I’ve discovered a sure-fire method that will allow you to write great songs in 30 minues or less.
Here’s what you do (NB I haven’t got all of these absolutely sorted for myself yet. I’m still learning):
1. Start learning music from a young age. It helps to have musical parents, to go to a school where singing is mandatory and to live in a country where free instrumental lessons are available (NB you may need to emigrate before your fifth birthday if you country does not provide such facilities and services. You may also have to change your parents). Time taken:-15 years
2. Spend a decade or two playing other people’s songs. This is a must. Immersing yourself in other people’s music is vital if you’re to get a grip on what makes a song work. After only three or four years playing other people’s songs, your own music will have gone from awful to just about acceptable. Time Taken:- 15 years
3. Learn your instrument – If you’re performing then you’ll need lessons from a pro. This includes singers. Anyone who tells you that lessons will destroy your natural ability or uniqueness is a fool and should not be listened to. Time Taken:- 5 years at least.
4. Study composition and music theory – If you’re lucky/determined enough you can do this at college. Find a course with a good songwriting or composition tutor, the sort of tutor who lets you be yourself, but gives you all the tools to be yourself fully. if college isn’t an option, find more experienced composers and learn from them. Time Taken:- a college course could last two or three years.
5. Write. Compose constantly, always seeking to improve. Keep records of your songs, good bad and indifferent. Demo as much as you can. Seek always to be better, and seek always to entertain yourself as well as others. Time taken:- if you want to do it properly, maybe 5 years.
6. Perform. Get in front of an audience and learn the rhythm, groove and feel that makes a song work. Time taken:- a few years of performances under your belt wouldn’t hurt.
7. Learn all the rules about songwriting, then learn how to break them. Time taken:- decades.
Follow those simple rules, and you’ll be able to turn out decent songs in half an hour, no trouble at all.