Complete Guide to Songwriting
4.4 (14 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
91 students enrolled
Wishlisted Wishlist

Please confirm that you want to add Complete Guide to Songwriting to your Wishlist.

Add to Wishlist

Complete Guide to Songwriting

Learn how you can write better songs, from lyrics to melody and everything in between
4.4 (14 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
91 students enrolled
Created by Learn Everything
Last updated 1/2017
Curiosity Sale
Current price: $10 Original price: $40 Discount: 75% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 41 mins on-demand video
  • 12 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Students will learn about the raw materials of songwriting
  • Students will learn about the importance of melody and harmonic content
  • Students will learn how to write better lyrics
  • Students will learn about the importance of groove and rhythm.
  • Students will learn about environmental impacts on songwriting, and how they can better collaborate with other people
  • Students will learn about song structure and song elements
  • Students will learn about the 3-step writing technique for lyrics
  • Students will learn how to limit their choices to get better ideas
  • Students will learn how to come up with ideas for songs, and the different themes available
  • Students will learn how to create hooks
  • Students will learn about ‘magic moments’ and how they can improve a song
  • Students will learn about the importance of rewriting, and understanding when a song is finished
View Curriculum
  • There are no set requirements for the course, other than an interest in music and songwriting.
  • It will be helpful if you can accompany yourself on an instrument such as guitar or piano, but it is by no means necessary.

This course will guide you through the world of songwriting, showing you how you can utilize raw materials and modern compositions to write better songs.

Designed to help you understand how songs are crafted, this course will give you the tools and skills you need to get better at modern songwriting, regardless of your level of experience. 

Taught by an extremely talented musician and songwriter with years of experience in the business, this course will give you the confidence and toolkit you need to craft better songs and understand what makes songs successful or popular. You’ll learn how to write better lyrics, how songs are structured and how to create hooks and ‘magic moments’ in your compositions. You’ll also be able to analyse popular songs and understand them on a whole new level.

The complete guide to songwriting is aimed at anyone who wants to understand the process of songwriting and write better songs. Whether you’re new to music or a seasoned pro, and regardless of whether or not you play an instrument, this course will give you a new insight into the world of modern composition and songwriting.

About the instructor:

Danny McGurn BA(hons) is a seasoned songwriter and performer, with a degree in music from the University of Sussex and a HND in songwriting from the Brighton Institute of Modern Music. He’s also one of Learn Everything’s regular presenters and course providers.

In the past 10 years, Danny has played with a number of high profile bands and as a solo artist, performing on numerous UK tour and at renowned festivals and venues including Glastonbury, Rock Against Racism, the Secret Garden Party, White Air Festival, Club NME and hundreds of others. He has performed on lineups with the likes of Elbow, Biffy Clyro, Bombay Bicycle Club, The Buzzcocks, Frank Turner and has performed live on stage with Gary Moore. His music has been featured on Hollyoaks and numerous TV adverts, and he has been featured in the likes of NME, The Telegraph, The Guardian, Rocksound Music Week and many more. As the lead singer of infamous and much loved Brighton band The Perils, Danny wrote the critically acclaimed album Good People Do Bad Things, which is available on iTunes. 

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for anyone interested in music and modern songwriting
  • This course is for anyone looking to understand the process of modern composition
  • This course is for anyone who would like to be able to analyse hit songs
  • This course is for those who want to be able to write better lyrics
  • This course is for anyone looking to write better songs for themselves, for their band or for others
Students Who Viewed This Course Also Viewed
Curriculum For This Course
32 Lectures
Raw Materials
10 Lectures 20:37

An introduction to this section, and to the course overall

Preview 00:38

In this lecture we take a closer look at melody, its' importance to the composition and how you can approach writing your own melodies. We'll also look at some examples of 'borrowed' melodic elements, and how they can be applied to songwriting. 


This lecture focuses on harmonic content - the chords you use to support your melody. We'll look at chord progressions, the emotional impact of major and minor chords and introduce you to 7th and augmented chords, and the benefit of knowing music theory. 

Harmonic Content

In this lecture we take an introductory look at lyrics, in particular the title and the first line. We'll look at a couple of modern examples of titles and first lines, including songs from The Beach Boys and Leonard Cohen. 

Preview 02:42

This lecture focuses on groove and rhythm, in particular tempo, instrumentation, length of notes and delivery. We look at how groove can be a great starting point for songwriting, and the impact different grooves can have on your songs, with an excellent example from The Beatles. 

Groove and Rhythm

This lecture looks at the pros and cons of collaborating with other writers and musicians, and how you can approach collaborations in your own career. 


In this lecture we take a look at the impact of our environment, and how we can take advantage of the environmental effect to break out of a creative rut and improve our songwriting experience. 

Environmental Effect

This article examines the benefits of writing to a brief, and how you can create your own briefs in order to kickstart your songwriting. We'll look at a specific example of limiting your choices, helping you to get started on a new song straight away.

Writing to a Brief (Article)

This article gives you a fantastic exercise that you can use to help come up with new ideas, known as the 'timed writing' exercise. 

Timed Writing Exercise (Article)

The final article in this section gives you another useful exercise that can be reformatted and reused throughout your songwriting career. Using a fantastic example from The Beach Boys, we'll look at how you can approach this brilliant creative exercise. 

Writing a New Verse Exercise (Article)
The Writing Process
5 Lectures 06:52

An introduction to section two, and what we'll be covering over the next few lectures.


In this lecture we take a look at the often difficult process of rewriting, and why being willing to rewrite parts of your compositions can have a dramatic impact on the quality of your songwriting. 


This lecture focuses on the concept of 'finishing' songs, following on from lecture 12 with some useful advice on how to approach your songs throughout the writing process. 

Understanding when a Song is Finished

This article continues a discussion from section one, and covers the benefits of changing your environment, including some useful advice on how you can make subtle changes to improve the process of songwriting. 

Changing Your Environment (Article)

This article looks at the issue of when you sit down to write your songs, and how you can alter your timings to impact your creative output. 

When to Write (Article)
Structure and Composition
5 Lectures 09:45

In this lecture we take a look at some of the classic song structures, and how you can experiment with structures to get different results. Some of the structures we'll look at include AAA, AABA, ABAB and ABABCB, including examples from Radiohead, Frank Sinatra and The Beatles. 

Classic Structures

This lecture focuses on the structural elements of song composition, how they're used and how you can experiment with each one to create unique compositions. We'll look specifically at intros, verses, pre-choruses, choruses, bridges, solos and outros. 

Elements of Song Composition

In this lecture we focus on the choices available to you as a songwriter, and how limiting your choices can help you overcome creative blocks and push your abilities as a composer. 

Limiting Your Choices

In this article we look at conventions in songwriting, in particular at the pop genre. We will highlight a formula for writing the perfect pop song, addressing elements such as structure, tempo, length, subject matter and compositional restrictions.

Writing the Perfect Pop Song (Article)

In the final article of this section, we follow on from lecture 19 with an exercise in pop writing, challenging you to write to the pop formula. 

Writing to the Pop Formula Exercise (Article)
6 Lectures 22:16

An introduction to section four, discussing what we'll be focusing on in the coming lectures. 


In this lecture we take a look at subject matter and the main concept for your songs. We'll discuss what constitutes a good idea, and how you can set your song apart from the crowd. 

The Main Idea

This lecture covers the widely used and highly effective 3-step writing technique, as employed by numerous professional songwriters and lyricists the world over. We'll outline the technique, and show you how you can apply it to your own writing.

The 3-Step Writing Technique

In this article we'll look at an exercise that will help you write titles, and discuss what elements make a good title. 

Title Writing Exercise (Article)

In this in-depth article we examine how you can improve your lyrics. We'll look at avoiding cliches, being consistent in tone and approach, using repetition, the importance of consistency and how you can portray genuine feeling and emotion. 

Writing Better Lyrics (Article)

In the final article of this section, we take a look a rhyming and structure in modern composition. Using examples from the likes of Simon & Garfunkel, The Undertones and Bob Dylan, we'll look at the most commonly used rhyming structures and discuss the pros and cons of each one. 

Preview 03:25
Hooks and Magic Moments
3 Lectures 09:51

In the first lecture of section 5, we'll introduce the concept of 'hooks', and discuss the impact they can have on your songwriting. We'll examine what constitutes a hook, using examples from the likes of Eric Clapton, Queen, Bon Jovi and Pink Floyd. 

Understanding Hooks

This lecture follows on from 'Understanding Hooks', where we look at writing your own hooks. This lecture includes a full performance of an original song, which we'll break down in order to better cover how you can write hooks for your own songs. 

Writing Hooks

In the last lecture of this section, we'll look at 'magic moments' in songs, and discuss how they're different from traditional hooks. We'll also look at ways of introducing magic moments in your own compositions, and how they can change the impact and emotional resonance of your songs. 

Magic Moments (Article)
3 Lectures 03:59

In this lecture we recap some of the elements covered in this course, and discuss the importance of finding out what works for you. 

What Works For You

In the final video lecture of this course, we look at the importance and impact of regular practice, and how this can really make a difference to every element of your songwriting. 


In the last article of this section, and of the course, I'll give you some ideas, tips and suggestions for continuing your learning around composition and songwriting, including some further reading and next steps you can take to further your career in the music industry. 

Next Steps (Article)
About the Instructor
Learn Everything
4.4 Average rating
14 Reviews
91 Students
1 Course
Learn everything from the world's best experts

Learn Everything is a video tuition company based in the United Kingdom. 

We create high quality courses, videos and tutorials aimed at teaching the world a new skill, or helping people to get better at what they already do. Our courses are written and taught by a wide selection of experts in a range of industries, based all over the world. 

Our videos are produced in six main categories: 

Digital | Music | The Arts | General | Sports | Lifestyle