Songwriting Exercises You Can Use to Start Writing Lyrics

Songwriting Exercises You Can Use to Start Writing Lyrics microphone dawOne of our reader’s asked the following question regarding songwriting exercises for writing lyrics:

What exercises can I do to start writing lyrics?

I really appreciate the chance to answer readers questions. One thing I believe is helpful is, many questions are never asked. Since that never are asked there is no opportunity to answer them. That is why I like reader questions. Many times the question asked could be the one that will help you with your songwriting efforts.

If you want to start writing lyrics you will need to do certain songwriting exercises. Most of these exercises involve playing with ideas and words.

Every song starts with a central idea, from that idea comes a story.  The story is structures poetically through meter and rhyme. A song will them transform into a certain song structure with sections like verse and chorus.

Song Prompts for Writing Lyrics

Song prompts can be used to stimulate ideas for your songs. With a song prompt you are presented with a word or situation.  From there you will begin to sketch out the song’s story. Prompts are great when you have writer’s block as it provides ideas to work with. Using a prompt is a powerful way to get creative juices flowing.

Brainstorming

Brainstorming is an exercise of word association.  Start with a central idea or word a associate related words. From the original word many related words will be revealed.  Sometimes opposite on contrary words will be manifested in this exercise.  When brainstorming it is vital that no idea is edited or dismissed.  Doing so will limit creativity.  You may find that the contrary word will actually lead to a better idea. This exercise could go on forever and it provides an abundance of ideas.  That is why you should set a time limit.  Chances are if you went to long you would actually lose the original idea as this free association can head in unusual ways.

Free Writing

Free writing is similar to brainstorming but quite different. The idea behind free writing is write about a topic for a specified amount of time. Where brainstorming involves simple words and phrases, free writing forces you to write complete ideas as sentences. In either method the concept is the same. It is to help you flesh out the song lyric ideas. When the exercise is complete you will need to look it over.

Title Hunting for Writing Lyrics

Ever song needs a title. That is why the exercise of title hunting can help you start lyric writing. In this exercise you will need to be aware of your surroundings. In conversations whether you are actively involved will provide you will tones to song titles. Listen with the intent of hearing catchy or unique phrases. When doing this exercise it is important that you have a reliable way to document what you hear.  This could be pen and paper or an audio recorder.

Another way to find song title is to use an online random title generation. These online tools will present you with a bunch of random titles.  Your task is to glean those song titles worth pursuing as a song. When using one of these random title generation apps keep in mind that some will work and some won’t even make sense.

Songwriting Exercises and Writing Lyrics Conclusion

As you can see there are several methods you can use to start song lyrics, You can use song prompts. Or you could try free writing. Another methods is title hunting.  No matter how you discover these ideas the important thing is you have songwriting exercises to help you start.

Finally, there are other ways to start a song but these will help you begin processing new ideas that will allow you write songs.

If you have a question regarding the craft of songwriting please submit them at

Song Questions

Also, if you have other thoughts or ideas relating to this topic please make comments below.  Do you have a favorite songwriting exercise not mention here? Share it in the comment section.

 

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    If the foundation of the song is a well-defined structure, the building blocks are the words. Not just any words will do. The words that you use should be ‘associative words’, words that connote specific images and meanings. Before you write the first line of your lyric, hold a brainstorming session to come up with associative words, provocative phrases, etc. all of which lead to the title concept.