Don’t you know how to start a song?
It’s very easy to feel lost to lack of inspiration when it comes to composing.
Starting with a blank page or an empty DAW session can cause anxiety.
But it’s not as horrible as it sounds. Remember, in composition anything goes. Just pick a starting point and stick to it.
So, to help you take the first step forward, here are 7 starting points for overcoming creative blockages.
It starts with a tone
Getting a good tone on your synthesizer or guitar can be very inspiring.
Ringtones help you create an energy in your song. The perfect tone brings that energy and allows you to generate ideas from it.
So connect your computer and try something you’ve never done before:
- Place your effects pedals or effects plugins in a different order
- Edit the strangest sound of your synthesizer
- Once you’ve found the right tone, let its vibration and color guide you. The other elements of your song should begin to take shape – all thanks to an inspiring tone.
Start with the structure
Sometimes you need a map to get to the place you were looking for. It’s the same in composition.
Try starting with a plan to follow to build your song. This plan will help you get an idea of your song even before you start.
Deciding in advance if you want to create a song with a classic structure or a long drone piece will be less intimidating.
Once you’ve worked out your initial plan, remember to adapt to the direction the song begins to take. It’s okay if you take a shortcut or decide to change paths if something works especially well.
It doesn’t matter how you get to the finish line. The important thing is to have a plan that guides you from the beginning and gives you some creative resources even before you start.
Start with the chorus.
Starting with a catchy, recognizable vocal melody and building from it is always a good idea.
Some genres place more emphasis on vocal choruses than others, but it may be a valid way to start for many genres.
Even when you’re not a vocalist, singing is a basic way to connect with your music. Try singing or humming over your songs to see if you can find a chorus.
Choruses don’t always come at the first sign of change, but they can appear in your mind at the most unsuspected moment. Record these ideas and use them as starting points for your compositions.
It starts with a rhythm
Starting with a beat is a great way to define the overall feeling of your song before you start creating.
Try superimposing a drum rhythm on your DAW, or use a loop pedal to create a rhythmic pattern with your favorite instrument. Drum samples are also often useful.
Try to perceive them as a kind of metronome for your song to advance. Try using new measures or polyrhythms to expand your library of grooves.
They also don’t have to end in the final version of your song. Just use them as a starting point.
Start with harmony
Chord progressions are the skeleton of your songs. Developing your chord progressions at first can help you solve structural problems.
Starting with harmony will give you more context to experiment with the rest of the elements. It may be easier to create a melody by improvising on a couple of chords than from scratch.
Don’t you know how to start creating your own chord progression? Check out our guide.
Listen to how the chords complement each other as you combine them. You don’t have to follow the rules – chords are just a starting point.
Experiment with unusual progressions to get you started. If it sounds good, it sounds good.
Start with the letter
Sometimes all the energy of a song depends on one verse. Don’t worry if you write great lyrics but don’t have a song to go with it.
Writing a couple of verses first will make the whole lyrics sound much more natural.
Start with a phrase and create a melody that fits your lyrics. It can be a good starting point to help you create the rest of the elements.
Start with a riff
A short, recognizable melody can play an essential role in your songs. A riff can become a main melody, a bass line or a vowel.
Use a powerful riff to start creating your song with a clear identity.
Riffs have always been very important in music for one simple reason. A good riff is all you need to start a good song.
Try playing simple note combinations with your instrument. The best riffs are as nice to play as they are to listen to, so you know.
Take a step forward
Starting a song doesn’t have to be scary. Inspiration can come in many different forms.
Experiment with these different starting points and discover their effect on your creative process.
Don’t get too hot writing chord progressions if you prefer to create a simple riff or adjust the parameters of your synthesizer.
Each approach offers different results. You just have to find the one that best suits your feelings and energy at every moment.
Now that you have some ideas on how to stimulate your creativity in your next session, enjoy again the infinite possibilities when starting a song.