Worship songs are one of my favorite types of music to write, sing, and produce for. There's nothing like having a spiritual connection perfectly paired with the blessing of music. When it comes to writing religious songs, you may want to consider taking a different approach than you would with secular music.
With worship songs, I find that going through the songwriting journey very slowly and intently creates a great experience while I write, and makes for a very emotionally charged performance once I sing my final product.
Here are a few tips that I want to share with other songwriters out there who are trying to put their best foot forward when it comes to writing a worship song. I hope you enjoy the process as much as I do when I write gospel tunes!
To get your creative juices flowing in the right direction, why not start with a moment of prayer before you start your songwriting process? I find that a prayer that includes a moment of meditation, gratitude, and the willingness to receive the right message for your song can do wonders for your mindset.
It also won't hurt to pray for a spirit of confidence in your writing process, as well as a prayer that the words you choose to focus on for your lyrics will be able to help all the listeners that will hear your final product.
What will the mood of your worship song be? Are you going to focus on a moment of happiness, or a moment of pain for your lyrics? Will you cover aspects of celebration, or will the focus be on the need for strength and guidance?
Will you create a song that is lighthearted and appealing to younger listeners, or will the tone of the song be for a mature audience that will be able to relate to the complicated emotions in your music?
Are you going to have a track that will work well in a moment of relaxation and peace, or will your song be more appropriate for upbeat and fast-paced lyrical delivery?
Once you get a feel for what you want to do with the tone of your song, you can start to get a feel for the melodic and lyric ideas that will be appropriate for you to go after, depending on your overall vision.
When you know your tone and vibe for the track, you can take a look at the style you want to go for with your worship song next. There are almost limitless styles and genres you can go for when creating a religious song in the modern world.
Your worship song can have soulful and gospel influences, or it can have more folksy and singer-songwriter vibes when you start your creative process. You could have a rock ballad in your head, or you could be going for a more traditional and classical approach to your son.
The lyrics for your worship song will be the most critical part of the whole process, so you want to take your time with this part of the journey. The more deep and personal your lyrics are, the more they can really resonate with you and the listener.
There are so many good passages in the bible that people pass over in favor of more popular phrases that can be found in well-known psalms and overused new testament sections, so don't be afraid to dig deep into the word of God and find something unique to focus on for your song.
Worship songs that are truly effective often have very simple melodies for the hooks, verses, and other song sections. Sometimes, simple works really well when it comes to emotional involvement. For worship songs, complex rhythms and harmonies may not be necessary.
While you may want your lyrics to go deep and possibly be complex, a simple melodic line that musicians and non-musicians alike can digest into their ears and hearts can make for a great choice in religious music.
Your melodic flow, rhythmic flow, and lyrical delivery will stand out the most for the chorus, also known as the hook in your worship song. A great worship song can have a hook that will be able to repeat over and over in your brain long after the song is done.
The simple melodic line can be reserved for the vocal part, while it may still make sense to get jazzy and complex with your chord structure and ornamentation when it comes to the other instruments.
Adding very flavorful chords and a myriad of emotionally resonant instruments like the guitar, piano, and strings can take a worship song to the next level when it comes to how the music hits your soul. A deep journey in a chord progression can reflect your deep love for God.
Some of the best worship songs are the ones that are over four minutes in length. When you really get into a moment where the music hits your spirit, a song that is three to four minutes long can feel like it's robbing the listener of the overall musical experience.
If you're trying to create a radio-friendly lead single that is also a worship song, consider having a radio version and an extended version. Your music fans will thank you when you perform the extended version live and get them in the spirit of worship that seems to have no limits.
After you've created one of the most riveting worship songs of all time, don't lessen its power with a title like "Love" or "Glory". Invite your potential into the intense spiritual experience that your song will provide with a title that stands out.
I'll admit it; I often fall victim to having a boring song title. Songwriters often play it too safe when it comes to titles. We want their title to be easy to remember, easy to google, or easy to hear in the song, usually the song's hook.
There's nothing too wrong with creating those safe and boring song titles, but you want to jump out of the box with your ideas every once in a while to come up with catchy song names. Or you can go full risk and make all your song titles creative!
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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