"Dear Band Aid, I have a songwriting question. I can easilly come up with a few lines of little ditties in my head but then I cant turn them into full songs. What should I do." -Jane in Narberth, PA
don’t fret, Jane, because this is something that happens to every newcomer to the songwriting game! actually, the hardest part of songwriting is coming up with the little “ditties” (or “hooks” as they’re called in the biz), so if you’re already able to do that, you’re in pretty good shape. that is the one thing of songwriting that can’t really be “faked”. it’s gotta come naturally. but turning those hooks into songs is something that just takes practice. when starting out, i’d recommend keeping your songs as simple as possible. whatever song element comes into your head (be it a chord progression, vocal line, rhythm, whatever), just make a little song entirely out of that thing (maybe just repeat it a few times). don’t worry about creating a “verse/chorus/bridge” for it. use what you have and build on that bit. and if nothing is coming to you, just bang on the guitar/bass/keyboard/voice until you hit something that sounds good! it won’t really be a full-fledged “song”, maybe just a “sketch”, as it could be very short and not have much structure. BUT after you do this for a while, you will probably have learned a bit about your own style, how you make the pieces fit together, maybe you’ll even be able to string some of your sketches together into full-blown songs! and i have also noticed that, often times working on a sketch, and just spending time listening to it over and over, will lead me to think of new hooks that can fit with the sketch, and BOOM, i’ve got a chorus part! it is a little different for everybody, but i don’t think there’s any special secret to learning how to turn a song idea into a song — it’s simply a matter of putting in the time and effort! but a lot of times, if you really love songwriting, it doesn’t even feel like work! hope that helps.