Writing a song for a child and encouraging a child to write a song can share a lot of the same steps when it comes to the process. The three keys to child-friendly songs are lyrical simplicity, melodic simplicity, and repetition. Unlike songs geared towards older people, songs for kids are extremely easy to make, which helps the process become very easy and fun for children and adults alike. If you thought the process of making a pop song is too simple, wait until you go step by step through the process of making a song for kids!
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Songs can be made with just your voice and some handclaps, but take the learning process a bit further and involve a simple instrument like a piano, keyboard, drum, xylophone, or digital instrument that the child can easily play. Digital instruments can be found on free DAWs like Garageband and ProTools First.
Start with a simple major key like C major, where the kid can easily play the notes on the scale with little to no help. Encourage the child to create their own melody idea that is completely made up. You'll want to help them hone in on one or two melodic phrases that they choose and like the best, and you may need to record the ideas for you and the child to remember them. One melody phrase can be a verse, and one can be a chorus. If the child is having trouble coming up with their own melody, encourage them to just pick random notes in the scale and watch as they realize that random notes can make a pretty decent melody! It doesn't need to be perfect at all.
Here's where you'll encourage the child to make up a story with a few lyrical phrases that can be turned into a song. Try to help them along by making the words into lyrical lines, encouraging them to find ways to make the lines rhyme. Kids' songs don't need to be that long, especially if you're encouraging a child that is very new to the songwriting process, so start with a simple verse and chorus, or even just a chorus if you want to start even smaller. The important part of the lyric writing process is having at least four lines with a rhyme scheme that will usually be either AABB or ABAB.
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With the help of a voice recorder or DAW like Garageband, or a video recorder, you can record the song the child has created! You may need to help them by playing the instrument as they sing or vice versa. Try to make the kid as involved in the process as possible, so if you have a way to record them several times with a video recording app like Acapella or a DAW, let them do all the takes, including the vocals and the instrument! Again, the final product does not have to be perfect or anywhere close to it. It will sound exactly the way it needs to simply because a kid made it!
Children's songs often have just a few simplistic instruments involved in the recordings, including piano, light percussion, guitar, horns, strings, bells, and bass. Play around with these live or digital instruments with an app like GarageBand or Protools First to get a feel for what type of song you are looking forward to making.
Most children's songs are made in a major key, and it doesn't matter which one you use as an adult. The key of C, G, or F is the easiest place to start if you are a beginner. Play around with your instruments and fish for a melodic phrase or two to use for your song. One melody phrase can be a verse, and one can be a chorus. Try to keep your phrases as simple and catchy as possible so that they can get stuck in a kid's head pretty easily. The chorus section of your song should be the most simple.
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Here's where you will want to find simplistic and helpful lyrics that children can relate to and learn from. Try not to go overboard with the helpful content in the lyrics to the point where they aren't fun for kids to sing along with. Also, don't try to make the song so fun that it's sending the wrong message to kids and their parents. This is a great time to come up with a fun story or phrase that will be educational and entertaining from a child's perspective as well. The important part of the lyric writing process is having at least four lines with a rhyme scheme that will usually be either AABB, ABAB, or AAAA.
With the help of a voice recorder or DAW like Garageband, or a video recorder, you can record the song that you've created! Try to get kids involved in the singing process for your song if you can. It's even better if you can get a variety of different voices like an adult woman, adult man, and multiple children to mimic the vibes of a family sing-along. If you're trying to make a very polished final product, be sure to get your song recorded professionally, mixed, and mastered.
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, features, nursery rhymes, and DJ drops, she currently spends her time engulfed in creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her most recent creative collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest music releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share the music if you like it!
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