Expert Songwriters On How To Write A Song

Whenever someone uses the word “should” when talking about songwriting, ignore them. There are no “shoulds” or “should nots.”

Songwriting has one rule: there are no rules.

Instead, there are tips, suggestions, and learning from other songwriters whom you respect.

So here are seven songwriting tips from some of the most respected songwriters. All of these people have written numerous hit songs.

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Here’s One Thing The Beatles’ “Blackbird” Can Teach Recording Musicians

Recording can be an arduous and frustrating process. And Paul McCartney knows this.

Recording musician
Paul McCartney (photo via Beatles Music History)

McCartney recorded The Beatles’ “Blackbird” all by himself — just him, a guitar, and an engineer at the controls in Abbey Road’s studio two.

Having an engineer surely made it easier on McCartney, but a lot of indie musicians don’t have that luxury.

Often, you’ll be in your bedroom or basement managing the controls while also trying to focus on playing your instrument.

This can make things even more frustrating.

But there’s one thing we can learn from McCartney’s recording session of “Blackbird.”

You see, he recorded 32 takes of the song, 11 of which were complete from beginning to end.

Thirty-two takes. That’s so many, even in today’s digital music world.

The point is, take your time in the studio. If you have to record two takes, 32 takes, or 72 takes before you get the right one, do it.

Because you know what … McCartney’s last take of “Blackbird” is the one that made the official recording.

Record one more take. It’ll be worth it. 

Paul McCartney Doesn’t Know How To Write Songs

Okay, Beatles superfans, calm down.

Before you prepare your beautifully crafted hate comment, let me explain.

Paul McCartney
Paul McCartney being clueless

I didn’t say this, okay? This is straight from your man, the Great Paul McCartney.

In an interview with NPR, he said songwriting is more complicated than just learning it like math or architecture.

“You’ve never got [songwriting] down,” he said. “It’s this fluid thing, music. I kind of like that. I wouldn’t like to be blasé or think, ‘Oh … I know how to do this.'”

He went on to explain how he teaches a songwriting class but admits to his students he’s figuring it out as he goes.

“I teach a class at the Liverpool Institute High School for Boys,” he said. “I do a little songwriting class with the students — and nearly always the first thing I go in and say [is], ‘I don’t know how to do this. You would think I do, but it’s not one of these things you ever know how to do.'”

This is a great mindset to have as a songwriter.

If you say, “I don’t really know what I’m doing,” then you’re next thought is probably, “I need to figure out how to do this.”

This will lead to continual learning.

Continual learning leads to improvement.

Improvement is what every songwriter really wants.

So let’s all just admit we don’t know how to write songs.

I don’t know what I’m doing, but I do know I love Evernote for songwriting. I use it exclusively. And you can use my referral link to get a free month of Evernote Premium (woot!)

How To Write A Song In 5 Simple Steps

Songwriting is a craft anyone can learn. Everyone starts out as a non-songwriter before they become one.

So for those of you who have never tried this before, here’s how to write a song in 5 simple steps.

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