - louder or quieter in the next part? What does the vocal sound like over this, and where should it go? Do we need to change keys?
Each of us will usually have a few ideas, and we'll try each of them out until something works. Once we have the basic structure, we'll talk about adding things or taking things away - should the second verse just be bass and drums? Does the bridge need another part? Should the lead guitar be doing something different on the third chorus?
Once that's hashed out, our drummer will work on making his parts a bit more interesting, and our bassist will expand from the root notes he's been doing up till then. We'll also take the basic vocal and start figuring out if we need any backups/embellishments anywhere.

Needless to say, it takes us forever to finish songs, but by the time we're done with one, everyone is happy.
Basically I get än idea and the start forming the song. Wien I have the structure down including chorus and verses I will do a basic recording, vocals and guitar. This I will send to my banjo/guitar player and if he likes it we go to work on solos, breaks and what have you. We then bring in the bass player and drummer and work on structure...I know where I want the song to go and point out the ups and downs but they know there instruments better so we work together to make it sound tight. The violin player we just let loose cause basically even in my wildest imaginations I can't improvise like he does. We do a couple of runs through and then record, I then make sure everybody gets a copy and then we listen and subjectively go through it next time we meet. I'm trying the same approach but working with the bass player and we'll see if this works as well. I always make sure that everybody always gets pdf 's of the lyrics and chords via mail with my first recording before rehearsal so everyone's a tad prepared.
I believe in god, jesus and the holy ghost.....or as i call them Angus, Kirk and Lemmy
Usually one band member will write a whole song out in Guitar Pro, and then post in a Facebook message that everyone's a part of. Then everyone else shits on them because it's terrible. Repeat step 2 ad nauseam. We've been a band for 5 years and are about to play our 3rd show ever. Clearly this is a successful method of collaborative songwriting.
With my current band I will sit up at night and record a demo of a song with lyrics and guitar once I've got them down cold. Sometimes I try to do a few of these (maybe add a drum loop) and burn them to a CD. Other times I'll just play it live for them when we get together to rehearse. Then gauge their opinions. If I can tell they don't like it I save it for my "solo project".

Back when I was in a band in high school we did it different. We had hours every day after school (or when we were skipping school) to noodle around so we would just jam out and play riffs randomly til we stumbled on something cool. Then write words together.
I'm not the best to advice you on this regard, as I do a full-band homemade demo all by myself (I use EZ Drums for drums, run my guitar through a bass amp simulator to get bass lines, and then I just play guitar normally and sing). I send that to the other guys, and we build upon it once we get to play it at band practice. I do this so they can understand how it sounds "in my head", what's my approach to the song, what I want it to be.

But, the best thing you can do is: record a tempo track (a track with a tic-toc to the tempo of the song), throw it on Audacity. Make another track, record the rhythm guitar. Then vocals. That's all you need for your drummer and bass player to work on.
it kind of depends. of the three bands im currently in, we do it three different way;

the first band, more of a folky americana type stuff, the singer tells us the chords, and he plays through the song with us until our parts are beginning to get formed. this is also when me make recommendations for arrangement.

the second band, sort of a bluesy/pop/jazz thing with a female singer and songwriter is a really fun way to do it. she records scratch tracks of just her singing and playing acoustic. then we take a day to come in to the studio, and put our parts down. when we go to the studio, that is the first time we have played the music.

and the third band, is sort of a fusiony/funky thing. this has keyboards and lots of horns and stuff, so i actually come to the players with all the notation PLUS i do midi demos so they can listen through it a few times as well.
Quote by BryanChampine
It was like a orgasm in my ear.
Chea_man is the best.