ChisnallwoodMusic – SONGWRITING

Written by ChissyMusic


Here you’ll find tips on songwriting.

Where can we use our lyrics and songs?

School rock bands or soloists or duos could write the music for another student’s lyrics or you can write both the lyrics and music, or put the song together with your band.

Another option is to create music on the computer using music software laying down beats and loops and making up bass lines melody or rap, harmonies, and recording a vocalist.

If the song gets recorded and takes off, the lyric writer and composer(s) always get 50% each of any profits. Songs can be registered at

You’ll be able to enter lyrics (only) in Rockquest and Bandquest competitions if you like – and as many songs as you like.

There are also competitions as part of NZ Ukulele Uke-Can-do-It , Singout4justice and HookLineandSingalong.

We’ll be able to play some completed songs on the school radio!

Tips for lyric writing

  • save everything – eg. notebook, also record your melodies
  • analyse why you like lyrics and other songs
  • keep real

Structure ideas and terms

  • Title
  • intro
  • verse
  • pre-chorus
  • chorus
  • hook
  • bridge
  • instrumental
  • a cappella section (vocals only – no instruments except maybe drums)
  • riff
  • coda/outro

Many great songs often just have an Intro, verses and a chorus. So keep it simple as in the next example.


  • Title What the song is about, Short, Attracts attention, Links to chorus, simple language
  • Verse1 has details, sets scene (who, when, where, why..), lower than chorus (contrasts), “killer first line”
  • Chorus essence of song, catchy, memorable
  • Verse 2 shifts story on
  • Chorus
  • Chorus

Other elements to think of

  • texture (lots of instruments, or just one or two)
  • contrast
  • mood


  • sometimes reverse line order

Listing (same starter or ending for each line)
I live…
I live….
I live….
I live….

Some useful song writing web sites:

Song writing tips on the Rockquest site:  B-Rhymes is a rhyming dictionary that gives you words that sound good together even if don’t technically rhyme.Very useful!

Click here for some great video songwriting resources as well as info about the Hook Line Sing-long competition.

Auckland Philharmonia Teddy Bear songwriting videos and worksheets 8 Tips for writing pop songs



Session 1

  • Song structure
  • Defining elements of songs
  • Watch short videos
  • Title activity

Session 2

  • Re-cap session 1
  • sharing
  • Listing technique
  • 5 w’s technique
  • Write own listing or 5 w’s verse

Session 3

  • Rhyming patterns
  • Look at rhyming patterns in known songs
  • Reverse rhyming trick

Session 4

  • Inspiration ideas and topics
  • Colour/emotion/texture/season verse activity
  • Bring favourite song sentence with reason
  • Share Songwriter HD app

Session 5

  • Share favourite sentence
  • Share any of own writing
  • Try putting some to music
  • Writing a song which describes but doesn’t say the topic

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 5.17.28 pm

GraphicOrganizerLotusDiagram Download this to write on to help brainstorm related ideas or related rhyming words.

See how similes and metaphors have been used in some songs and movies