Starting any creative work can be a challenge.
An intro to a book is hard, an opening for a video or movie is even more complicated, and in this instance, a start to a song can have you drawing several blanks for days. It's all about your intention.
Do you want to ease people into your song? Do you want your song's intro to be simplistic, straight to the point, or hard to read? What story will your song be telling? Is the rest of the song idea in your head, or are you starting from scratch?
If you're looking for help with starting a song from scratch, I can provide you with a few tips to help you start your creative process. Sometimes, the hardest part is just committing to starting the process.
If you've already got your song outline down and you need tips on how to start the song in terms of the intro for your official recording process, skip to the next section below.
Step 1: Mentally And Physically Prepare Yourself
Find a good time of the day for writing your song ideas down. Make sure you're in a good headspace for creativity.
Also, be sure that your environment is clear of anything or person that can distract you from your process. Find a space where you can sing, hum, and write in peace.
Related Post: How To Get Into A Good Headspace For A Sad Song
Step 2: Get Your Songwriting Tools
Get any instruments you may use during your song creation process. This may be a guitar, a piano, or an app like Garageband.
Also, be sure to have a digital or physical notepad/journal handy for writing your lyrics down. Check my songwriting tools post for a list of more songwriting tools you could benefit from.
Step 3: Figure Out Your Song's Intention
You might want to keep your writing spontaneous, or you may want to actually set the tone for the meaning behind your song in advance. If you're looking for a more focused topic, begin brainstorming about your song's topic and mood.
Step 4: Play Around With Melodies
Steps 4 and 5 can be interchangeable depending on the way you work best. I like to start my song ideas by recording on my mic with random melodies that come to my head based on the song intention I'm going for.
I record these ideas with gibberish for words, inspired by the songwriter Ryan Leslie's song Gibberish.
Step 5: Play Around With Lyrics
In rare cases, I start my song with a more poetic approach and create lyrical ideas before the melody. If I have a topic in my head that I'm dying to write about, the lyrics will definitely come first.
There have also been a few occasions when I first wrote an entire short story and then created lyrical ideas from that content. This was for my recent concept album.
Related Post: 10 Fun Songwriting Exercises To Get Ideas Flowing
Step 1: Figure Out Your Song's Intention
If your song idea is already done, you likely have the intention of the song already laid out. If your song melody is done but not the lyrics, now is the time to brainstorm and finalize the lyrics and topic you want your song to be about.
Step 2: Play With Ideas That Match Your Intention To Find Your Style
Once you have your lyrics and the song's story, start to match the story with different ideas for the intro.
For example, if your song is somber, you may want to begin with a slow intro that starts simplistic and builds over several seconds or a minute. If your song is fast, consider having a loudly spoken, energetic start to the song.
There are several different styles of intros out there that you can use to find inspiration for your song. You can start your song with just vocals or start it with music.
You can also skip an intro and go straight to your verse. You can hum for your intro or have lyrics just for your intro. You could have a sound effect for your song intro, like a whistle or a phone vibration.
Related Post: Struggling With Song Structure? Check Out This Template
Your intro and outro can be the same thing. You can have a skit played for your intro. You can use a voicemail for an intro. You could start your song with spoken words and finger snaps.
You could begin with the sounds of an audience or crowd. You could start the song with the sound of a lighter flickering and a deep exhale.
The intent of the song will heavily influence your intro style. Be sure you aren't sending mixed signals, and let the listener feel the mood of the song before they hear much of it!
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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