How to Write a Song If You Don’t Play an Instrument

If you want to write songs but don’t play piano or guitar, don’t let that stop you. There are plenty of online resources and useful tools for creating tracks to write to or accompany your existing melody and lyrics.  Even if you’re a musician, it’s fun to use some of these songwriting tools to break out of old habits and get inspired.

1. KARAOKE TRACKS – Buy or stream a Karaoke recording and write your own melody and lyrics to the hit song track – just be sure you don’t use any of the lyrics or melody of the hit song. Karaoke tracks are available at iTunes or One of my favorite sources is You can buy the instrumental track without backing vocals.

The karaoke track is copyrighted so you won’t be able to use it to pitch your song but it will give you a fun way to write songs for personal use or you can replace the karaoke track with one from a demo  production studio.

2. PRE-RECORDED SONG TRACKS – You can buy pre-recorded song tracks from and These are laid out in Verse/Chorus form and are available in a range of music styles. Most are fully produced with drums, bass, guitar, etc. There are some limitations on uses so read the FAQ sections. Continue reading “How to Write a Song If You Don’t Play an Instrument”

7 Tips to a Great Vocal Performance

There is no rule that says every songwriter must be a good singer. But, as the writer of a song, you can bring emotional authenticity and insight that a hired vocalist might miss. You don’t have to be Celine Dion or Josh Groban. Many times it’s more about phrasing and presence than hitting the pitches perfectly. Still, you can give yourself some help when writing your song and recording your track with these tips.

1) Figure out the highest note that you sound good on. Then figure out the lowest note. Try to keep your melody between those two notes. Sing your song while your write it and notice when you’re getting too close to your top or bottom notes. You can easily change the melody at that point.

2) Emphasize your strongest vocal notes in your melody. If your high notes are weak, use them as passing notes only; don’t try to sustain them or use them for important words. Continue reading “7 Tips to a Great Vocal Performance”

Respect the Rough Demo

by Robin Frederick

What is a rough demo?

A rough demo can be as simple as a guitar/vocal or piano/vocal recording made on an iPhone. Or it can be as elaborate as a concept for a complete track with drums, bass, vocal, keyboard, and guitar recorded on multiple tracks. Simple or elaborate, to be truly effective it has to convey the essential energy and feel as well as the complete melody, lyric, and chord progression of the song. (See “U.S. Copyright Office” below for demos without chords.)

Why you need a rough demo

> 1. To test your song ideas. One of the most important uses for a rough demo is to record your structure, melody, and lyric ideas so you can hear them as a listener would. When you’re involved in the effort of writing, singing, and playing your song, it’s impossible to step out of your songwriter role. Recording a rough demo allows you to walk away then come back later to listen with fresh ears, as an audience member would hear the song. Continue reading “Respect the Rough Demo”