Songwriting

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Songwriting

Creativity

We are created in God's image and He is the Creator, creative -- therefore, we are creative, in His image.

  • Cultivate your connection with the Creator.
    Hear God, know God - Then translate His heart uniquely through yours in a song
  • You can describe concepts like: glory, presence, holy, passion, purity, awe when you have tasted, touched, seen, and received it?

The technical side of songwriting flows out of the spiritual; man's attempt to 'formulize' inspiration.

Lyrics and Music

What comes first? Sometimes lyrics, sometimes music. But music and lyrics must complement one another, be in unity.

Writing the Song

  1. Identify your target group -- Who are you writing for?
    • To God
    • To others -- one person, the church, the world
    • For yourself
  1. Specify the type of song
    • Worship
    • Performance
    • Interactive
    • Story song
    • Teaching song
  1. Theme -- What's on God's heart
    Who is writing these songs for the Body of Christ to sing?
    Focus on one theme:
    It may be helpful to look in a hymnal to find the historical Church themes and holidays
    • Communion
    • Christmas or other Church holidays (Easter, Pentecost, Advent, Lent)
    • Kid's song
    • Spiritual Warfare
    • Hope
    • Revival
    • Repentance
    • Consolation/comfort
    • Proclamation
    • Intercession
    • Evangelism
    • Celebration
    • Reconciliation
    • Unity
    • Scripture songs (OT/NT, not just Psalms)
    • Parables
    • Thanksgiving
    • Peace
    • Missions
    • Cross
    • Blood of Christ
    • Surrender/Consecration
    • Suffering
  1. Elements of a song
    • Verse A
    • Chorus B
    • Bridge C
      AA -God is so good, The steadfast love, He is Lord
      AB -Shout to the Lord, I will offer, Jesus we enthrone You
      ABC -Light of the world, Blessings and Honor, My Redeemer Lives
    • Meter, tempo, rhythm, dynamics
    • Climax
    • Hook line
      (e.g. My Redeemer Lives, Here I am to Worship)
    • Rhyme (inner rhyme, repetition, alliteration, true rhymes)
      (e.g. "I will offer up my life", "Jesus, we enthrone" (we raise you up with our praise),
      "Both Hands")
  1. Checklist for a good song
    1. Focus and simplicity.
      • Aim at the heart. Emotional impact.
      • Avoid cliches.
      • Say something old in a new/fresh way.
      • Make one point and develop it.
      • Logical progression of message and music.
    2. Form. ABAB or AABA -- Good structure: beginning, middle, climax, ending
    3. Hooks. Lyric, melodic, rhythmic, vocal, instrumental, etc. The hook will become a good title. Aim for a short, colorful title that gives good idea of the song.
    4. Rhyme. Consistent patterns, perfect rhymes where possible.
    5. Lyrics and grammar.
      • Straight-ahead lyrics:no backward phrases.
      • Singable, flowing vowels, no glottal stops at the ends of phrases.
      • No explanation required.
      • Consistent form (1st person, etc.) and appropriate (don't mix KJV with common language)
      • Compact or succinct lyrics -- short, descriptive, sensory phrases, no unnecessary words.
      • Use action words, words that sing.
      • Set the stage with strong opening lines, setting theme quickly.
    6. Marriage of music and message
      • Words supported by a suitable and supportive melody.
      • An appropriate range: Over an octave (for dramatic effect) and not over a twelfth (for singability); or small range (for quiet and worshipful atmosphere).
    7. Theologically sound with spiritual content and anointing.
      • Hear what the Spirit of God is saying and let Him say it through you.
      • Take the listener/singer one step further in knowing God.
      • Examine and test together with a spiritual mentor.
  1. Short list of key factors in a worship song:
    • Singability -- difficulty to sing/play
    • Biblical accuracy
    • Message -- saying something fresh

Additional Notes

  • Songwriting is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration
  • The most common mistake of beginning songwriters is trying to say too much in one song. Stick to the theme and keep your target group in focus.
  • Make sure what you write is biblically sound -- especially for worship songs. * Get some help!

(References: "Words and Music ©1984 WORD, by Jimmy & Carol Owens)