Posted Apr 02, 2012 08:30 AM
Every bands dream is to write music everyone loves, tour the world, and be rich beyond belief. It's hard to get there when you can't even compose a song together. So you get your band together and discover you have no idea how to even start composing your first big hit. This lesson is broken up into steps to make things a bit easier.
1.)The very first and most important step to writing music with each other is becoming friends with your band mates. Get comfortable with them. It sounds weird but it's actually a very common problem. Band mates will be afraid to showcase their ideas to the band because there not comfortable with them. Or they will be afraid to even sing in front of the band. This can be fixed by making sure everyone in the band gets along. You want your band mates to also be your friends. Not only will this make things less awkward and more comfortable but you will find yourself enjoying practice allot more. Nothing is better than 4 buddies kickin' back brews, writing music.
2.)So now you and your band get along and are having fun. The next thing is picking a leader. This is actually quite important. Sooner or later there is going to disagreement on who's right. The leader gets to call the shots. As well they will help organize everything and co-produce the songs. They decide who's part goes where and when. A great example of this is the team of James Hetfield and Lars Ulrich of Metallica. They co- produce every album together with Lars deciding where the guitar riffs go and making the drums fit perfectly.
3.)Now you're almost set to getting the actual composing part down. The final preparation step is to ensure your practice space is right. This seems irrelevant and not that important, but it is essential. You will never write something worthwhile if you're sitting in a hot basement sweating. Make sure the space is comfortable. With things like drinks and such available. A good practice space helps inspiration tons. Make sure you have something recording your ideas. Whether it is a computer or a pocket recorder. Later you can go through and pick out riffs and bits that you like. But make sure there is nothing to get you off track. Make sure there's no Xbox. Nothing is worse than going to band practice with all your heavy equipment just to play Call of Duty for 4 hours.
4.)All right so you and your friends have buckled down in a comfortable practice space. You got your instruments and everything set up. Now the tricky stuff, actually writing something. My band and I prefer to either start with a lyrical idea or a musical idea. If we have a lyrical idea we draw the emotions out of it. For example say we wanted to write a song on being dumped. What emotions does being dumped make you feel? Sad, betrayed, and maybe a bit angry. See? We took all these emotions from one idea. This will set the mood for the background music. Let's go with the emotion angry and betrayal, with a bit of sad. Well get kind of a heavy but slow paced song. With lots of feeling and emotion. Just from those 2 words we are beginning to pull all these ideas. We now know that it's an angry slow tempo song. Kind of dark. Start writing music ideas of the feelings. Get the guitarist to crank a riff and the drums join in. Keep doing this until you get something that fits your description of the mood. Make sure you record the ideas you like. On audio and on paper.
5.)So now you have the majority of music figured out. Lyrics and vocal melody is next. You have 2 options figure out the vocal melody over the music, or figure out the lyrics first. I prefer to come up with the melody first. Make sure it fits the mood. Then start adding in lyrics to your melody. Ensure they fit the mood and emotion of the song. Your song is now really starting to come together. Start jamming the whole song with the band. Allow the leader to make the necessary changes, adding or removing parts.
6.)Your song is in its rough draft stage. You have the majority completed. Start jamming it with the band. Over and over again until you can play it tight. Record it and make small changes to make it perfected. Finally once your song is recorded and everyone in the band is satisfied with the say it sounds put it away and save it. Don't play that song for a few days. Then pull out the recording and listen to it. If it still sounds good then congratulations. If not you have to decide to keep it and make changes or trash it.
Being in a band is a lot of fun especially when you can all right music you enjoy. These steps are just a guideline and can be changed. After all, every band is different. What works for some bands won't work for another band. This method worked well for me and my band to compose some songs we like and are proud to call ours.