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!
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