Here are 10 tips to write better music
1.write the hook first
If you can write a solid hook, like a vocal line or catchy melody, the rest of your song writes itself.
That’s why I recommend you focus on this first. When you start a new project, make it your priority to get the main idea nailed down. Everything else becomes much easier.
2. Write around the vocal
If you want to write a “song” instead of a track, it helps to have some reference material in mind, such as a vocal.
Search for acapellas online and use one that you like. This doesn’t have to be in your final production (and shouldn’t be anyway if it’s copyrighted), but you can use it to spark ideas and better arrange your track.
3. copy an existing arrangement
One of the most common struggles I hear from producers is that they can come up with an idea, but they don’t know how to arrange it.
They’ll put down a melody, drum beat, chord progression and bassline. It sounds good. But then they get stuck. They can’t take it beyond that.
My recommendation? Pull a professionally-made song that’s a similar style to the one you’re trying to make, and copy out the basic structure. How long is the verse? What happens after the chorus? Etc.
4. Start with a piano
One of the best ways to write a song that has a strong melodic and harmonic component is to start by making it sound good with just a piano.
If you can do that—chances are it will translate to other instruments well.
It also helps you to focus on the composition and not get distracted by other things like sound design or mixing. You can’t tweak a piano the same way you can a synth, and thus you won’t be tempted to play with sound design while you’re doing the hard work of writing a good melody or chord progression.
5. Keep the focus in each section
Most of us tend to add too much, to overcomplicate, and to make things more complex than they need to be.
But the key to a song that remains interesting and engaging throughout is making it clear and simple. That means that each section should have a focus.
If you have a vocal, that will usually be the focus. Especially in a pop production. But if you have an instrumental drop section, the focus might be your lead or your bass.
Figure out what the most important instrument is in each section of your track, then build around it.
6. Tell a story
The best songs tell a story.
Sometimes that story is different for everyone listening. But if you can put emotion, memory, and a feeling of progression into your song, it’ll probably turn out well.
What do you want your song to reflect? Is there a particular memory or experience that you want to relive through your production? Figure out a way to share it. You don’t need to use words.
7. Optimize tension and release
Electronic music relies heavily on tension and release.
What are you doing to build into the next section of the song? How are you creating excitement? Is there enough energy being built going into the drop? Does it hit hard enough?
All these questions need to be considered if you want to create a song that not only keeps the listener at home engaged, but also works well in a club setting.
Listen to songs on the radio or popular playlists on Spotify, and you’ll notice something: they all sound incredibly simple.
This doesn’t mean they’re simple on the back-end, but the presentation is simple. The vocal is clear. The hook is catchy. The chord progression makes sense. The arrangement is to-the-point.
And guess what? Simple works.
Don’t make your song complex and intricate for the sake of making it complex and intricate, unless you work in a genre that demands that. Simplify. Let your ideas stand on their own. Don’t crowd them out.
9. Assume the listener has a short attention span
Unnecessarily long arrangements will lose you listeners.
Arrangements without enough variation and interest will lose you listeners.
You need to work from the perspective that most of the people listening to your music, whether existing fans or bystanders have a short attention span.
That means your intro needs to engage them straight away. It means you have to be adding and removing elements on a regular basis to create variation. It means you have to optimize tension and release (tip #7).
If you get stuck, follow tip #3 and reference a professionally made track that caters to this problem well.
10. Have fun doing it
It’s easy to turn music production into a boring, mind-numbing grind.
Sure, there are going to be parts of the song creation process that you don’t particularly enjoy but need to work through anyway. But you should still have fun.
If you’re not having fun, the chances of you making a song worth sharing are pretty low. So don’t put too much pressure on yourself, experiment, play around, and enjoy yourself.