What comes first, melody or lyrics? How does an idea become a whole song? How do you know if your song is any good? Well, I’ll answer the first two questions in this article. The third question – How do you know if your song is good? – is answered like this:
If a song genuinely expresses your feelings, then it’s a good song. It doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks.
If a song expresses your feelings AND touches other people, moves them emotionally, or gets them on the dance floor – that’s a good song with the potential to become a HIT.
So, how do you write a song that moves other people and makes them want to listen? Well, that’s where song craft comes in.
‣ What is song craft and why do I need it???
Good songwriters use song craft to give their songs emotional impact and make them memorable for listeners. The song building tools and techniques we call “song craft” are not arbitrary; they weren’t invented just to drive songwriters crazy or force us to create formula songs without depth or originality. They exist because, over hundreds of years, songwriters have found that they help listeners to understand, experience, and remember the message at the heart of our songs.
From the opening lines of your first verse to the end of the final chorus, your song takes listeners on a journey. It could be one that leads deep into their emotions or makes them feel like jumping onto the dance floor. But a song that wanders from one idea to another, or loses momentum, or lacks focus can be frustrating for listeners. When that happens, they just tune out. Don’t let that happen! The simple ideas on this page will help you create a compelling, powerful experience for you and your listeners. Like any skill, though, song craft takes little practice so be sure to try the “Go Ahead and Do It!” exercises that follow each step.