What's in a song? A step-by-step guide to creating music
Updated: Jan 23, 2019
Writing music is one of the finest things a group of people can do, but it's not always as easy as finding a few musicians and getting them together at the same time in the same place... proximity does not always equal perfection.
If you're thinking of setting off on the road to being in a band and writing music for the first time, there are a few pitfalls to avoid and a few must-do's that you must do.. Here's some thoughts to help you be more successful when it's time to start writing your own music!
- Prepare properly ahead of time. It's important that when you get together for the writing process, that everyone comes into the room fully prepared to play. As boring as it may sound, don't be "that Guy" who turns up to play without an instrument, or a lead etc etc. If you're the vocalist, have some self-respect and buy your own mic and lead and bring it with you to the space you're getting together in. If you're writing together, it would be respectful to the other musicians that you're meeting to come prepared with a few ideas. A riff or two if you're the guitarist. Your notebook with lyric ideas and/or your phone with plenty of melody ideas recorded in the sound recorder. Pens and paper, a whiteboard with a whiteboard marker... simple stuff that you'll need at the time of writing that will slow things right down if you forget. Also while we're on it, Mr Guitarist, strings snap... fact... bring a spare set you tight bastard.
- Turn up on time and get your stuff out and set up quickly and without fuss. If you're that guy who has 300 footpedals, don't be a dick and make the rest of the guys wait while you plug them all in. Stick them to a pedal board and bring it in ready to go. If it's really not an option, turn up early and start preparing before the other guys get there.
- Understand why you're in the room. Is this a band rehearsal for a gig or is it a writing session? Is it a bit of both? The rule should generally be that you don't write at rehearsal... write the stuff outside and bring in. ZeroPointZero are a bit different as we write at rehearsal, but it's just how we like it. As long as everyone has the plan and sticks to it, no-one gets arsey.
- Be prepared to contribute and don't shoot people's ideas down. Our rule in the band is simple - treat everyone's ideas with respect, try them all and go with what sounds best. You do need strong voices and leadership, but you also need to be able to listen to everyone and try everything - sometimes the weirdest ideas are where the gold is!
- Record it!!! Set up your phone and record the session - all of it if possible - Especially if you're jamming. Play it back and mine for the gold. There'll be great nuggets there! If you've written that next killer hook, verse or chorus, whatever - get it recorded!! There is literally nothing worse than coming back the following week and not remembering "That riff dude... you know... it was like Duh Duh - Chug Chug"...
That's it! You're now a song writing badass... don't forget to tip me when you're lighting up the top ten.