One of the most fun and rewarding tasks a pianist can do is songwriting or music composition. Writing piano music is a skill that every aspiring pianist should practice. However, the first lessons in piano composition can be a little intimidating. You may be wondering, “Where do I start?”, “What should I write?”, or “What should I compose?”. It’s possible that uncertainty will immobilize you.
Fortunately, there are a few simple tricks we can use to make learning to compose piano music much easier. All you need to compose music is a piano, pencil, staff paper, and your desire. Keep reading for inspiration to start writing now!
In this article, you will find ten steps on how to write a song on piano, that have been developed using years of songwriting skills. Write songs like a pro by mastering these 10 steps!
- 1 10 Steps on How to Write a Song on Piano
- 1.1 Step 1. Start with the General Idea of the Song
- 1.2 Step 2. Select Your Song’s Genre
- 1.3 Step 3. Choose a Key and a Tempo
- 1.4 Step 4. Start with some Basics of Piano Music
- 1.5 Step 5. Chord Progression and Harmony
- 1.6 Step 6. Include a Melody Line
- 1.7 Step 7. Think about the Rhythm
- 1.8 Step 8. Think about Song Lyrics
- 1.9 Step 9. Decide on a Title of Your Own Song
- 1.10 Step 10. Make a Final Draft
- 2 FAQs
- 3 How to Write Your Own Music? Conclusion
10 Steps on How to Write a Song on Piano
Many people talk about making piano music like it’s magic, but most of the time it’s pretty easy. There is a significant chance that you will want to start writing your music after you start learning to play the piano. By the way, it will be much easier for you to write down your composition if you can read notes well in bass and treble clef.
To create your first song, follow these steps:
- Start with the general idea of the song
- Select your song’s genre
- Choose a key and a tempo
- Start with some basics
- Select chord progressions and harmonies
- Include a melody
- Think about the rhythm
- Think about the lyrics
- Decide on a title
- Make a final draft
Step 1. Start with the General Idea of the Song
The first step is to decide what the theme of your song or piano piece will be. Think about a topic or perhaps an audience. You can imagine: “I will write this song for my husband on our wedding anniversary”, “I will write a happy song for my friends”, or “This will be a sad love song”.
Sometimes it’s simpler to think about the kind of song you want to create before you think about the song’s idea. Do you prefer writing jazz or a country song? pop or classical? Will it be a joyful, upbeat song or a somber, depressing one? You can write piano songs more effectively if you decide on these broad ideas in advance.
Step 2. Select Your Song’s Genre
The second step is a direct continuation of the first. Have you thought about the character, of the idea of your song? Now it’s time to choose a genre.
Choose the music genre you want to write. Are you more interested in writing popular, folk, or classical music? Listen to a few samples of what you choose to get a feel for it. Notice the melodies, rhythms, and chord progressions in other pieces of the same genre.
Step 3. Choose a Key and a Tempo
Each tempo and key can have a significant impact on listeners and are important components in determining the atmosphere or mood your music creates.
Therefore, it is worth taking seriously the choice of key and tempo for your piano music. There are some simple exercises that will help you feel the mood and emotional coloring of each key:
- Do you think your music should be cheerful and optimistic? Then you need to choose among the major keys and moving tempo. If your song should be sad, or languid, you should pay attention to minor keys.
- Once you have chosen a major or minor, you need to find a comfortable key. Try playing simple scales and simple chord progressions from different keys. Listen carefully – does the character of each scale match your idea?
- If you are just starting to write piano music, I do not recommend using keys with a lot of sharps or flats. Select a key that you feel confident in so you can reproduce your musical ideas on the piano with ease.
Step 4. Start with some Basics of Piano Music
Starting with a fundamental component is a simple technique to break the compositional ice. The four foundational components of music are melody, rhythm, dynamics, chords, and harmony. To begin writing piano music, it’s easy to pick one and work from there.
You should always start with the fundamentals. You don’t need complicated chords or harmonies to start a song. For example, “Let It Be” by The Beatles begins with a simple C major chord.
Step 5. Chord Progression and Harmony
The easiest way to create the basis of your future song is to use a chord progression. Use chords as a starting point. Take a few basic piano chords and combine them. For example, do you like the sound of C major with A minor?
Try playing the sequence – C major – A minor, and then add D minor and G major. Easy, simple and beautiful.
If you are using a major key, pay attention to the different chords in the next scale steps – I, II, IV, V, and VI. In the key of C major, these chords would be C major chord (the root chord), D minor (second chord), F major(the subdominant or fourth chord), G major (the dominant or fifth chord), and A minor (six chord). This chord progression is a component of some popular music pieces, also known as Pop progression or Nashville progression.
You can write chords using both their letters and numbers. The system for writing songs using chords in their numerical notation is called the Nashville numeral system.
If your song is in a minor key, pay attention to the following degrees of your scale – I, III, IV, V, and VI. In A minor, they will be the following chords – A minor chord, C Major, D minor, E Major, and F major.
Try playing these chords in different combinations, in different order. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Thus, you will find many beautiful combinations. Be sure to write down on staff paper every sequence that you like. Play them several times, think about the theme of your song, and choose the most suitable options.
Step 6. Include a Melody Line
Some find it easier to start a piano composition with a melody. But it’s easier for me to compose melodies based on chord progression than to start creating a whole composition from a melody. It’s also easier to take notes about your compositions on a staff paper, especially if you’ve already recorded the chord progression in the bass clef.
Learning to write piano chords is a more exact science than composing melodies. Writing a melody is the most creative part of creating a musical composition. But first, a few basic tips:
- Think lyrically. Almost all pop music melodies are built on words, this is especially important if you are writing a song based on poetry.
- Don’t forget about pauses. You’ll need room to breathe if you want to sing your tune!
- Use motifs that are compact sets of notes. Small groups of notes that repeat and change in character form the basis of strong melodies.
- Don’t complicate! Most often, a simple melody = a beautiful melody.
Step 7. Think about the Rhythm
“The beat holds everything together.” When learning to write piano music, you need to pay enough attention to the rhythm. When you compose piano music, it is the rhythm that creates the mood of your song. Will it be perky, dancing, solemn or melancholy? It depends on the rhythm.
Using a metronome is incredibly useful when writing piano music. This will help you choose the tempo of your song and find the right balance of rhythm between the melody in your right hand and the accompaniment in your left hand. If you want to write a song on the piano at a faster tempo, you will probably use fewer chords and a melody with longer notes.
But what if you don’t know what rhythm should be in your new song? Listen to your favorite songs. Choose among the works of your favorite composers those that are closest in character to your idea, and listen to them carefully. Pay attention to rhythm, and tempo. You will find many interesting ideas for yourself.
Step 8. Think about Song Lyrics
Have you written the melody and the accompaniment, and decided on the rhythm and tempo? Congratulations, you are at the finish line. After you play your music a few times, decide if you want to add lyrics. Try to come up with phrases that are both witty and fit the lyrical content of your music.
The goal is to create music with words that speak to you and your audience.
One fantastic songwriting idea is to imagine the song opening up as a little box that’s inside a bigger box that’s inside an even bigger box. You must provide a general overview of the universe you have built in your song in the first verse – the “first box” you open.
You can start with a general statement to mimic the beginning of an important conversation. Say more in the second verse. With each verse, expand your thought in more detail to come to an end in the last verse.
Step 9. Decide on a Title of Your Own Song
The title of the composition is one of the final touches. It should convey the essence of your piano music. Always keep an eye out for promising titles. You never know where or when you might find a good idea. Read books, listen to other compositions and songs, and discuss ideas with other people.
The perfect name can be found in the most unexpected places. A great way to come up with a name is to create a metaphor for your topic.
Step 10. Make a Final Draft
While some songs, such as John Denver’s “Annie’s Song”, can be written in minutes, most take days or weeks to polish. The final version will eventually be compiled as you make notes and corrections to the original over time. On a new page of music paper, write the final version of the text.
How to write a song for beginners?
There are several basic steps in creating any musical piece:
1. Define the main idea
2. Define the genre, character, and tone
3. Create harmonic sequences
4. Create a melody
5. Add lyrics
How do you find the melody of a song on the piano?
A series of single notes that are attractive to the ear musically constitute a melody. The tune is the element of a music piece that people tend to remember the most. If you play a song on piano, the melody will most often be in the upper voice – in the treble clef.
How do you write a simple piano melody?
Here are some tips to help you create a piano melody and compose music:
1. Use the sounds of the selected scale
2. Change the melody note according to each chord change
3. Pay attention to the rhythm
4. Determine the culmination – the highest and most important point of the melody
5. Use sequences – repeating melodic elements that move up or down the steps
6. Repeat phrases with slight changes
How to Write Your Own Music? Conclusion
In conclusion, I want to add a few more words about the creation of piano music. I am sure that even beginning piano students can write music.
Writing music is an exciting creative process. You don’t have to be born a Mozart to compose piano music. If you want to create piano pieces, just start composing. Of course, this may seem very difficult at first. Don’t be too hard on yourself, don’t be afraid to experiment and try new sound combinations and harmonies.
Start playing, start improvising, start composing – and one day you will be able to compose a hit song. I wish you good luck and inspiration in writing great music!
Hello! My name is Lucy.
I am a musician, pianist, and piano teacher with over 10 years of experience. I, along with my professional team, created this website. Here I want to share my experience and knowledge with you. I write articles about learning the piano, its features and history, and reviews of the best digital pianos and accessories.
I hope my site will be useful to you!