How to Make a Song for Beginners

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Would you like to learn how to make a song by yourself?

This is a fun and simple exercise in songwriting for beginners. In this lesson, you will learn how to make a song step by step using the format of another song as a template. You can also print a free PDF to help you learn.

Please note that this is just a beginner exercise in composition. Keep in mind that you are simply "warming up" by getting used to writing music, and don't expect anything to be perfect at once. Just keep practicing and enjoy the process! :)

Free printable staff paper

Tip: Make sure to print out some of my free printable staff paper before you begin!

Sharpen your pencil, and practice to write the notes, clefs etc. as you learn about them. This will make everything you learn here easier to remember.

Click here to get your FREE printable staff paper!

How to Make a Song Using Another Song as a Template

TIP: Using another song as a template does not mean copying the song!

You can use the outline or structure of another song as a template to learn and then change it. But remember never, ever to copy other's work!

How to make a song as a beginner?

Learn from the masters! You can take any song, analyze its form and structure, and then use it to learn how to compose your own music. We'll use The Beatles' "Norwegian Wood" as a template for our exercise. It is a short and simple song, but it is still a classic that almost everyone knows. 

Follow the steps below as you will learn how the piece is made and then how to make your own song similarly.

Listen & Learn

  1. Intro: Listen to the introduction (0:00-0:20). The verse is played twice, first by a guitar and then by a sitar.
  2. Verse: Now, the verse (0:21-0:35). The melody that is repeated twice is made up of only three small phrases.
  3. Chorus: The chorus is even simpler (0:36-0:50). The chorus is repeated twice and is one longer phrase using a repeated notes pattern.
  4. Bridge: The bridge is only a dominant 7 chord. (0:50)
  5. Verse: The verse returns (same as before) (0:52-1:07)
  6. Break: And the break is just the sitar playing the same melody of the verse (1:08-1:24)
  7. Chorus: The chorus returns (1:25-1:39)
  8. Bridge: (1:39-1:40)
  9. Verse: Verse again (1:40-1:56)
  10. Coda: Coda is simply the melody from the verse played once with instruments. (1:57-2:09)

So. Looking at the musical material, we can see that the song only has two small melodic phrases.

The two phrases are repeated with different lyrics and combined in a pattern that made the song a great hit and a classic! Here is a link to the chords and lyrics, if you like.

How to Make a Song Step by Step

How to make a song

Now it is your turn to learn how to make a song!

Your task is to make your own version of this piece using the same form.

You only need to compose two tiny melodic phrases, one for the verse and one for the chorus. 

No lyrics are needed in this exercise. But of course, you can add some if you like. 

OK? Let's get started!

1. The Verse

Verse: Use as a model the first melodic phrase from the verse in "Norwegian Wood." It has three short parts. This is the Verse:

How to make a song: The verseThe verse from the melody of "Norwegian Wood" by Beatles.

As you can see, the three parts of the melody a), b) and c) share the same rhythm and a melody that moves mostly down. b) and c) have an interval of a third and a fifth skipping up.


2. The Chorus

Chorus: This is the Chorus:

How to make a song: chorusThe chorus from the melody of "Norwegian Wood" by Beatles.

The chorus in this piece is simply a longer phrase moving in steps and repeated notes. After a skip of a fifth, the melody moves gradually downwards.


Now re-write the phrase from the chorus.

You can use anything that sounds good as long as it fits the same length as the phrase. If you like, you could even use the same rhythm.

3. All Together Now

Finally, let us combine these two parts, the verse and the chorus, and then build your own song (sing on a syllable or whatever, since we are using no lyrics.)

Following the format of Norwegian Wood, here is how you combine your parts in your score:

  1. Intro: The melody from your verse, but perhaps with another instrument or sound.
  2. Verse: sung twice.
  3. Chorus: sung twice.
  4. Bridge: one chord or one note.
  5. Verse: sung twice.
  6. Break: the verse played twice by an instrument.
  7. Chorus: sung twice.
  8. Bridge: as before.
  9. Verse: sung twice.
  10. Coda: The verse once with instruments, with a short ritardando (slow down tempo) at the end.

Print out (free) this exercise here (PDF) and blank manuscript paper here (PDF).

Write your music, and play and sing it! How did it sound?

It was fun, wasn't it! Try it again with other sounds or melodies. Make sure to practice how to make a song with other songs as well.

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