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How to Write Your Own Music – When You Don’t Play an Instrument

If you are a singer you may already have a melody and lyrics for lots of songs but don’t know how to flesh them out. If you don’t have melody or lyrics see previous Blogs ‘Create a Melody’ and ‘How to Write Lyrics’.  I suggest four things to folks who have a melody and lyrics but nothing else.

  1. Record your song, so you can play it for someone else to hear.
  2. Write out your lyrics in sections with a space between each line and two spaces between sections.  Make two copies of your lyrics, one for you and one for another musician.
  3. Get a beginning Music theory book so you can start learning how to write the notes of your song down.
  4. Ask or pay someone to help you flesh out the chords of your song. You can hire someone who reads music and plays piano or guitar (pianists tend to be more helpful for beginning song-writers because some guitar players don’t know how to read music). Meet with your musician and sing the song for them. Try to tap a beat so they can get the feel of the rhythm. They will first figure out what key you are in and then play chords that they think sound good with what you are singing. This is a collaboration, so speak up if it doesn’t sound like what you want (pianists tend to be able to give more chord options). Have the musician write down the chords for you on both lyric sheets. Record this version of the song with you singing and the musician playing. You have now fleshed out the basic harmony of your song. Don’t get frustrated this process can take many hours. In the end, make sure it is as close to your vision of the song as possible.


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