How to Figure Out Melodies for your Lyrics | From Songwriters in The 5 in 5 Song Challenge


Sarah Spencer

Melody Writing Tips from Songwriters in the 5 in 5 Song Challenge | Presented by SongFancy

If you don’t already know, the 5 in 5 Song Challenge group is a great place to go get your questions about songwritig answered.

Recently, songwriter Genassee asked the group for their “Tips for figuring out tunes/melodies to go with your lyrics?”

Songwriter Genassee asks, "Tips for figuring out tunes/melodies to go with your lyrics?" in the 5 in 5 Song Challenge group.

And the 5 in 5 Song Challenge community chimed in with great advice!

Here are some of the fantastic melody writing tips the 5 in 5 songwriters shared:

Melinda Kausek says,

“…play with reading aloud various ways and see where the natural accents/rhythms are.

Or maybe set up a simple backing track/chord progression that suits the mood you want to capture and see what shakes out?”

[Psst — Here’s all my favorite recording gear for songwriters!]

Jennifer VanBenschoten shares her strategy:

“Sometimes I’ll speak the words out loud over and over until my mind relaxes enough to let the natural melody of the lyrics present itself.”

Punk rocker Nathan Goodlet suggests a helpful app for finding melodies:

“I’ve been playing with the Klimper App to help me because all my songs start to sound the same so playing with the app to come up with Melodies.”

Here’s what Celine Ellis suggests:

“Listen to music. Actively listen, not just do something while there is music on.

Analyze melodies in your fav songs and songs that are popular. Play chords and sing/hum non words over the progression to ‘feel’ out melodies.”

Krishna Feeney says to

“Take your lyrics for a walk! Don’t over think it, just walk and start saying your words to random melodies and see what happens.”

Long time 5/5er Tony Bowen says

“I’ve heard that Sheryl Crow would write to just bass notes so that the song wasn’t major or minor until she sang what she was hearing.”

Andrea Meacham Rosal recommends walking and talking as well:

“I echo taking it for a walk and speaking out loud — an instructor this summer said to start with an expressive reading — so you can feel how the meaning of what you’ve written has a rhythm to it — then take it for a walk and experiment with different ways to feel the rhythm, different beats — and through that you might start to hear a melody start forming.

We tried it in our class several times, It’s pretty cool.”

Champion 5/5er Savoy Shakir says that

“Whenever I write like this (usually when I’m collaborating with a lyricist) it helps a lot when the lyrics follow a strict syllable pattern; melody flows very easily when you can catch a rhythm with the lyrics.”

Looking for more tips on finding melodies?

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Sarah Spencer

Sarah Spencer is an award winning singer/songwriter based in Nashville, TN.

Born in the Sunshine State, Sarah Spencer writes vibrant, shining americana/pop music. She works in Nashville TN as a singer/songwriter, as well as a UX designer for a marketing firm.

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