Ultimate Guide to Songwriting and Music Composition

Are you a musician and songwriter? Or do you aspire to be one? If so, you’ve come to the right place. This songwriting and music composition guide is packed with some 50 resources that can help you better understand how to write a song that can crack the Top 40, play guitar like Eric Clapton or apply your musical talents to specific genres. Whether you’re looking to improve your talents for personal reasons or have the desire to further develop your skills for professional applications, you’re sure to find more than a few of these resources, which are conveniently grouped into specific categories, helpful to make your ambitions sing!


General Songwriting and Music Composition Resources

From learning about the language of music to gaining insight from professional songwriters and publishers, these resources provide in-depth information about the mechanics and craft of songwriting and music composition. You’ll find something for everyone on this list, from beginners to those entering and advancing a career in the music field.

Songwriters Resource Network – From networking with songwriters on a forum to marketing tips for your songs, this resource provides strategies you can apply to your career or hobby as a songwriter or lyricist.

International Songwriters Association – Get music industry contact information, an overview of songwriting basics, tips for writing song titles and more by accessing the website of this international organization.

Music Theory for Songwriters – An online publication discussing such important songwriting aspects as scales, chords, keys and more.

The Songwriters Forum – Get feedback on your work, songwriting advice and even Help Wanted ads for songwriters, vocalists and lyricists.

How to Write a Song – A breakdown of the basics of writing a song, from structure to lyrics and creating the final product.

Songstuff – A site offering blogs and forums that provide relevant discussions, critique and collaborative opportunities, and songwriting contests.

Just Plain Folks – An online music organization providing links to information about distribution, music education, marketing, promotions, recording services and more.

Songwriters on Process – Access interviews with real songwriters who relay useful information about the songwriting process.

Nashville Song Service – Lyricists and songwriters can submit up to three lyrics or songs for free evaluation.

Thrum With Me – Free resources such as a downloadable Guitar Notes Songbook, Songwriting Notebook, Blank Chord Diagram Sheets as well as song revision tips, songwriting videos and more.


Genre Songwriting Resources

Want to rock the world or just come up with a nice country ballad? Whatever your desires, the following resources will help give you tips and strategies on how to write that hit song no matter what genre you’re working in.

How to Write a Pop Song – Get a step-by-step review of the process for writing a pop song, from lyrics to chord progression and song structure.

14 Simple Rules For Writing a Country Hit – Find solid advice from songwriters who have supplied hits to the likes of Tim McGraw and Keith Urban! Get insight into what works for melody, inspiration, lyrics and lots more.

How to Write Love Song Lyrics From the Heart – Get info on what a love song is and tips for how to effectively write one.

How to Write Rock – A basic overview of what works best when you’re fixing to write the next rock n’ roll hit!

5 Steps to Creating a Great Hip-Hop Song – Follow this basic formula if you want to write hip hop songs!

How to Write a Blues Song – A short article providing details about the chord progression and lyrical characteristics of blues songs.

10 Tips for the Songwriting Guitarist – Presented by Gibson, this articles covers the main points you need to know if you’re a songwriter who is also strapping on a guitar.


Lyric Writing Resources

Having trouble getting the words just right? Lyric writing is no easy task, and the resources below can help you gain insight into strategies and tips for being successful in this area.

The Lyric Writer’s Workroom – From basics to speed songwriting, this site offers advice and practices for lyricists at every stage.

SongLyricist.com – Find links to articles, networking opportunities, contests and more.

Pat Pattison Lyric Tips – Lyric writing professor Pat Pattison offers tips such as developing verse ideas, using metaphors and structuring a lyric.

24 Lyric-Writing Tips – General but helpful tips to help you get started, break writer’s block or better understand what NOT to do when writing lyrics.


Guitar Resources

So you want to be a singer/songwriter? Lots of front men strap on a guitar when they step to the mic! Use the resources below to find information about chords, guitar playing lessons and more.

Heartwood Guitar – Browse chord charts for well-known songs by a vast number of artists, from the Beatles to U2.

GuitarLessons.com – Access free beginner video lessons that show you how to get started playing the guitar.

Guitar Fundamentals – Hosted by GuitarTricks.com, this seven-chapter video series covers how to play chords and simple melodies in addition to basic strumming and rhythm.

10 Tips to Learn How to Play the Guitar with Good Technique – In this Uberchord blog, get tips on what you can do and what you should avoid to learn how to play the guitar like a rockstar!

Six Simple Tips to Better Guitar Playing – Already know the basics but want to get better? Follow these tips from Guitar World to take your guitar playing to the next level.

Best Blues Guitar Lessons Online.com – Find free online videos for beginners and more advanced players as well as a free eBook!

Guitar Lessons 365 – Get dozens of free intermediate guitar lessons covering technique, chords, scales and even warm-up hand stretches. The site also offers free advanced guitar lessons addressing many of the same areas, in addition to fretboard visualization.

How to Tune a Guitar – If you know how to play but your audience is still cringing, then it’s likely time to tune that instrument! Learn how using these detailed instructions.


Keyboard Resources

From pianos to synthesizers, it could be helpful to understand how to use a keyboard when it comes to songwriting and music compositions. Whether you’re testing the music for your own songs or want to play keyboard for a band, the following resources can help you find your way around the keys!

Synthesia – From unlimited songs to lighted keyboard support, this fun software teaches you how to play keyboard. You can try it for free!

Piano Lessons by pianote – Find access to dozens of free video piano lessons under such categories as General Lessons, Songs Lessons, Scales, Blues Scales, Covers, Modes and Solos.

Keyboard Magazine – An online publication offering blogs, videos, reviews, articles and more. For the novice as well as the seasoned keyboard veteran.


Percussion Resources

If you don’t want to work and just want to bang on the drums all day, then these are the resources for you. Instruments in this family also include cymbals, tambourine and timpani. Find links for beginners, intermediate players and those with advanced skills.

Bandworld – Find links to articles, videos and PDF files covering percussion basics, playing drums for beginners, warm-up exercises, percussion techniques and more.

Percussive Arts Society – Join and get access to a video library, education material, research databases and online articles.

Innovative Percussion Inc. – Links to various articles written by percussionists, addressing such topics as improving timing, developing technical skills, learning different techniques and establishing fundamentals.

Josh Gottry – A percussionist provides links to various resources such as notation guides, basic lessons and rudiment sheets for the snare drum, mallet percussion and general percussion.


Songwriting and Music Composition Apps

When it comes to songwriting and composing music…there’s an app for that! Actually, there are LOTS of apps for that. Below you’ll find links to a few of these resources to get you started on writing songs, creating chords and other fun exercises to hone your skills.

Suggester – Helps you create your own chord progressions that fit perfectly with YOUR songs!

GarageBand – It’s like having a recording studio at your fingertips! Arrange and mix songs (up to 32 tracks) and add guitars, drums and synthesizers.

FourTrack – Capture your music on your iPhone or iPod with this app. All it takes is a headphone and your song and you’re ready to record.

Simple Songwriter LE: Free Song Writing Assistant – Record songs, change keys, find chords, review chords of your favorite songs and touchscreen to so you can easily generate and store song ideas.

Gibson Learn and Master Guitar – Featuring a tuner, metronome and chord chart, this app for the Android has everything you need to get strumming!


Songwriting and Music Composition Blogs

What best way can you learn about songwriting than hearing it straight from those who have found success in this field? Refer to the blogs below to find details about tips and strategies that you can apply to your own process.

Tony Conniff – Professional songwriter/music composer/performer Tony Conniff discusses songwriting habits, lyrics and strategies you can try to challenge yourself and improve your songwriting.

Sonicbids – Get personal insights into songwriting and the music biz by referring to these blog entries.

American Songwriter – Hosted by American Songwriter magazine, these guest blogs offer professional insight and advice for beginning and even advanced songwriters.

Songwriters Talk About Songwriting – Find brief but detailed interviews with songwriters that can help you come up with ideas, try a new writing process or how to get started on a new song.

Nick Dolan Music Blog – Film composer Nick Dolan provides a personal look at the craft of composing music for films. Contains articles about technique and improving the craft and also interviews with other music composers.


Songwriting and Music Composition Podcasts

Learn from the masters! Gain insight into the creative process of successful music composers and songwriters with these fascinating podcasts.

Meet the Composer – Get into minds of composers and how they created their works by listening to the three seasons offered on this podcast.

Sodajerker – Podcasts of songwriters discussing the songwriting process and their successful works and practices.

Art of Composing – Composers discuss the basics of music composition.