Tap Your Creativity - Lyric Writing
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Tap Your Creativity - Lyric Writing

A guide to expanding your lyric writing skills and creativity with a songwriter of 30+ years experience!
4.5 (2 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.
12 students enrolled
Created by Geoffrey Williams
Last updated 3/2017
English
Current price: $10 Original price: $30 Discount: 67% off
5 hours left at this price!
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Includes:
  • 3.5 hours on-demand video
  • 8 Articles
  • 8 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Create your own original lyrics and never experience writer's block again.
View Curriculum
Requirements
  • You'll need a pad and a four colour pen, and a recording device e.g. mobile phone, tablet, mp3 device, cassette recorder, etc.
  • You will also need two or more weekend supplement/ lifestyle magazines
Description

Discover and master how you can stay in the creative flow longer and write better lyrics with an inspirational and practical training for beginner, intermediate and advanced writers.

Learn basic to advanced concepts and skills that you will need to tap your creativity anywhere, anytime and build your ideas into a full blown set of expressive lyrics!

Maximise your creativity with easy to use tools and concepts
Develop your skills for generating lyrical ideas
Organise your ideas by understanding the structure and the role of the sections of a song
Transform your words into meaningful lyrics (meaningful to you and your audience!)

Powerful techniques for writing great lyrics

Through helping you to understand the creative process, this course will help you to boost your creativity and stay in the creative flow longer. From that headspace, you have more creative freedom to generate words, phrases, paragraphs & prose!

As some of the best lyrics are written from a sensory perspective, you will learn a technique to engage your senses and write sense-bound words that create more powerful songs to engage your emotions and your audience.

This training will take you through real time exercises so that you can understand how to take your words and ideas, uncover the story and grow some expressive lyrics right away!

Content and Overview

This course is suitable for beginner to advanced writers because the tips and tools on offer can be used as many times as you like to create new material.

In this course of 35 lectures and 3+ hours of content, you'll learn how to access your creativity in new ways, and go from a blank sheet of paper to a complete set of lyrics that tell a compelling story. Sections 2, 3 & 4, each chapter ends with an exercise so that you can put your newly learned skills into practical use instantly.

You will also learn more about your creative process and how to maximise it; why capturing your ideas is so important; a way to use mind maps for lyric writing and why knowing the reason 'why' you are creating is critical.

It can be hard to come up with lyric ideas for songs. You will learn how to write from a different perspective (like “Whatever Happens” for Michael Jackson), how to collect and use lyrics from a weekend supplement, and how to create words that are sense filled and have poetic imagery. With all these tools, you’ll have something to write about!

Then once you have a fistful of words, what do you do with them? How do you make them into a song? This course will give you a strong foundation in how to structure your song, knowing the roles of each of the various sections (verse, chorus, pre-chorus & bridge), using contrast so you can compose lyrics that have meaning & expression, and make sense from beginning to end.

Someone once said that writing a song is like making a sculpture – you have to find it. When you finish this course, you will be able to find your lyrics anytime. 

Who is the target audience?
  • This lyric writing course is for newbie, intermediate or advanced songwriters who would like to explode their creativity for lyric writing. This course is not for those who are not willing to experiment!
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Curriculum For This Course
36 Lectures
03:28:34
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Welcome to Tap Your Creativity - Lyric Writing
1 Lecture 03:57

Welcome to TAP YOUR CREATIVITY – LYRIC WRITING! This is a course I’ve been wanting to create for a while so I’m very excited to be able to offer it to you!

Of course, words in a song are inextricably linked to melody and rhythm (even if you’re rapping, tone and rhythm are intrinsic to how the lyrics work). So I have integrated melody and rhythm into the lyric writing tutorials for you so that you can see, feel and hear how they are linked and how you can work with them.

Also, I have included a tutorial on one of my favourite looping devices: ‘Loopy’. You do not have to use Loopy or a looping device to make the most of this course. This is a bonus tutorial.

WHAT IS COVERED IN THIS COURSE?

  • How to maximise your creativity and stay in the creative flow for longer
  • Being inspired and staying inspired
  • The intrinsic roles of verses, choruses and bridges
  • How to develop your skills with plenty of practical tools and opportunities try them out
  • Development of song structure
  • Rhyming and rhyming schemes
  • How to put it all together to build your story

If you work through all the exercises in this course, you should never experience creative block for lyrics again. Any time you feel at a loss for ideas, you can choose any relevant exercise or review the course at any time.

You may also like to come back to the exercises with a specific song you want to develop in the future. There’s no limit to the number of times you can do this. This is a songwriting resource for life!


Preview 03:57
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Section 1: Getting Ready
4 Lectures 31:16

PREPARATION

Your preparation for creativity and songwriting is your life - your experiences, attitudes, skill level, background, goals, etc. If you want more ideas, fill up your creativity well - go out and do stuff!!

Take a look at the downloadable Creativity Model pdf.

INCUBATION

This is stage occurs when you are NOT thinking about the needs of your song, doing something that absorbs you fully, such as hoovering, washing up, changing the baby’s nappy, exercise and of course, one of my favourites, sleeping! 

When you’re not actively songwriting, your brain, being the ‘completist’ machine that it is, is solving your songwriting problems without you thinking about it, without you getting in the way. It has time to come up with solutions without the mind interfering! Very important.

INSPIRATION (construction, creation!)

Eureka! The muse has left you some presents!! 

  • Capture all your ideas – ESSENTIAL!
  • Ideas are flowing - allow!
  • Quantity not quality is key 
  • Let all your seeds grow without judgement
  • All ideas are valid. I repeat; all ideas are valid!
  • Even that 'way out' idea!!

Remember: you are in DOING mode, not thinking mode. This is where all ideas, even those left or right field kooky ones, are VALID! This is a time of getting all your ideas out onto the table before you start....

EVALUATION (deconstruction!)(Dun dun deerrrrrrr!)

OK, now question your ideas –

  • Do they work with this particular song idea?
  • Are they any good?
  • Does this idea help to tell the story, express the emotion I’m aiming for?
  • Doesn’t this bit sound like a Justin Bieber track?
  • Does it make any sense?

This is your internal editor. He/she has NO place in the creation stage. The editor’s role is diametrically opposed to the muse. They should be ships that pass in the night!

Seek feedback from self (and/or others)

ELABORATION

This is where you develop the ideas. 

This model is not necessarily linear, it's iterative. That means, for instance, after evaluating your ideas, you may want a solo and you have to practice it or need to research the story that you are writing about (Preparation), or the feel is not right and you have to let it simmer (Incubation) or you need some more ideas (Inspiration).

Test them on an audience and find out if the song stands up on it’s own or needs some further tweaks or renovations!


Creativity Model
10:29

Capture Everything!

I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again… every idea you have is valid, treat it as though it is valid. Once you have emptied yourself of ideas for the song, then question them.

You can use any of the following (and any other) to capture your ideas:

  • iPod/phone/device to record audio
  • Pen and paper
  • Leave a message on your phone (if desperate!)
  • Manuscript
  • Other ways that you know

Remembering of course is a way to capture but the mind shifts and is not as reliable to remember the nuances, unless of course, you have what I call an audiographic memory!!

Preview 02:04

MIND MAPS - What are they good for....(sung to the tune of War by Edwin Starr)!

  • Freeing your mind 
  • This is chiefly an association exercise that can stimulate creativity
  • Create associations that you might end up using for a song
  • Get you in the creative zone for lyric writing

Your job for this exercise is to create a Mind Map of the season you are in right now (if you’re in Summer, choose ‘SUNSHINE’.) 

WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED - Application for lyric writing

  • A topic, preferably a songwriting idea about which you feel strongly
  • Multicoloured pen, coloured pencils or markers
  • Blank page (unlined, helps with the feeling of freedom)
  • An open mind!
  • Uninterrupted 10 mins

HOW TO DO IT

  • USE BLOCK CAPITALS – easier to read
  • Keep your words on the stem (one word per stem)
  • Aim to have the words the right way up as much as possible
  • Use pictures where you can – they say more than words and may stimulate other associations
  • Colour – use one colour per stem layer (e.g. first layer = blue, second layer = green etc.) and rotate the colours as you build your mind map outward 
  • Or use one colour per set of stems
  • Just keep moving, don’t think about it – this is an association exercise
  • You can do it by yourself or with others
  • Remember - ALL IDEAS ARE VALID

Once you have generated your mind map, clash some ideas together e.g.

  • A Summer breeze of light and shade
  • Stormy weather on the radio
  • Lightning strikes and the beetles run (for cover)
  • Ella and Billie are warm in the sun
  • The condor soars over the waves of light

You can pick a topic/ song idea and create a mind map of your own.

How might I then use them to create a song?

  • You've loosened up your mind 
  • You've made associations you wouldn't have otherwise made to stimulate your creativity
  • You might end up using some of these ideas for a song
  • And you are in the creative zone for lyric writing

Use this exercise anytime you want to achieve the above!!

P.S. Check out the Tony Buzan link provided to find out more about mind maps, if you would like to know more.

Mind Maps
17:00

Understand the reason and how important it is to your song's/lyric's success

The Reason
01:43
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Section 2: Be Inspired - Powerful Creativity Tools
12 Lectures 38:49

This is a writing exercise that helps you to see things from a new perspective and very useful as a start point for lyric generation.

  • Choose an object and be that object

  • Comment on the world around you as that object

  • Write down what comes to you in 4-5 line groups/stanzas

  • Like prose

  • You’re not writing lyrics at this point

  • And it doesn't have to rhyme

Have your pen and paper ready! Try a 5 min exercise first but you can time yourself for a  7 min or 10 min exercise

You can use this exercise anytime, any place, anywhere as many times as you like to generate lyric ideas. You might surprise yourself

Enjoy!

Perspectives Part 1
08:53

See and hear how Geoffrey puts music to the words generated from the Perspectives exercise, transforming words into lyrics!

Perspective Part 2: Real Time Experiment!
05:03

Hear how Geoffrey used the perspectives exercise to write a song for the late, great Michael Jackson. Understand how this exercise can be applied to your songwriting. 

Preview 02:09

THE I LIST - instant words!

Expand your lyric generation horizons!

This technique is inspired by the cut up method Williams Burroughs and David Bowie employed to write.

WHAT YOU NEED

  • One, two or more weekend/lifestyle magazines
  • Paper and pen (and scissors if you want to cut them out, glue if you want to paste!)
  • Pick some articles you are attracted to (you can use as many different articles as you like)
  • Find, say, 16 or so lines starting with the word ‘I’ that you really like the sound of e.g. ‘I woke up this morning with a mouth full of chemicals’
  • Choose 4 lines that you like best from what you have chosen
  • Choose another 4, do the same
  • Stick them in an order that you like
  • Use it as the basis for a new set of lyrics!
  • Once you have done this, manipulate the words to your lyrical needs. Garnish then serve!!! 

Check out the links to find out more about the cut up technique. It is a great method that requires time and patience but is very rewarding, as William Burroughs, David Bowie, Kurt Cobain and Thom Yorke have found!

http://www.openculture.com/2011/08/william_s_burroughs_on_the_art_of_cutup_writing.html

http://www.openculture.com/2015/02/bowie-cut-up-technique.html

I List Part 1
01:35

Discover what was generated in the I List exercise:

I don’t know if it’s a new disease
I’ve never seen a case like this before
I believe the danger’s over
I look up and the eagle is overhead


I List part 2
01:31

Hear how a melody can be created for the I List words.

I List part 3
04:13

SENSORY MEMORY EXERCISE

Getting in touch with your senses (sight, sound, feeling/touch, smell, taste) can open up a wealth of material for lyrics

  • Describe an event through your senses
  • Choose an event in your life (not too sad at the moment)
  • What were you seeing?
  • What were you hearing?
  • What were you feeling?
  • Was there a taste that went with that memory?
  • Was there a smell that went with that memory?
Diving Deeper - Sensory Memory
02:45

Write without editing – anything that comes to you – just write it all down under the headings and then give yourself some time at the end to fill in any extra memories under the headings that come to mind. Now you have some great material for your next song.

SENSORY MEMORY

SIGHT (45 seconds  approx) What can you see? Colours, textures, people, things

SOUND (45 seconds approx) What can you hear, what’s in the background?

TOUCH (45seconds approx) What textures can you feel?

FEELINGS (45 seconds approx) What are you feeling?

SMELLS/ AROMAS (45 seconds approx) What can you smell?

TASTES (45 seconds approx) What can you taste?

Sensory Memory Part 2
06:11

The ideas you generate from this exercise could be a springboard for writing a verse, pre-chorus, chorus or bridge, or the background story for a song. It could also be a warm up exercise to get you in the zone for creating sense bound lyrics!

Anytime you have 10 or 15 mins spare, you can sit down with (old school!) pen & paper and mine your memories for fresh material. More tools for tapping your creativity!

Sensory Memory Part 3
04:03

In this audio session, you will learn how to convert your words to lyrics - download the mp3 recording

Convert Your Words Into Lyrics part 1 - Audio
01:18

How to convert your words to lyrics part 2 - download the mp3 recording

Convert Your Words Into Lyrics part 2 - Audio
00:26

Section 2 - Wrap Up
00:41
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Section 3: Song Structure
10 Lectures 01:23:54

This video will help you to understand how folks songs were created using just the voice and memory, and help you to create your own folk song  (which is the precursor to more modern popular music forms like pop music.) We will look at more complex song forms later in this section.

Folk songs of old generally have:

Memorable melodies and words
Memorable, regular & repeatable rhythm/phrasing (sometimes linked to the repetitive work that was being done)
Stories that are easy to follow
Simple acoustic, melodic instrumentation – not chordal
Melodies that suggest/give a feeling of the chords
Real stories/ memories/ imagery
Family stories & important news and events that were passed down
Series of verses with one or more lines repeated in all verses
A repeated line that could be first, last or one in the middle

e.g. Scarborough Fair – the lines “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” as well as “She once was a true love of mine

Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair – the title is repeated throughout the song in first line and the last line with some variation of form

Listen to these songs:

Simon & Garfunkel – Scarborough Fair
Nina Simone – Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair
Blowing in the Wind - Bob Dylan

Now it's your turn to write your own folk song verse/s. 

Add a melody if you can, that you can remember a capella, that is… without chords.

Pick your own title or use/reconstitute one of these below and grow a story:

The day Johnnie Taylor ran away from home
Lemon/strawberry flavour sherbet bombs
You pulled too hard on the string, and I came undone

I chose ‘When my brother planted an acorn and it grew into a tree’ as a title.

I came up with:

We were young and we were dizzy, we ran from pillar to post
And we painted stick men figures, while eating buttered toast
Didn’t know where we were going, didn’t know what we would to be
When my brother planted an acorn and it grew into a tree

You could add some verses to the one above/ generate your own verses from one of your own refrains or one of the titles provided!


The Short History of Song & Grow Your Own Folk Song
09:38

This video will help you to understand how folks songs were created using just the voice and memory.

Folk songs of old generally have:

  • Memorable melodies and words 
  • Memorable, regular & repeatable rhythm/phrasing (sometimes linked to the repetitive work that was being done)
  • Stories that are easy to follow 
  • Simple acoustic, melodic instrumentation – not chordal 
  • Melodies that suggest/give a feeling of the chords 
  • Real stories/ memories/ imagery 
  • Family stories & important news and events that were passed down 
  • Series of verses with one or more lines repeated in all verses 
  • A repeated line that could be first, last or one in the middle

e.g. Scarborough Fair – the lines “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” as well as “She once was a true love of mine

Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair – the title is repeated throughout the song in first line and the last line with some variation of form

Listen to these songs:

  • Simon & Garfunkel – Scarborough Fair 
  • Nina Simone – Black is the Colour of My True Love’s Hair 
  • Blowing in the Wind - Bob Dylan
The Short History of Song
07:35

Now it's your turn to write your own folk song verse/s. 

Add a melody if you can, that you can remember a capella, that is… without chords.

Pick your own title or use/reconstitute one of these below and grow a story:

  • The day Johnnie Taylor ran away from home  
  • Lemon/strawberry flavour sherbet bombs  
  • You pulled too hard on the string, and I came undone


I chose ‘When my brother planted an acorn and it grew into a tree’ as a title. I came up with:

We were young and we were dizzy, we ran from pillar to post 
And we painted stick men figures, while eating buttered toast 
Didn’t know where we were going, didn’t know what we would to be 
When my brother planted an acorn and it grew into a tree

You could add some verses to the one above or generate your own verses from one of your own refrains or one of the titles provided!

Preview 02:03

In this video, we understand more complex song structure, the role of each section and how to use them to tell your story.

Of course, not all songs follow the folk song format with only verses and a refrain. Since chordal instruments were introduced (pianos, guitars, mandolins, ukuleles and the like!) and people became literate and recorded their ideas on paper, both words and music, songs have developed in structure. 

In this session, we look at the function of each part of this more developed structure.

The essence remains the same though… you are putting the song together with an overall view of telling a story, of expressing an emotion.

And then there's the REASON. The reason why you wrote the song, the emotion you are aiming to express is the engine that drives the creation of the song from blank page to beautiful piece. One may not be able to describe what it is exactly but as the writer you need to somehow know what it is. We’ll delve deeper into this in a later session.

Exercise:

List of songs to listen to – what emotion/feeling are these songs aiming to express?

  • Someone Like You – Adele
  • Rolling in the Deep – Adele
  • Stan – Eminem
  • Caught In The Crowd – Kate Miller Heidke
  • Thank You – Dido
  • Love & Affection – Joan Armatrading
  • Life on Mars – David Bowie

Let’s talk about the sections of the song:

Verses
Usually this is where the details of the story you are telling reside.

Chorus
A punch line that sums up what is going on, what's happening in the song.

Pre-chorus
Gives a rise and often tension before the chorus that leads into a release at the chorus. It can also have more information and tell something else about the story

Bridge
You often have 3 parts to a song e.g. beginning - verse 1 & CH; middle - verse 2 & CH; Ending - verse 3/Bridge & CH or different section to go out on.

The bridge is often the emotional high of the song, where the REASON that you wrote the song is expressed in some way through the characters in your song.

A typical order of a song:

Intro (optional)
Verse 1
Pre-chorus (optional)
Chorus
Verse2
Pre-chorus (optional)
Chorus
Verse 3/ Bridge
Chorus or Outro

One aspect that makes these sections flow well is CONTRAST! What happens in each section is in some way contrasting from the previous section. For instance, in Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, the phrasing or rhythm of the lyrics in the verse are different to the pre chorus. (A different bass line and chordal rhythms also punctuate this.) Then the chorus comes in with a different rhythm to the pre-chorus that is similar to the verse. Here the melody is high (contrasting) and goes higher. Contrast is like the glue that can stick your ideas together in a fluid way!

Here’s another listening list – listen to how contrast is used between sections. What happens in the lyrical flow, the phrasing, the melody?

  • Billie Jean - Michael Jackson
  • Crazy – Gnarls Barkley
  • Life on Mars – David Bowie
  • We Are The Champions – Queen
  • Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell


Song Structure
07:09

In this audio session, you will learn the difference between the chorus and the reason. The article goes with the audio.

The Chorus v The Reason - Audio
00:24

Use lyrical phrasing to convey the meaning and feeling of your song.

If your words don’t fall in the same way you speak, when you sing it, the listener will fail to understand the meaning or feeling you want to express! YIKES!

Make sure your words fall in all the right places and in the right way.

Am I being specific enough?!

Reference: Pat Pattison's many books of lyrics

Preview 02:14

Watch how it's done and try it for yourself!

e.g. I believe the danger is over, ‘cos the night let go of the day
And I watched the sun explode the light into shards of silvery grey

The most important words are emphasised when spoken and when sung. And so it should be! And within each word the most important syllable is emphasised e.g.:

explode is exPLODE not EXplode. It needs to be just how we say it when we speak.

The lyrics will have natural emphases, a natural rhythm and it will have some natural melody to use as a springboard. If the emphasis falls uncomfortably, your song will be in trouble from the start!!

Take two lines or more from one of your ideas generation exercises and try it out for yourself! Record yourself reading the words in rhythm. I know it’s a bit weird but you’ll be able to hear whether or not you’ve got it! You may even hear a natural melody that you can use as a start-point!


Lyrical Phrasing - Words to Melody: Real Time Experiment!
08:53

Oops…no need for a link!

OK, so you’ll need contrast for these experiments!!! Whatever you come up with for the chorus phrasing, the verses need to be different somehow - shorter or longer phrases, more or less words, starting the phrase in a different place in the bar, different spacing between words/phrases, etc!

Remember we are in the trial and error phase – let your ideas flow and be open. Have fun, leave room for fun. I’ve found that ideas flow most when I’m leaving room for nonsense!

Here are some chorus lyrics to choose from:

It's The One Day
It's the one day
Could be Tuesday
It's the one day
Let your soul say
It's alright

1000 Ideas
Got a thousand ideas
And I can't complete one
Can't you see I'm going nowhere
Won't you gimme some

Apart From That
Apart from that, apart from that
Apart from that, everything is great
(I've already written Verse 1 on the video, continue from there!)

Somehow
Somehow everything will work itself out (repeat 2 or 3 x)

Here are some 'Make Your Own Chorus' titles to choose from:

The Sea Is A Roaring Lion
Your Love Is Crackling Fire
Shouting At The Moon
Silver Shoes
The Wind Is A Howling Wolf

Sense the rhythm of the words, choose one that works for you.
Optional - write a melody (words can become lyrics when a melody is added)
What does the chorus mean?
What’s the story?
How can the verse tell the story suggested by the chorus?
What’s your chorus doing in terms of phrasing?
Is the chorus fast or slow moving?

For lyrical contrast,  focus on phrasing. Is it a quick fire lyric?  Is it a lyric with slow long syllables? Focus on the length of space in between words/phrases.

Check out the finished song of Apart From That on mp3. The lyrics are also attached!


APART FROM THAT’… FINAL SONG by G Williams & G Williams © 2016

VERSE 1:

I lost all my money in the crash of 2059
I thought I’d won the lotto number but had a 6 instead of a 5
My wife ran away with the gardener and took all the gardening tools
I’m sitting out here on my own with a few too many weeds to pull

PRE CHORUS: I better go back to school

CHORUS:

Apart from that, apart from that, apart from that, everything is great

VERSE 2:

Now I’m sitting in a worn out classroom with the yout(h) of 2063
They’re doing quantum algebraic breakdowns and none of it relates to me
When I was rich, I bought a brain card that gave me superhuman powers
They didn’t make it water resistant beyond 7000 showers

PRE CHORUS: I better get myself a job

CHORUS:

Apart from that, apart from that, apart from that, everything is great

VERSE 3:

I found a glitch in the matrix went back to 2052
Changed every one of my share options, wouldn’t you do that too?
Hired a concrete mixer, concreted the whole back yard
My wife’s looking younger than ever and now I only take a bath

PRE CHORUS: But I don’t like baths

CHORUS:

Apart from that, apart from that, apart from that… everything is great!

Here's a Chorus, Write a Verse: Real Time Experiment!
13:21

See and hear how a chorus can be generated from a verse and grow your own!

Here are my sample lyrics from an I list:

I believe I can persuade them to accept this
I can’t imagine her sending troops to help in Vietnam
I know exactly what I’m going to do
I have never felt any transition from childhood
I am also a landscape, as well as a still life
I am sitting right by the door
I like the glitter of the silver and the sparkle of the glasses

From which I created:

I like the glitter, the glitter on the water
I like the sparkle, the sparkle of the sun
I know exactly, exactly what I’m going to do (do)
I can persuade them, I know exactly how it can be done

I'm looking for a good rhythm out of the first line, as well as a good thing to begin, something with meaning, something that provokes a story and, ultimately something that feels good. Here's a list of what you can do when creating your own:

1) Choose your own lyrics from one of your lyric generation processes e.g. I List, sensory memory, perspectives, mind map etc

2) Read them through out loud, find the rhythm of the speech and make sure the emphases are in the right places.

3) These words may inspire you to change a few words to make the rhythm and phrasing work better, become more regular; to add the meaning or expand on the story

4) Have your capturing device on recording! Listen back - do you like what you hear? Might take a little while to get it right or not!

5) Find a melody you like, using the natural melody in speech as a springboard (where the natural melody rises and falls, exaggerate – it should indicate a melody)

[6) I would then find a countermelody (just for flavour) and loop it!!]

7) Employ the rule of contrast to decide whether your chorus will be: fast or slow, high or low or a combination making sure that it contrasts with the verse

8)  You may have a line that you repeat and vary e.g.
line, line, change, line or
line, line, line, change

Make sure that whatever you choose to say at the last line of the chorus is important and packs a punch as it is exposed. As a result, it has a spotlight on it - make that moment count!


Here's a Verse, Write a Chorus: Real Time Experiment!
18:00

See and hear how contrast is used to create a different chorus from the same verse idea and try one yourself!

Last time we had a long, open noted chorus. Let’s try something different!

Remember, you are aiming to create a noticeable contrast to the verse. You can focus on the speed of lyrical phrasing, spacing of words, different rhythm and also pitch when coming up with a melody. And you can change the chords for the chorus too.

When you get to it, creating countermelodies can really add interest and convey emotion in your song.  They need to be simple and compliment the main melody they are supporting. Don’t make them too bossy/strong or your chorus will collapse under the weight!

‘Gobbledygook' can be one of your best friends, especially when writing melodies! It's important to let yourself go, get into the feeling of what you're doing, press record on your recording device, open your mouth and let it out!

You may often hear syllables that feel totally right, that are looking for a word to give them more meaning! It’s a great starting point for lyrical and emotional connections for your chorus or verse ideas.

Here are the verse lyrics again:

I like the glitter, the glitter on the water
I like the sparkle, the sparkle of the sun
I know exactly, exactly what I’m going to do (do)
I can persuade them, I know exactly how it can be done

Download the verse idea (melody), then write one or two choruses.

Or create your own verse, or use the one from the exercise before, get the phrasing to sit well, work with the rhythm, work with the natural melody of speech to inform the melody for the song, create a countermelody, put chords to it if you want to - same as the verse or different.


More tools - A Different Chorus: Real Time Experiment!
14:37
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Section 4: Diving Deeper Into Song Structure
4 Lectures 23:04

A different way to use your sensory memory exercise to get to the heart of what your lyrics are really saying.

You will need the words from your Sensory Memory exercise. If you haven’t done one already, do one now! Grab a timer and set it for 15 minutes. Come back when you've done it!

OK, welcome back!

Read through your sensory memory writing

Reduce what you have to 50 words. Keep the meaning and vibrancy (take 7 minutes)

Further reduce it to 16 words (5 minutes)

Can you now sum it up in one word? (2-3 minutes)

Which one of those really summed up your writing in a powerful way?

This exercise can help you to uncover the emotion/reason behind what you’ve written. It’s like getting the chorus or the bridge, the punch line or outlining WHAT is going on.

The REASON for your song!

In the example I gave, I could have used ‘butterflies’ as the idea for the chorus and ‘terrified’ as the feeling to convey for the bridge.

Distillation
08:15

Understand how to use different points of view to express the emotion of your song.

Point of View
03:12

Create a beginning, middle and end to keep you and your audience listening from the first word to the last.

Story Arc and Song Development
09:00

Understand rhyming and rhyming schemes and how to use them effectively in your song.

Rhyming Schemes and Rhyming
02:36
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Section 5: Wrapping It All Up!
2 Lectures 06:44

Assemble your song making sure your story is told and the emotion is expressed.

Remember:

Your story arc, the beginning, middle and end. Does your story develop throughout the song?The role of Verses, Choruses & Bridges
Make sure your point of view supports/enhances your story?
Phrasing and emphasis - Let your lyrics follow the natural phrasing of your speech
Let your melody support/enhance the meaning of the words
Let your story flow and make sense
Play it to people, test it out, get honest feedback
Don’t be afraid to edit it after feedback! This may make your song even better than you had imagined.
Does your song express what you want to say?

Listen to these songs, hear how the stories unfold:

  • Rehab – Amy Winehouse
  • Eleanor Rigby – The Beatles
  • Stan - Eminem
  • Caught In The Crowd - Kate Miller Heidke
  • Both Sides Now – Joni Mitchell
  • Waiting For The World To Change – John Mayer
Finishing Your Song
06:03

Use this resource at any time, however many times you like, to write great song lyrics. I'd love to see and hear your creations - post them up on Soundcloud and send me the link! 

Salut Maintenant!

The Wrap Up
00:41
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Bonuses!
3 Lectures 21:17

A dedicated tutorial for how I use a capturing/recording app called 'Loopy' for iPad, iPod or iPhone.

Loopy
19:25

Extra Loopy information!

Loopy Extra
01:08

Alexandra Avenue lyrics

Velvet gold floral paper in the corridor
Kitchen Lino kept the damp away
Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell on the radio

All my mum's china treasures on the mantle
Curries cooking for the boy next door
I'm thinking how you sheltered me from the cold

I remember you, do you remember me
Alexandra Avenue
Yes I used to live, yes I used to live in
Alexandra Avenue

And the world keeps turning
And the world keeps turning

I was a little boy full of melody and colour
Seeing things that no-one else could see
The radio and I were inseparable

Night terrors from the lodger down the hallway
Creeping through a crack in the wall
I begged my mum if she could cast a spell of her own
Desmond Dekker, Jimmy Cliff on the stereo

I remember you, do you remember me
Alexandra Avenue
Yes I used to live, yes I used to live in
Alexandra Avenue

And the world, yes the world
Yes the world, yes the world keeps changing
Wish the world, wish the world
Wish the world, wish the world didn't change... 

Wish the world, wish the world
Wish the world, wish the world didn't change

But the world keeps turning
Yes the world keeps turning

Alexandra Avenue - song & lyrics
00:44
About the Instructor
Geoffrey Williams
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12 Students
1 Course
International singer songwriter, teacher, producer, performer!

Geoffrey Williams - a singer songwriter with a career spanning over a quarter of a century; a loop artist rarely seen out without his loop pedal creating endless spontaneity in his one man shows; a teacher of 13+ years experience lecturing in songwriting in the UK and Australia, currently at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA), University of Melbourne.

Career highlights include:

  • - writing for artists such as Michael Jackson and Dusty Springfield,

  • - 5 albums on major labels such as Atlantic Records and EMI,

  • - playing at Wembley ArenaLondon Jazz Cafe, UK and Montreux Jazz Festival, Switzerland

Geoffrey has a Masters in Modern Music Education & Creativity, leads three choirs and teaches contemporary voice.

He has also been a regular contributor to Roland Corps blog with his 'Creativity is Everywhere' series.