Songwriting 1: How To Write A Hit Song
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Songwriting 1: How To Write A Hit Song

Unlock the AWESOME SECRETS for writing a hit song - rock, pop, R&B, blues, electronica and more!
4.2 (11 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.
277 students enrolled
Created by Robert Prosser
Last updated 8/2017
Current price: $10 Original price: $95 Discount: 89% off
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2 hours on-demand video
  • 1 Article
  • 16 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Write a hit song for a band, advertising, film or even video games!
  • Gain thorough knowledge of how multiple instruments work together to create a great song.
  • Learn key elements for genres such as rock, pop, R&B, funk, reggae and more.
  • Learn how to build a Major scale and a Major chord progression, and tips on how to use them.
  • Learn standard chord progressions plus tips on how to develop them for your own songwriting.
  • Bonus material including downloadable transcriptions, chord charts and external links.
View Curriculum
  • You should have access to, and be able to reasonably play (or compose on), at least one instrument. A knowledge of all Major and minor chords would be advantageous. And also know how to play the Major scale. Music software is an instrument :)
  • Everything you need to know will appear on screen. So, if there's a chord you don't know, don't worry. The chord will on screen and be able to learn as you go.

Learn how to write a hit song in popular music styles - rock, pop, blues, metal, reggae and more! Learn how to take a basic music idea and develop it into a full song. 

"This course has good content with good visuals. You get to see the lesson and hear it individually and then combined together for the full sound. The demonstrations Robert has included ties it all together." - Greg R

  • Step-by-step, you will be shown how to develop a musical idea into a hit song. A perfect course not only for musicians, but also people interested in music production, recording engineering or any other studio work. Great for digital musicians. Also perfect for advertising, film soundtracks or even video game music!
  • Over 20 original songs created just for this course.
  • Watch animated diagrams and performer videos that show each song being developed into a final product.The instructor describes each step. Progressive audio tracks show how each new track contributes to the entire song. You will also learn how to build chord progressions in any key - and even when to break the rules!
  • To benefit most from this course you will need reasonable skill on at least one instrument. Some theory and musical concepts are discussed through-out this course. Beginner musicians will find some concepts hard to grasp - but will still learn valuable information that will set them way above other beginner musicians.
  • Full PDF scores and other extras are available for download so you can really explore what's going on in this course and build your own music reference library!

"Teacher is clear, concise and interactive and lessons are easy to learn and easy to follow. Great job." - Suppoman ®

Who is the target audience?
  • This course is for a music player who wants to write a great song. It shows how to develop a chord progression and add other instruments to compose a great sounding song.
  • Non musicians, such as persons wishing to produce music or be a recording studio engineer will definitely benefit as they will learn key elements that can inspire the talent they work with, and direct musicians to a particular sound or technique.
  • This course works for live music, studio music, and other musical situations such as recording for advertising, television or film. It's great for digital musicians such as techno artists or video game music.
  • Beginners CAN take this course. You will learn many excellent things that can help your musical journey, but many concepts may be difficult to grasp.
Curriculum For This Course
45 Lectures
Welcome to Songwriting 1
2 Lectures 04:19

Learn about your cool instructor and what you can gain from these awesome music lessons. This brief intro will give you a sample of your instructor playing capability and what this course offers for you!

Preview 00:51

Ready to be inspired? Watch this brief description on how to get the most from this course. You'll get an outline of what to expect throughout the whole songwriting course and then you're on your way to songwriting happiness!

A Little Songwriting Course Housekeeping...
Rock Foundations
7 Lectures 17:20

The 5th chord originated in in rock music... or did it? Take a quick look at the history of  5th chords, also called power chords, in this lesson.

Preview 00:52

Watch as we progressively lay a number of guitars on top of a simple two chord rhythm played on acoustic guitar. This will give you great ideas for using more than one guitar in your own songs. The end result is pretty cool!

Acoustic Rhythm Enhanced With Powerchords

Add open string bass notes to a simple guitar rhythm. We'll start with an easy guitar and bass combo. After that see how a few adjustments on either instrument can build depth to your bed.

Preview 03:01

Start layering a song further with more power chord ideas added to a new two chord rhythm. This lesson adds more guitars playing 5th chords with slightly different arrangements. The end result is rather surprising. Sound like 3 guitars? You decide.

Powerchords - different styles for different effect.

Starting with a simple two chord progression listen to the effect of adding a 5th chord track where the movement is tight, compared to one where the movement is quite spacious. Both versions are built with using root notes for each pair of chords on the same strings only.

More Powerchords - close together or far apart?

Based on two chords only, learn how just a guitar and bass can create a great, full sound. Perfect for a three piece band. Or larger...

Guitar and Bass - working together

Rock foundations locked in? Let's take a quick review.

review - Rock Foundations

Rock Foundations quiz
4 questions
High register chords
3 Lectures 06:50

Take your chords up into high registers and play them as triads. This is great for adding more instrument parts to your songwriting. In this lesson triads are played as chords. What is a triad? Keep going through the lessons to find out.

Triads as chords

Some great sounds can be gained playing through each note of a high register chord individually. This lesson explores doing that with triads. Cool ideas for any instrument that plays a melody.

Triads as Arpeggios

A brief review of high register chords. And we mean brief! So attention, please.

review - High Register Chords

High Register Chords quiz
3 questions
Developing Bass Lines
5 Lectures 12:48

Bass octaves are a powerful way to create depth on any low register instrument. Start out with whole note octaves in this lesson. See how they provide a full sound in the lower end of the music spectrum.

Get Started on Bass Octaves

Each bar in this four bar progression uses a bass octave in a slightly different way. In creating any music line not each bar has to use the same concept. This example creates an energetic, but smooth, bass line that keeps a song moving by varying its approach for each chord in the progression.

More Ideas For Using Bass Octaves

Using 3rd notes in bass lines adds more tonality. A bass can create a groove whether for a fast paced song or a slow one. It also allows the bass to shape to flow of a song, working in harmony with chord changes or helping reinforce them.

Using 3rd Notes in Bass Lines

In bass lines 3rd notes can be used to create a driving bass approach perfect for energetic music styles. This four chord progression comes alive with a happening bass line built entirely around thirds.

Preview 03:26

Get the low down on using octaves and thirds to shape your bass lines, therefore an entire song. Here's your review.

review - Bass Lines

Bass Lines quiz
3 questions
Upbeat Styles and Adding Pads
6 Lectures 20:49

While a guitar rocks with some punchy chords watch how the bass controls the flow of the groove. It's a great approach for anyone who wishes to write a driving rock song.

Preview 02:18

This lesson shows how to take the same basic chord progression and change it to different musical styles. Here we're getting all tropical with some reggae and ska. Explore key elements of these styles and learn how to use them in your own songs.

Upbeat Styles - Ska and Reggae

Learn funk techniques to create a full sound while still having strong separation between guitar and bass. This lesson explores guitar techniques on its own and then bass on its own. It then combines them both so you can see the awesome final result.

Upbeat Styles - Funk

Some genres of music as different as progressive rock and hip hop use complex arrangements with many instruments. Learn in this lesson how to add a luscious depth to your songs by adding keyboard pads and layering your songs with multiple instrument parts.

Adding Keyboard Pads - Hiphop and R&B

Here's another keyboard technique. Dropping the 5th note of your triad on a keyboard pad can add to an atmospheric sound. This lesson uses a quiet sounding pad and a strong sounding pad with the same basic technique. This helps show simple mixing concepts also - does every instrument have to stand out strongly?

Adding Keyboard Pads - dropping the 5th

A recap on the lessons using tight chord clusters and keyboard pads in music arrangement.

review - Chord Clusters and Pads

Chord Clusters and Pads quiz
3 questions
Blues Bass and Beyond
5 Lectures 11:47

The foundation for many modern bass styles comes from the blues. So, let's start at the beginning. Blues bass lines. They can be played on any low register instrument like piano, bass guitar, or cello.

Preview 03:34

'Walking' bass lines are at the heart of many blues songs. Check out a few simple versions in this lesson. Suitable for bass guitar, keyboard or most low register instruments. These lines are an essential component to many hit songs.

'Walking' Bass Lines

Using open strings only can be a creative to write bass lines. The concept translates easily on piano too. Also, this lesson shows that sometimes taking a idea from one instrument to another may not always work.

Open String Blues Bass

Take your blues bass lines into other genres like rock and techno. Explore both of those other genres here and be inspired to take your blues bass lines into other places.

Blues Bass Lines in Rock and Techno

So that's the blues! Take a short recap of the techniques common in blues bass lines.

review - Blues Basslines
Alternative Chord Formations
6 Lectures 16:35

Control your guitar sound by anchoring to one fret. This example plays a chord progression at the fifth fret only. This is an approach to guitar playing that forces a player to be creative in deciding which chords to use, and how to use them.

Advanced Bar Chord Ideas on Guitar

Energetic music like funk needs to have strong attack and crisp sounds. Keep chord movement tight in this funk example, add a new bass trick, and keep it tight!

Limited Chord Movement in a Funk Song

A theoretically correct chord progression doesn't always work best... take this minor rock progression for example. It worked better with a little Major tweaking. We'll explain why and how we created this great rock sound in this lesson.

Creating a Rock Song in a Minor Key

Use musical phrases on keyboard to create emotive concepts for your song. The techniques work on any instrument. This lesson demonstrates creating moving phrases on a piano. Can be used anywhere from classical to pop to trance to rock.

Limited Chord Movement on Piano

A relaxed approach to keyboard chords can provide a great songwriting platform allowing for other instruments to work in with it. Starting with a choice keyboard approach we'll add more instruments until we achieve a great slow rock sound that is almost comes across like a rock anthem.

Slow Rock Built From Keyboard

Alternative chord formations all summed up in this short review.

review - Alternative Chord Formations

Alternative Chord Formations quiz
2 questions
Building Chord Progressions
5 Lectures 16:58

So, where do you really begin in writing a great chord progression? A little theory will open some amazing songwriting doors. Learn in this lesson how to know which notes to use when building a single Major chord. Start by building the first chord of a Major scale. Complicated? Not with a little practice.

How to Create a Major Chord

Unlock the secrets of knowing which chords to use when writing a song. This lesson will build on the previous lesson. Once you know how to build one chord take the theory and build a full sequence of chords all compatible with each other! Then, you know which chords to chose from when writing a song. Check it out in this lesson.


Building a Chord Progression

Whether for using this music theory to build a chord progression, or working out a scale to create a riff, solo or melody line over this is the lesson you need. Learn the theory of how to build a Major scale in any key here.

How to Build a Major Scale

Exploring standard chord progressions are a great way of learning how various chords work together. Learn here some of the basic chord progressions that have spawned countless hit songs!

Preview 06:51

Many great hit songs use only major chords for some sections - just the chorus, just the verses or maybe even the whole song. And, sometimes those chord combinations aren't exactly compatible according to music theory but still sound great! Check out a few ideas in this brief lesson.


Using Only Major Chords
Writing Lyrics
3 Lectures 10:00

The first lesson in this lyrics series explores rhyming patterns in songwriting. Use Rhyming Patterns to develop richer lyrical flow, or just get new ideas for your own word craft.

Introduction to Rhyming Patterns

Go beyond writing your songs using only rhyming words. Using narrative (spoken word) can be an excellent way to expand your story-telling capabilities in your lyrics. Or it can simply as a cool way to make your songs for intriguing and attention grabbing.

Introduction to Using Narrative

This lesson goes through four lyrical techniques you can use to write better songs. Enhance your skills at writing good lyrics by learning and applying these techniques to write great music.

Lyrics - Techniques 1
Creating Melody
1 Lecture 04:39

Check out our new HD video. This lesson is about using arpeggios to create melody lines. You may need a little theory for this one but if you're a vocalist you should be able to sing along just fine, or maybe with a little practice. All the notes in this lesson are also called 'target notes'. They are great notes to use when creating melodies, scat singing or soloing (start or land on one of these notes and everything will be fine). Plus, this lesson is gives you great warm-up exercises for all instruments and vocalists.

Use Arpeggios to Create Melody
1 More Section
About the Instructor
Robert Prosser
4.1 Average rating
15 Reviews
1,029 Students
3 Courses
B.Cr.A (audio/video), Cert III Media, Cert IV Bus

I have two diverse and specialized skills. I am a very skilled musician... 

I have played in live since 1993 - everything from 5 piece rock bands to acoustic duos and sol. I'm a multi-instrumentalist excelling on guitar and bass. I sing, play keyboard and some drums. In 2010 I graduated from Griffith University with a Bachelor of Creative Arts - Digital Video and Audio Engineering. I have studio, session and teaching experience.

In 2015 I established a small-scale local music festival called K-Blues. It again ran successfully in  2016 on a slightly larger scale. 2017 will mark the third time.

I've been involved in live theater and musicals, including sell-out performances of 'Grease'.

I have been involved in community radio where I became part of the programming committee and soon became 'Program Content Manager'. I had to organize and maintain a database of over 15,000 songs. I also wrote and recorded advertising soundtracks for large corporate organisations. I DJ'd two shows per week - 'Rock's Breakfast Jam' and 'The Nineties - Before and Beyond' a live show centered on grunge music. It centered around how the 90's grunge sound had been influenced from early rock, and how it in turn influenced newer music. For a time I became Vice President of the station.

As some-one who really knows music from a variety of angles, and is an excellent musician, I can provide music courses that are really superior.

Also, I speak good Japanese and use it professionally

I also speak Japanese and work casually for a company who helps Japanese students improve their English. Japanese students arrive in Australia in groups. I host them for a few days, fully providing for all their needs whilst teaching them about Australian culture and teaching them how to use their English in a 'real world' context. The activities engaged in range from video games to sports to bushwalking to cooking to card games - improving their English in a fun and interesting environment. It's rewarding for all involved. And I get to improve on my language skills also.

Hi, please visit and like/subscribe to any of my social media sites. Thank you :)