Songwriting Advice

Song Starters

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Have you ever sat down to write a song, but found yourself completely at a loss for words? You get your pen and paper or open a blank document on your laptop, only for the ideas to come to a screeching halt. You're not alone. Even the most seasoned songwriters go through this frustrating process from time to time.

The good news is that there are ways to overcome these songwriting roadblocks! We're here to help you with some song starters that will inspire you and kickstart your songwriting process. And, with the help of Lyric Assistant, you'll be well on your way to crafting your next hit!

1. Look for inspiration everywhere

Inspiration can come from the most unexpected places. So, don't limit yourself to the confines of your immediate surroundings. Go for a walk, attend a concert, watch a movie, or simply sit in a coffee shop and observe people. Pay attention to conversations around you, read books and articles, and keep a small notebook or use your phone to jot down ideas that may come in handy later.

2. Use writing prompts

Writing prompts can be a great starting point for your songwriting journey. There are countless prompts available online, or you can create your own. These prompts can be anything from a single word, sentence, or even just a theme. Challenge yourself to write a verse or a chorus based on the prompt and see where your creativity leads you.

3. Tap into your emotions

Songs are meant to convey emotions and connect with the listener. Reflect on your own personal experiences and feelings. Think of situations or events that have had a significant impact on your life, whether it's heartbreak, joy, or overcoming obstacles. Chances are, if you've experienced it, someone else has, too, making it a relatable topic for a song.

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4. Play with song structures

Experimenting with different song structures can help you navigate through the creative process. Do you want to try a classic verse-chorus-verse format? Or perhaps, venture into the exciting world of unconventional structures like a song with no chorus. Testing out various formats can help you break free from creative blocks and lead to unique and captivating song ideas.

5. Collaborate with other musicians

As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. Collaborating with other musicians can expand your horizons and help you come up with fresh ideas for song starters. Working with someone else brings in new perspectives and abilities that could take your song in an entirely different direction than you initially envisioned.

Song Starters Example

Imagine you've been inspired by a conversation you overheard in the coffee shop, revolving around the theme of "moving on." You decide to use this theme as a starting point and combine it with the prompt, "last leaf falling." Reflecting on a past experience of ending a relationship and moving on, you begin to write your verses, using the imagery of changing seasons to symbolize personal growth. Collaboration with a fellow musician who adds a powerful chord progression and melody, and suddenly, you have the foundation for an incredible song.

Songwriting may pose its challenges, but with the right mindset, tools, and determination, you'll be able to conquer any creative block you may encounter. Use these song starters and other tips discussed above to inspire your next songwriting session. Remember, practice makes perfect, and the more you write, the easier it becomes.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are song starters?

Song starters are prompts, ideas, chord progressions, melodies, rhythms, or lyrical phrases that can help jumpstart the songwriting process. They serve as an initial catalyst to get creative juices flowing and provide a foundation for building a song.

Can anyone use song starters, or are they just for beginners?

Song starters can be used by anyone, regardless of skill level. Beginners may find them particularly helpful as a learning tool, while seasoned songwriters might use them to overcome writer's block or to find new inspiration.

Where can I find song starters?

Song starters can be found in songwriting books, online forums, songwriter's groups, or created by music educators. Additionally, there are many mobile apps and software tools designed specifically to generate song starters.

Are song starters genre-specific?

They can be, but often are not. While some song starters might be designed with a particular genre in mind, many are versatile and can be adapted to fit any musical style.

How do I use a song starter?

Begin by exploring the provided idea, whether it's a lyric, a melody, or a chord progression. Develop it by adding your unique touch and building upon it until it starts taking the shape of a song. Don't be afraid to make changes as needed to suit your style.

Are song starters just for lyrics?

No, song starters can be instrumental as well as lyrical. They might come in the form of a rhythm pattern, a bass line, or even a full instrumental hook.

Can song starters help me with the structure of my song?

Yes, some song starters may suggest a particular structure or form. However, they are just a starting point and do not need to dictate the entire layout of your song. You are free to expand or modify as you create.

Will using a song starter make my song less original?

Not at all. A song starter is simply a seed—it's your job to nurture it into a fully grown, unique piece of music. The individual choices you make during the songwriting process will ensure your song's originality.

How do I choose the right song starter?

Consider your goals, the genre you're working in, and your personal interests. A song starter should feel inspiring and exciting to you. Sometimes, the best way to choose is simply to try one and see how it feels.

Can I combine multiple song starters?

Absolutely, combining different song starters can lead to complex and rich song ideas. Feel free to mix elements from various starters to create something truly unique.

Do song starters work for collaborative songwriting?

Yes, song starters can be an excellent tool for collaborative songwriting. They provide a neutral starting point that all collaborators can contribute to and develop collectively.

How do I incorporate personal experiences into a song starter?

Use the song starter as a framework and infuse it with your personal stories, emotions, and perspectives. This personal touch will make your song resonate more deeply with listeners.

What if a song starter doesn't seem to work?

Not every song starter will resonate with every songwriter. If a starter isn't working for you, don't be afraid to set it aside and try another. Sometimes stepping away and coming back later can also provide new perspective.

Are song starters copyright protected?

Typically, song starters are not copyrighted, especially if they are provided for educational or inspirational purposes. However, it's important to transform them enough in the songwriting process to ensure your work is original.

How often should I use song starters?

Use song starters as often as you need, especially when you're feeling stuck or looking for new ideas. There is no right or wrong frequency—some songwriters might use them often, while others prefer them only occasionally.

Is it cheating to use a song starter?

Using a song starter is not cheating. It's a legitimate tool that many professional songwriters employ to help them create new material. The skill comes in how you develop the initial idea into a complete song.

Can song starters limit my creativity?

Song starters are meant to inspire creativity, not limit it. If you're feeling constrained, try looking at the starter from a different angle, flipping it around, or simply using it as a loose guideline.

Should I always complete a song that began with a song starter?

Not every song needs to be completed. Sometimes, the process of starting a song and working with an idea can be beneficial in itself. However, it's often through the process of completion that songwriters learn and grow the most.

How can I make a song starter more complex?

Add layers to your starter by incorporating additional chords, counter-melodies, rhythmic variations, or by expanding on the lyrical content. Changing key or tempo can also add complexity.

Can I share my work based on a song starter with others?

Yes, sharing your work can be a great way to get feedback and improve your songwriting. Just make sure the work is sufficiently original before you publish or perform it widely.

How do I know when my song is finished?

A song is finished when you feel satisfied with every element and it conveys the message or emotion you intended. Trust your instincts and get feedback from trusted sources if you're unsure.

Want to Write Better Songs? Try Lyric Assistant Today

Want To Write Better Song Lyrics? Try Lyric Assistant Now

Tell Lyric Assistant about the song you want to create & watch it write song lyrics for you to use.

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Example: Happy, sad, inspirational, romantic, gritty...
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Example: Used to provide a new perspective or shift in the song's mood
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About Toni Mercia

Toni Mercia is a Grammy award-winning songwriter and the founder of Lyric Assistant. With over 15 years of experience in the music industry, Toni has written hit songs for some of the biggest names in music. She has a passion for helping aspiring songwriters unlock their creativity and take their craft to the next level. Through Lyric Assistant, Toni has created a tool that empowers songwriters to make great lyrics and turn their musical dreams into reality.

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