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How to write songs on a guitar

How To Write Songs On Guitar


How to teach songwriting skills to guitar students


We are guitar teachers. We earn money teaching the guitar. Thats what we are all about. That is what people pay us for and expect us to do. Its all very simple but if you look a little deeper into the motivation of our students (and ourselves) perhaps guitar teaching is only one of the things that we can get paid for.

Very few people take up the guitar determined that they will never write a song but the reality is that most people who play the guitar do not write songs (or not ones they are prepared to show to anyone else anyway). Songwriting can seem like a bit of a "black art" and the impression can form that the only people who can do it are a select group of artistic and inspired individuals who have the "keys to the kingdom"

The (fortunate) reality is that the technical elements of writing songs (song structure, melody and harmony) are not too difficult for any guitar student who has made it to the intermediate stage (where they can form and move between the eight chords that any beginner should learn first

The remainder of this page is concerned with helping us to help our students to understand enough about how the chordal (harmonic) element of songwriting works that they will not be be intimidated by the whole idea. We start with an introduction to the "Four Chord Trick" in the ("guitar friendly") key of G

Wrinting songs on a guitar

The "Four Chord Trick" in the "Guitar Friendly" key of G


The reason that we use the key of G to introduce beginners to songwriting is that by the time a student is capable of moving between the eight chords that they should learn first in time to a backing track then they are at the ideal stage to start to use those chords creatively to come up with their own music. There is no minimum requirement in terms of skill and technique than this.

I know (and I'm sure you do too) a whole load of really good guitar players who can fly all over the neck of the instrument, spend just about all of their time and money on guitars, have "excellent" musical taste which seems to consist of music made by a bunch of men (and it is normally men) who can play even faster than they can but who nobody else seems to have heard of. They have put the hours in yet they seem reluctant to engage with something as (seemingly) simple as writing a song using just a few well chosen chords

I am not trying to start a fight here and would stress that some of my favourite music is made by men who can play (much much) faster than me but the reality is that most "civilians" (non musicians) are much more impressed by a good song than they are by somebody who can solder the strings to the frets with the heat generated by their hypersonic digits. Record sales figures and concert attendances would appear to lend credence to my statement

Another thing to bear in mind as a teacher is that no matter what the ambition of your beginner student is he or she is not going to get the call from Dream Theatre without many years (decades even?) of dedicated technical and theoretical endeavour during which time they will most probably get sidetracked by work, education, marriage, divorce, kids, jobs, facebook, beer and just about anything else that can eat your life before you have got to live it.

Musical "excellence" is a worthy goal (in fact we have a load of guitar teaching materials aimed at intermediate or advanced players) and I would hate you to think that I'm suggesting that you dont encourage your students to work on the technical and theoretical concepts that will lift them above the herd (thats one of the things that they pay you for) but if guitar teachers pass up on the chance to instill in our students the belief that they can make a worthwhile contribution to original music even at a relatively early stage of what (if it didn't make a little bit of sick come into my mouth) we could call their "guitar playing journey" then we might not be doing our job as well as we think we are

How to write songs on a guitar using easy chords

The "Four Chord Trick" see the student worksheet that you can download in the graphic above which is a great introduction to music theory on the guitar because from the word go the study of theory becomes useful to the student. All too often the study of music theory is tilted too far towards "theory" and not far enough toward "music"

The four chord trick can be divided into three simple steps.........

Step 1: Find the notes of the (G) Major Scale


Help your student to identify and record the notes of the G Major Scale and draw their attention to the concept of "whole-step" (two fret) and "half-step" (one fret) intervals. This is important as all major scales follow the same (W-W-H-W-W-W-H) sequence of intervals so by developing the ability to work out the chords of the "four chord trick" from the notes of the G Major scale they will be doing the preparation for working out the chords in other keys on the guitar
How to write songs on a guitar using easy chords in G

Step 2: Hang Major Chords on the first (root), fourth and fifth notes of the scale



How to write songs on a guitar using best easy chords

Step 3: Hang a minor chord on the sixth note of the scale



Tips and advice on how to write songs on a guitar

Its as simple as that
How to write songs on a guitar using easy chords in G

The above worksheets that come as part of the teachwombat materials all deal with what are generally thought of as being the most "guitar friendly" keys. They are regarded as being that way because to a greater or lesser extent they heavily feature chords that can be played using open strings. Having said that the "four chord trick" in any other key than G will require a player to use at least one bar chord so they do not work as well for a beginner

tips on how to write songs with a guitar

Generally speaking people who write music on guitar tend to gravitate towards the "sharp keys" because they exploit some of the natural features of the instrument but of course the other keys (the flat keys) are every bit as valid and useful in other circumstances (such as playing with brass instruments or individual singers who operate better in particular keys where capos often come into play)


How To Write A Rock Song On Guitar


A video that looks at the chords that a beginner guitarist can use to come up with convincing Rock progressions


The video below looks at how students of the guitar, even in the relatively early stages of their playing can come up with authentic and convincing rock chord progressions using five of the eight chords (A C D E and G) that a beginner needs to learn first



A lifetimes supply of Guitar teaching Resources to help you to earn a living that will probably cost less than you will earn when you teach your first hour long guitar lesson!


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The Kids Guitar Teaching Package


 easy childrens guitar songs-chords
Over forty handouts to download and use in your guitar teaching today. This material is designed to accompany the "Backing Tracks and Handouts Package . All the resources that you need to teach kids to play guitar. Chord Charts, One finger (reduced) chord diagrams. An opportunity to set any young would be guitar slinger on the right path!

The Backing Tracks and Handouts Package


 How To Teach Kids easy guitar songs with Backing Tracks
35 Backing Tracks and more than 80 Handouts. A great resource to help you to teach both rhythm and lead guitar to younger and older players alike The backing tracks are great for helping to develop a good dense of timing


The Guitar Teacher's Toolkit


 How To Teach Kids easy Guitar with songs and chords
100 printable sheets dealing with Open Chords-Bar Chords-Scales- Modes- Blank Fretboard and Chord Grids with an additional Teaching Diary and Business Card Designs

Plus 100 Giant (letter sized) Chord Grids


 How To Teach Kids easy Guitar Chords and songs
You can laminate them in order to help you to teach group guitar lessons, distribute them to your students or just stick on your teaching studio wall? The "Coolest looking Wallpaper on the planet "

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The Bass Guitar Teacher's Toolkit


resources for how to teach kids guitar chords and easy songs
Over 60 Handouts for anyone who already teaches (or who wishes to teach) bass guitar Sheets covering Scales, Chords, Fingering Exercises etc


Over 350 Sheets and 35 Backing tracks to Download and use TODAY!

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