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Songwriting Workshop

Part Four: Writing The Verses

Experiment with different lyrical styles and poetic approaches to telling your story as you dig in to writing the verses for your original song.

Your First Assignment

  1. Start your own three-line blues verse by thinking about something that gives you the blues, like doing the dishes. You can make your blues about something really silly or something really deep—whatever you feel. The blues often uses humor to work through difficult feelings. Use this exercise as a warm-up for writing your verses for your main song.
  2. Use the following template to write your blues verse:
    • Line 1: Write a statement.
    • Line 2: Repeat the statement.
    • Line 3: Resolve, complete, or answer the statement.

Your Second Assignment

  1. Check out the full versions of the songs that Bridget mentions in the video.
    • Metaphor: Lightwalk by Solo Woods
    • Simile: Blue by Joni Mitchell
  2. Find an example of a metaphor or simile in a song that you know.
    • How does this metaphor or simile work?
  3. Write a simple truth or statement about anything you want that you would like to convey to others.
    • What does this truth make you think of?
    • Do a short brainstorm free-write and answer the five senses questions for this truth.
  4. Create a metaphor or simile for your truth.
    • What is your truth?
    • What is your metaphor or simile?

Your Third Assignment

Select one of the rhyming patterns Bridget discusses, and create a sample verse using your “Worst Love Song Ever” concept. Keep it simple, easy, and fun.

Pattern 1

Line 1: Rhyme Word A
Line 2: Rhyme Word A
Line 3: Rhyme Word B
Line 4: Rhyme Word B

Pattern 2

Line 1: [No Rhyme]
Line 2: Rhyme Word A
Line 3: [No Rhyme]
Line 4: Rhyme Word A

Pattern 3

Line 1: Rhyme Word A
Line 2: Rhyme Word A
Line 3: Rhyme Word A
Line 4: Rhyme Word A

Pattern 4

Line 1: Rhyme Word A
Line 2: Rhyme Word A
Line 3: [No Rhyme]
Line 4: Rhyme Word A

Pattern 5

Line 1: Rhyme Word A
Line 2: Rhyme Word B
Line 3: Rhyme Word A
Line 4: Rhyme Word B

“Worst Love Song Ever” Sample Verse

Line 1:

Line 2:

Line 3:

Line 4:

Your Fourth Assignment

  1. Take a moment to meditate and let your thoughts rest.
  2. Organize your brainstorm ideas for verses 1 and 2.
  3. Now that you have explored how to write similes and metaphors, experiment with the storytelling guide and poetry guide below to see where you can use more creative images and language.
  4. Experiment with rhyming patterns as you complete the two verses for your original song. (If you don’t play an instrument, you can use the backing tracks that Bridget created to write your verses.)
  5. When you are done, answer the following questions about your new verses:
    • In the first verse …
      • How have you conveyed what is happening?
      • How have you conveyed how you are feeling?
      • Do you understand what you want or need in the song?
    • In the second verse …
      • How have you conveyed what is happening?
      • How have you created another layer to what is happening?
      • Do you have a deeper perspective about the message of the song?

Storytelling Guide

Verse 1

Line 1: ___________________________
             Where are You?

Line 2: ___________________________
              How do you feel?

Line 3: ___________________________
              What happened or what is happening?

Line 4: ___________________________
              How do you feel about it or what action can you take?

Verse 2

Line 1: ___________________________
              What do you see, hear, smell, taste or touch?

Line 2: ___________________________
              How do you feel?

Line 3: ___________________________
              Who are you? Where are you going and who is with you?

Line 4: ___________________________
              How do you want to feel?

Poetry Guide

Line 1: ___________________________
              Write a metaphor about where you are or what you see.

Line 2: ___________________________
              Write a metaphor about how you feel.

Line 3: ___________________________
              Write a simile about what is happening, where you are, who you are with,
              or who you are.

Line 4: ___________________________
              Write a simple truth.

Explore Other Parts of the Songwriting Workshop

Bridget plays piano.

Songwriting Workshop | Part One: History, Power, and the Purpose of Music

Discover the different origins and purposes of songwriting, and see how words, melody, and music can affect yourself and your community.

Bridget sits on a bench with her guitar and writes in her notebook.

Songwriting Workshop | Part Two: Inspiration

Try out several different approaches to brainstorming and generating song ideas as you look for inspiration within your life and environment.

Bridget outlines the themes of her song on a whiteboard.

Songwriting Workshop | Part Three: The Chorus

Find the heart of your song and its most powerful moment as you learn how to write a chorus that effectively expresses what you want to share.

Bridget sings and plays guitar.

Songwriting Workshop | Part Five: The Bridge and Completing Your Song

Learn about the purpose of a bridge and figure out if your song needs one before finishing up and reflecting on your journey.

Video Credits

Director of Photography–John Miller.

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