Improve Your Lyrics – Tip #39

Imagine reading your favorite book, or watching your favorite movie. Compare the stories of those to song.

From the start of a book, movie, or song to the end – there is development. Little by little the plot progresses, offering new information to the audience while constantly keeping control of their attention.

No one is going to appreciate redundancy (unless that is what you are going for) in your lyrics by constantly repeating ideas or paraphrasing to avoid development. Instead, you should be focusing on how you can creatively keep the ball rolling and allow the lyrics to mature.

Some ways of doing that are:

  • Adding descriptive imagery in all the body senses
  • Foreshadowing the conclusion
  • Drama/internal conflict
  • Irony and comedic reflection
  • Withholding information till the very end (like a mystery novel)
  • Reversing the situation from bad to good (or vice versa)

…and more!

However, your song may not call for those ways of development. A protest song wouldn’t need much of these besides a strong call to action and ways to act upon it.

In those cases, start by making a list of your ideas from least to most important/strongest. That is how you should make your song develop.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read! Feel free to comment, share, and subscribe for more daily tips below! Till next time.

Author: Bryan M. Waring

Bryan Waring is a graduate of USM's School of Music with a B.M. in Performance – Composition and is now attending Belmont University for a M.M. in Commercial Media – Composition & Arranging. During his time at USM, he studied violin with Dino Liva and composition with Dr. Daniel Sonenberg, as well as has premiered several pieces during the semiannual Composer's Ensemble concert series. In 2017, Bryan was a writer for the original musical theater work of "Molded By The Flow," directed by Paul Dresher and Rinde Eckert. Outside of school, Bryan has been involved with writing music for videogame developers at Portland's CI2 Lab, collaborating with the King Tide Party, and studying with Larry Groupé (Straw Dogs) in San Diego. Now living in Nashville. Along with composing, Bryan teaches music to children, receiving the Master Teacher Award for his work at ESF Camps; and does audio engineering for live ensembles. Besides talents in music, Bryan is a team-player in any competitive work environment; equipped with skills in leadership, organization, mathematics, creativity, communication, and managing. On the side, Bryan has worked as a model for several skilled artists in the New England area. Among his other accomplishments include obtaining the rank of Eagle Scout in April 2013 with a project of building a side parking area with guide rails for Webb Mountain Park in Monroe, CT.

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