How to Begin Writing Music (In 5 Basic Steps)

In this lesson I will go over 5 basic steps on how to begin writing music. This is meant for beginners and people who are having trouble writing music in general.

Ultimate Guitar
So you've been playing guitar a while now, or maybe not long at all, and you want to dive into creating your own music. There are many ways of approaching writing and some ways can prove really difficult for some guitarists while others seem to have no problem at all. It is all in personal preference and how you want to go about writing. I believe there are 5 basic steps in which every musician/guitar player should think about before starting to write music.

These are the 5 rules that should be followed all the time:

1. Be creative! (Try to do something different from everyone else)

By being creative you open a huge window of opportunities for yourself down the road. Not only will you develop your own unique style very quickly but you will also develop your ear faster, get quicker chops and also be the talk of the town before you know it. If you're on stage, at a campfire, jamming with buddies in their basements or simply just playing by yourself you will start to really enjoy adding your own flavour to songs and especially your own songs. Also don't be afraid of different genres of music. People have their favourites and tend to just stick with one genre of music which can have a negative effect on their playing ability and start to make them sound the same after a while. Don't be afraid to mix and match your favourite genres together in a song. Also start learning different techniques and skills that you can use on guitar and try and add them to your own songs accordingly.

2. Record your idea(s)! (GuitarPro, Video/Audio, Transcribe... etc)

This is very important and I think it should be done every time there is a new idea ready to burst out of your head. There have been countless times in the past where I have thought of an idea and decided to play it on guitar for hours and hours. I kept telling myself that I would never forget it and years later I forgot it and wish I had kept it written down somewhere or tabbed out. There are many ways you can go about recording your ideas. Some people choose the old school method of pen and paper and like to just write their songs in sheet music form. Others, like me, prefer to use Guitar Pro which is an amazing tool to use when wanting to write down some ideas. The option of adding different instruments like drums and bass, as well as vocals, is there too. You can also use a video camera or a simple audio recorder.

3. Write as much as possible! (Or as little as you want to)

By writing as much as possible you will start to build up your own personally library of songs which you can pick and choose from to record or play in a live setting. This is very essential to someone who wants to become a well-known artist/musician. So keep writing and never stop!

4. Enjoy what you're doing! (Have a passion for it)

If you have a passion for music and want to start creating your own songs you have to keep in mind that there is work involved now. Some songs will take longer than others to write and some songs will also be harder than others to arrange and make just the way you like it. The important thing here is to enjoy the fact that you are actually writing your own music now!

5. Have fun with it! (This comes back to being creative)

Just remember to have fun with what it is that you are creating. Don't give up on your projects and stick with them until you see them through fully. If you are having trouble writing a part to a song, move onto writing an entirely new song and come back to the difficult part later. You may spark an idea by creating something new.

Don't forget…

Lose yourself in the music… It's the only place you'll enjoy being lost in! 


17 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I agree on all points but 1. To create your own style, so far so good but I wouldn't recommend to force yourself on creating something different just for sake of being different. At least I wouldn't give this advice to beginners because it may kill the things you mentioned in 4/5: passion and fun.
    exactly, I write stuff which is very similar to some bands I like but this does help me find new riffs and things I would normally not think of.
    Isnt that all pretty obvious
    Yes, but sometimes getting pointed towards the obvious is for the better. Sometimes, things like this can slip by without you thinking about it
    Something I have to say: Don't make complex songs just for complexity's sake. Write songs YOU as a listener would actually enjoy listening to. It just comes across as hypocritical if you don't enjoy your music, yet you expect other to. It also makes playing the song in the future a hell of a lot more of an enjoyable experience for everyone.
    I write music since 10 years and I'm 24 at the moment. In this 10 years of hard working I understood you can't teach somebody to write music-it comes from itself. There are 2 posibilities: 1) you CAN it or 2) you can't...that's it!!! It's not like a loss of inspiration or something like that some people just can't do it even if they can music theory and more...your music comes from the heart, not mechanically from the brain-it's all an illusion. But that's my opinion. Thanks for reading it, haters gonna hate, well.
    I agree with "you can't teach somebody to write music-it comes from itself.". there sometimes a time when someone will ask you to help him or teach him write a song, and sometimes you just don't know how to start it because after all, every person have different perspectives and styles when music comes out of your head, and it is within every writer right? It's just really pretty hard to explain that.
    Recording yourself often is a great suggestion. I have went back and listened to stuff I've recorded months, even years ago and thought...nice! I might not have known what to do with a certain riff at the time, but I might have the perfect spot for it long after I put the riff or lick out of my mind.
    Guns N' Chains
    Agreed. Even writing it down (tabbing it out) helps too. Then when you go back and play it, it should start to come back to you.
    Having fun is the most important part. If your having a lot of fun playing a riff then you probably have something pretty good.
    These aren't so much 5 basic steps to begin writing music, as they are 5 basic things you should know going in to writing music. Looking at it that way, this is a pretty good lesson for those who have never wrote anything before.
    I figured that out when I was 8. Why do we need a lesson about it? especially when it is as simple as these 5 steps.
    Simple it may be, but everyone else is not you. Maybe some people need a reminder of why they do what they do.
    This was my first article and I wasn't expecting it to be amazing or really well written. But now that I have some feedback on it, both positive and negative, I am looking forward to uploading a new article in the coming weeks. Thanks for the feedback guys!
    Sometimes when I try to write my own music, it would sound good for a while but then after a few days it would just sound lame and weird to me... I personally think writing my own music is a pretty hard process...