You might think you can write a song on the spot in minutes. Have you ever been having fun with friends and came up with a beatboxed beat and some lyrics that really flow well with a melody you’ve come up with on the spot?
You might be thinking, “Hey, I made a song in minutes!” and feel like that’s all that was involved in the process of truly making a song. But if you are an artist, you will quickly realize much more goes into the process of completing the song.
Depending on how fast you are with coming up with melodies and lyrics, this process can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 years.
On the one hand, some people tend to overthink the songwriting process and make revision after revision to the point where they are never able to complete their ideas.
Overthinking can be a good thing, and putting in weeks or months into the songwriting process isn’t a bad idea, especially if you have deep lyrical content that you really need to put a good amount of effort into.
On the other hand, particularly in simplistic genres like pop and hip-hop, a song can really be done in a matter of minutes.
These types of songs don’t need a lot of thought, although it is a common misconception that you don’t need a lot of skill to write a pop song or hip-hop hit.
There’s true art in coming up with a simple, catchy, and unique song.
You may be able to come up with a hook and verse on the spot, but you might want to take some time to figure out what the final structure of your song will be.
Will you come in with the verse first, or will you have the chorus come in first? Would you like to have an intro and outro section in your song? A bridge? A breakdown?
The process of making the song structure idea can go pretty fast, like an hour or less, but make sure you keep in mind that you need to finalize it.
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If you’re creating a song that will have more than just one instrument accompanying you, there will have to be a lot of time invested into your song's instrumentation or beat.
If you're getting a custom beat made, the producer might want to put around a week's worth of time into making it.
If you're buying or leasing an already-made beat, it will only take you about a day to find a good one. If you’re doing genres closer to rock or jazz, you will need to take the time to hire professional musicians and get them to all be able to do a recording session together.
The process won’t be as long as finding outside musicians if you have a band. Either way that you go about it, on average, the process of recording instrumentation will take about a week to a month to organize and put together.
If you’re in a band, this can be combined with the time it takes to record the instrumentation. A lot of genres allow you to be able to record the instrumentation and vocals all in one go, especially if you’re going for a live recording type of vibe.
If you’re going to be recording separately from the instrumentation, it shouldn’t take you that long once you are able to book the studio time. Recording vocals for a song usually takes about 1-5 hours max.
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Once you have a full rough copy of your recording, you will then need to go through the mixing and mastering process with an experienced audio engineer.
Engineers can be very busy people, but once they have time to get to your project, it can take anywhere from a day to a week to complete the mixing and mastering of your song to take it to professional recording quality material.
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Songwriting is a complex process that involves much more than just coming up with a beat and some lyrics on the spot. Depending on your speed and approach, writing a song can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 30 years.
While some people tend to overthink the process, others can create a song in a matter of minutes. However, regardless of how long it takes to write the song, you will need to put some thought into the song structure.
You will need to determine the order of verses, choruses, and other sections of the song, such as the intro, outro, bridge, or breakdown.
If your song requires multiple instruments, you will also need to invest time into the instrumentation or beat. This can involve creating a custom beat or finding an already-made one, hiring professional musicians, or recording with your band.
Once you have a full rough copy of your recording, you will need to mix and master it with an experienced audio engineer, which can take a day to a week, so keep all of these little intricacies in mind!
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As a session singer, writer, and producer that has worked with over 200 clients to provide high-quality jingles, singles, and features, Yona spends her time creating and marketing new music and helpful resources for creators. Her recent collaborations include work with PBS Sound Field, Tribe of Noise, and the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Check out Yona’s latest releases on her Spotify, her Youtube and share if you like it!
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