Songwriting Prompts

Songwriting Prompts Image

Over the years, I've participated in a few different types of songwriter groups, where people get together to workshop their material. This past September, I started a new group of my own (affectionately referred to as 'Fury Wrote' ... I'll give you a hint: think 'Mad Max'). For each meeting, I provide an optional writing prompt and at this point, I've assembled a small collection of prompts that I thought might be helpful to share. So please enjoy and I hope these inspire!

  1. Pick up any book or magazine, open it up to a random page and chose the first sentence on that page. Make that the first line of your song.
  2. Choose a song or album at random (shuffle on iTunes or grab an actual CD/record, etc.) and write a song inspired by that style/genre.
  3. Write a song without using any pronouns.
  4. Choose a phone number out of your phone and write a song using the chords from the number. Pick any key. If you want to limit the number of chords in your progression, choose a number with a few zeros. You can decide to keep the chords in the same order or mix it up. For example: 508-243-5454 in the key of C, would be: Gmaj - (skip the 0) - Cmaj - Dmin - Fmaj - Emin - Gmaj -Fmaj - Gmaj - Fmaj
  5. Finish an unfinished song!
  6. Try an online random prompt generator. Some examples include: Creativity Portal and Learn How To Write Songs
  7. Write a song in which the chorus is one verb repeated as many time as you like.
  8. Take an existing song and 'turn it on its head.' It's up to you how you want to interpret that - you can remix it, rewrite the lyrics, rearrange the music, change the style, you name it! But don't be afraid to take it in another direction completely and ultimately create a brand new song out of the exercise.
  9. Write a song in a style (or genre) that is different from what you normally do. For example, if you typically write pop songs, try a ballad or narrative - or go classic rock!