Here's a "template" I made up years ago to help me and my piano students write songs. It really works!  (But alas, even the lively Gospel-inspired radio jingle I wrote for McDonalds last year couldn't help them sell their their "Mighty" Chicken Wings!)

Do these steps and you'll have a song:

1. Choose a musical genre (ie: pop, alternative rock, country, hip hop, etc.)

2. Find a lyric in this genre for a song you don't know. (To do this, search Google for lyrics to a song by a singer or band in your chosen genre. Find a lyric to an unfamiliar song by this singer and band.)

3. Write a melody with chords to this lyric.

4. Discard the lyric, but keep your music.

5. Write a new lyric to your melody (or get a friend to write the lyric if you only do music.)

If you do all these steps, you'll have an original song! Since you've used the other lyric as a "template," your song will automatically have a shape and form that's typical of your chosen musical style.

I used this method when I was composing music for companies like DuPont, where they would request certain musical genres. If I wasn't very familiar with a particular style, I'd do this. It really works. Try it yourself!

Take your left hand playing to a new level with my free ebook: Left Hand Techniques for Jazz Piano
You'll also get my weekly jazz newsletter with practice tips and inspiration