Songwriting is an art and it takes time to develop.

But that doesn’t mean that your first song can’t be hit. You just never know.

There are several things you can do to improve your songs.

While all songs and musical tastes are subjective and personal, this list will give you some food for thought.

Top 10 Tips For Pro Songwriting

  1. Hook the listener in the first 10 seconds

    Attention spans are so short. Maybe 5-10 seconds long. Don’t wait to capture the listeners attention with a good hook.

  2. Keep the theme of song consistent

    What is the song about? Make this super obvious. It doesn’t mean your lyrics have to be boring. If you want people to relate with your song then they need to know what it’s about.

  3. Write unpredictable lyrics

    While you want to keep the lyrical content consistent, that doesn’t mean to use basic boring lyrics. Write interesting lyrics. Be descriptive and use your imagination. Sometimes the simple lyric is best but always be thinking about how to say something in an interesting way.

  4. Keep the song structure interesting

    Songs naturally need to follow a somewhat structured flow but that doesn’t mean they need to be old school – intro, verse, bridge, chorus, repeat. With the limited attention spans of people you need to keep the song building and interesting throughout the entire song. Don’t confuse dynamics with structure. The song doesn’t have to keep building dynamically from 0-10. The structure is the roadmap that keeps the scenery interesting for the listener.

  5. Make the hook singable

    If you can’t hum or sing the hook of your song naturally then others won’t either. Make the hook easy to remember but interesting. Write it so that it sticks in your head after you stop playing the song. Warning: It may get boring to you quickly. If that’s the case then use it sparingly. This makes song structure even more important.

  6. Make it rhyme but not predictable

    Our ears naturally want to hear a rhyming lyric from one phrase to the next but that doesn’t mean it has to be predictable.  There are so many good rhyming dictionaries out there now that you should be able to choose a cool word that fits well and sounds good. Hip hop rappers are especially good at this in my opinion.

  7. Keep the song length reasonable

    For decades the standard song length has been 3 minutes. No more, no less. Queens, Innuendo, was 6:30 long. It reached #1 on the UK charts. They didn’t care about song length. Unfortunately, now a days, it matters more. I’m sure all the advertisers and radio execs want songs to be only 2 minutes long. Keep your song around 3 minutes but don’t force it. It can be shorter or longer. Bottom line, it needs to be interesting and hooky from start to finish.

  8. Vary the instrumentation

    In order to know how to write a great song you need to study great songs. If you do you will hear that songs change from verse to verse and chorus to chorus. You may hear a guitar prominent in the one verse and then a piano in the next. Pay attention to song mixes to get ideas for your songs.

  9. Song imagery is understandable

    It’s fine using abstract lyrics from time to time but for the most part you’ll lose people. Songs need to be relatable. If I can’t understand what you’re singing about then I’m lost. Your hook could be so good that lyrics don’t matter as much but most of the time you’ll need to write lyrics that the listener can image. “I played a quick game of chess with the salt and pepper shaker.” – John Mayer

  10. Never, ever stop writing

    Professional songwriters will tell you that number one, you need to write, write and write some more. You may write 10 good songs only to find that you can create an awesome song using a part of each. Each song you write will be a stepping stone to the next. Never stop.

These top 10 tips for pro songwriting are just the tip of the iceberg.

Remember to be yourself and never quit. You may or may not write a GRAMMY winning song but chances are you will have created some beautiful music that could change someone’s life.

How GigFaster Can Help

With GigFaster, you get help booking gigs and promoting your music. GigFaster’s database has thousands of contacts across over one hundred music genres.

It’s easy for you to get connected with a venue or promoter.  We also have hundreds of independent record labels to submit to. Start your free trial today.

Remember, if you want to succeed, never quit!


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Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.

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