How To Write Rock MusicPosted by Mike Schumacher
Writing music is a tricky process that requires lots of different skills. There are many ways to learn how to write songs, and it’s totally okay if you don’t know what genre your song fits into!
Writing a good song comes down to writing catchy lyrics and melodies paired with a rhythm track that works together. It’s hard to get those components right though, so most musicians have their own tricks they use to strengthen this part of their craft.
In this article, I will go over five easy tips to help you write better songs. These tips can be applied to any style or genre of music, but my main focus will be on writing rock music.
You do not need to implement all of these strategies in order to improve your songwriting, but trying out one or two every few days can make a big difference.
Practice writing music down
Writing music is all about creating patterns that repeat themselves within a framework of rules. When you learn how to write music, you start with practicing writing notes.
Music is made up of sets of eight natural numbers (or octaves) separated by a semitone (a one half step). A note’s number is its frequency — the higher the tone, the higher the pitch – and it has a length or duration.
A common beginner mistake is not having enough context for your notes. You may think there are only twelve notes in a major scale, but there actually twenty-four! The trick is figuring out what key your song is in and which notes make up those scales.
Knowing the chords for each chord can help determine the next steps for writing music. For example, if the song is in D minor then the first chord will be an Am triad, so use that as a starting point to create more songs in that key.
Another way to begin writing music is learning the position of the bass line in a piece. There are many online resources to teach this technique, but none seem better than the other. Find one that works for you and stick with it until you get familiar with the rhythm pattern.
When writing music, know when to add rest markers and where to place them. A rest marker is used to indicate silence between two pieces of music, or even another voice in the song.
Create a personal writing process
Writing music is a craft that requires you to work with your emotions, use appropriate tools, and create from within. When you’re in the zone and creating effortlessly, great songs are being formed inside you!
Writing music is an ever-evolving art form that continually teaches you new things. It’s like taking a class where you get extra credit for knowing more than what has been taught as part of the curriculum.
What most people don’t realize is that there is no one way to write music. Different artists have different approaches that seem to fit them well.
Some say it’s all about melody, while others talk about rhythm or lyrics. Some even argue about whether notes or silence make up the majority of music.
But we can be certain that whatever approach writers use, they go into it with their own set of skills already encoded in their brains.
And once those skills are accessed and used, music follows naturally.
Develop your creative mind
A lot of people get stuck in a rut when it comes to writing music. They either write very melodic or they use templates that have been done a thousand times before.
There are plenty of ways to take your songwriting skills to new heights by mixing things out! Mixing modes means switching from using only notes as lyrics, to making stories through dialogue or narrative.
Using metaphors and analogies can also add depth to your songs. For example, if your song contains a line like “He saved my life” then you could say something along the lines of “He gave me the strength to save his own.”
Your creative thoughts don’t need to be totally original, but do try to mix it up! There’s no reason that your song should always be about relationships, or emotions, or whatever inspiration struck you last time.
Use a notepad and pen
Writing music is a tricky thing. There are lots of ways to do it, but none that seem totally universal or clear. Some people suggest using a guitar as your main writing tool, but I have never seen anyone actually do this!
As with any artistic expression, you can use whatever tools you have access to to get into the mood and write from within.
Using a notebook and pen, start creating melodies and riffs. Or maybe pick up the instrument and just play along with some songs.
Record and edit your work
Recording music is one of the most important steps in writing songs or recording new material for an artist. Once you have recorded your song, it is time to start editing!
After recording a few takes of each part of your song, choose the best ones and organize them into a session. Then, move onto the next phase which is mixing!
The mixer will take all of the tracks that were organized in the session and blend them together. This way, the final piece sounds seamless and natural. Some people may also do some additional editing such as re-tuning parts or smoothing out any cracks or bumps in the sound.
After this, the producer (or musician) who mixed the track can add touches like guitars, pianos, etc.
Connect with other musicians
As we mentioned, music is a very common language that everyone understands! So why not use this as an opportunity to connect with like-minded people? Whether it’s through songwriting groups or online forums, there are always others out there who want to write, or have written before you.
By interacting with other writers, you will be exposed to different styles and approaches to writing, which can only help you in your own journey.
Writers’ forums are a great way to meet like-minded individuals, and even pick up some tips here and there. There are many free resources available via websites and app stores too.
For example, I would firstly recommend checking out The Writer’s Room website. They offer a variety of courses and services for both novice and advanced writers, including journal writing exercises, how to organize your story, and more.
Their goal is to help you achieve your writing goals, so they try and tailor their lessons to fit yours.
Reach out to an expert
One of the hardest things about writing music is figuring out how to reach out to other musicians to get help with ideas or tips. But you need to actively collaborate in order to succeed, so it’s worth your time.
There are many ways to go about this. You can create a YouTube channel and upload your songs for feedback, or you can take some formal lessons by joining a creative community like Songwriting School or Guitar Hero University.
But even beyond that, there are always people willing to share their knowledge and experiences.
Focus on your craft
Writing music is more than just putting down what you like in fast succession or copying and pasting pieces from other songs. It takes practice, investment, and most importantly, focus.
Music theory is an integral part of writing rock music. There are lots of theories that help shape how musicians write their songs, such as modes, chord structures, rhythm patterns, and melodies.
However, even if you don’t know all these concepts thoroughly, it’s not too early to start investing in yourself. You can read about them for free online or purchase some books to get deeper insights.
But before you dive into any specific theory, learn the basics first by practicing with simple exercises!
Practice makes perfect — apply this to yourself with music!
There are many ways to do so. Some people suggest picking a genre and writing about half a song within that context.
Alternatively, you could choose a random topic and construct a story around it. Or you could pick three notes and sequence those sounds together to create a melody.
The Jam Addict team is a revolving door of writers who care about music, its effects on culture, and giving aspiring artists tools and knowledge to be inspired and keep on creating.
If you have any questions or concerns or just want to drop us a line, don’t hesitate to contact us! We always appreciate the feedback.