How to write songs if you do not play an instrument!

In this blog, I am going to be guiding you through the task of writing a song without knowing how to play an instrument. Yes, you can still write songs and forge your career even if you do not play an instrument. Jim Morrison from The Doors did not play an instrument. Both Alanis Morissette and Elvis did not play an instrument at the start of their careers either.
What I first and foremost want you to do is grab a pen and a piece of paper and write down some of these ideas that I am going give you here right now.

Go away and write some lyrics or poetry about a subject that you feel strongly about. Whatever that may be. Generally we write about relationships or something that has happened in our lives that we want to express. Write about it. It doesn’t need to rhyme, it doesn’t need to make sense but just get it down and get a basic idea. Start writing lyrics wherever they may be. Write one line on the train, two lines coming home. Whatever it is. Put pen to paper. Soon you will put it all together and you will have a song.

Song Structure. Let’s start with the first important component of the song, the ‘verse’. A verse will tell the story of the song and contain a bulk of the lyrics. Keep your phrasing and line length generally even or around the same length in your verses. When you are starting to sing and structure your songs, keep your melody jumps in the verses smaller. We want to save these bigger hooks for the chorus. The chorus wants to emphasize the main point of the song, whatever that may be. Let’s keep that simple. Let’s keep it short to start with. I also want you to have bigger melody jumps when you start getting to the chorus.

Again, let’s use the song “Let it be” as an example.

When I find myself in times of trouble
Mother Mary comes to me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be
And in my hour of darkness
She is standing right in front of me
Speaking words of wisdom, let it be

As you can hear, it contains a bulk of the lyrical content and story in the verse. The chorus is:
Let it be, let it be
Let it be, let it be
Whisper words of wisdom, let it be

“Let it be” repeated over again, very simple and just repeating over again but it’s a fantastic song. It’s probably one of the best songs that have ever been written. That gives you an example of some basic songwriting there that you can do without an instrument.

With your song structure, you can also make it a little bit fancy. If you want to put a bridge in, you can do that. They are generally eight bars long and introduce something different to the rest of the song. If you were to liken it to a meal, you’ll have an entrée (the verse), a main (the chorus) and you’ll have dessert (the bridge). A bridge usually uses a new cord progression and is three quarters of the way through the song.

This is art. You can do whatever you want with songwriting. Sometimes a song comes out great and sometimes a song comes out not so great. That is fine! There are no rules besides being in key. So, please never throw away a song. You may want to use that verse or that chorus in a different song, somewhere in the future. You may also want to put one, two or three songs together. Maybe songs that you don’t quite like, you may want to chop them up and put those together. There have been some very famous songs that have being created this way. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen was one of them. ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is basically three different songs put together as one to make it a complete song. And so is ‘Paranoid Android’ by Radiohead, ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ by Guns N Roses has two songs put together. So please never throw away a song.

Practice your art.
This is very important. Practice makes perfect. You can structure your song however you like. There are no rules to songwriting. You can make this song as short or as long as you like. There are Beatles songs that clock underneath two minutes. They have the verse and then the chorus and then have another verse and then a chorus and that’s it. ‘Hide your love away’ does exactly that by the Beatles. If you want to make it longer you can extend it. You can have two verses and a chorus. You might want to have two verses and a chorus, two verses and a chorus, a bridge, two verses and a chorus and two choruses to finish. That’s if you want a song over six-minutes. It’s totally up to you, I recommend starting off with having shorter songs between 3-4 minutes.

Watch the 5 minute singer video in relation to this blog here…

Hope that has helped you out! If you have any questions that you would like answered please email myself on and I will be sure to write a blog for you in the very near future!

Peter Vox