Turning a Poem Into A Song | Part 2


Heather G.: Want to learn how to turn a poem
into a song? Then you’re in the right place. This is part two in this series of two videos. The first one showed us how to go from a poem
to lyric. In this video, we’ll take that lyric and set
it to music. If you missed the first video, check it out
here then come back and take the lyric you just created and we’ll set it to music. Heather G.: Hi, I’m Heather Greenslade from
Singer Songwriting School. For the best tips on songwriting, subscribe
to this channel and hit the bell so you’re notified every Tuesday and Thursday when I
post a new video. If you’ve got your completed lyric and you
just don’t know how to set it to music, you’re not sure how to make that effectively happen,
well, by the end of this video you’ll have your answer. I have done this so many times and helped
other people do it countless times. If I can do and if they can do it, I know
you can too. Keep watching. Heather G.: The first thing we need to do
in order to get this song rolling is to choose a chord progression that we’re going to use
for the verses. Now, if you think that that sounds like a
really daunting thing to do, trust me, you’re making it way harder than you need to. Go check out this video right here and ease
your nerves. I ultimately decided to go with A minor, C
major, G major, and F major. Just in four beats in a measure. Just strumming a simple pattern. Heather G.: Ultimately I decided that I wanted
to just use a capo and bump it up a couple of frets, just because I wanted to sing a
little higher than the melody seemed to be naturally following when I was humming along. The capo just makes you be able to sing a
little higher. Don’t overthink it. Throw one on if you want to sing a little
higher. So, the next thing I have to do is come up
with that melody line. We have a lot of choices. We could either sing kind of the same note
the whole time. So, let’s say I just sing this note. (singing)
Heather G.: There are actually a lot of songs that just sing one note throughout the verse. It sounds interesting because you’re changing
chords underneath. Taylor Swift does that a ton. Maroon 5 has at least a couple of songs where
they’re just singing two notes. Say we did this. (singing) Or I could go (singing) I have my
arc go up or I could do the opposite start. (singing). Or I could go up for a while. (singing) So you just have to choose what
sort of arc do you want in your melody line. It’s … it really is that easy and if you
have a ear for music, you don’t even have to really worry about what notes those are. If they sound great with the chords, sing
them. Heather G.: I decided to just sing a little
cluster of notes. They’re going to be right around here somewhere. I’m just gonna sing the first two lines in
the verse until I like the way that they sound. Then, since I’ve got a four line verse, I’m
probably just gonna make those similar melodically. So I’m gonna sing those two lines and then
sing the same melodic form again. Then I’ve got another four lines of that verse. I’m just gonna repeat the melody. Then, when that last verse comes in, I already
know the melody. I just have to sing the words. I know because of what I did in the last video,
that the rhythm of those lines will fit. I made sure last time. No big deal. I’m just gonna sing til I like what comes
out. (singing)
Heather G.: That’s my melodic line. (singing) I’m just going to do that in every
line in the verse, easy to nail it out. I’ll play the whole song for you at the end
of this video so you hear how it all happens. Heather G.: Okay, so it’s time for the pre-chorus. My pre-chorus is only two lines and I’ve decided
what I’m going to do is play the last two chords of my verse structure. When my verse finishes I will have just played
… so I played the A minor, C, G, F. I’m going to play the G again and the F again
and that’s going to be my pre-chorus. It’s a really short section. You want to build intensity with your pre-chorus. You’re leading up to the section of your song
with the most energy and that’s your chorus. One way to do that is to sing a little bit
higher pitches. That’s what I’m going to do. I was singing around here. Those are pretty much the notes in my verse. (singing) I’m just going to go a little higher
on that first chord. (singing). The next chord when I get to the F. (singing)
So that when I get to the chorus I can go (singing) and that’ll be the … we’re gonna
work with this theme, building intensity by upping pitch. (singing)
Heather G.: For the chorus, I’m kind of building off themes here. I’m gonna take two chords from the four chord
progression that I used for the verse. But this time it’s going to be the G and the
A minor. I’m still gonna play each chord for two bars. Another thing you can do when you switch sections,
to really change it up or build intensity, is to switch how often you change chords. I didn’t do that this time, but that’s always
a good strategy. So, I went from the pre-chorus (singing). Now I’m going (singing)
Heather G.: Then, so … I whoop. Now I’m going to bring it down. I’m going to pull back a little bit just in
how I’m singing it because I wanna draw attention to this line and since I’m already at my highest
notes and at my loudest notes, the only way to bring attention is to get quiet. So, if you ever noticed a teacher in a classroom
full of super loud kids, if she starts yelling, nope, lost cause. No one’s listening. They’re all yelling too. But if she just gets this look on her face
and gets real quiet, all the sudden the room will get still. So that’s what we’re going to do with this
line. After my last one (singing) So I brought the
… I sort of … I started here and I kept it here, the intensity, for a while in the
verse and then I drew it back down. Now that I’ve brought it back down, we can
go into our next verse. Heather G.: All we have left is the bridge,
then we just throw all the pieces together. I was looking at the lyrics of the bridge. The lyrics of the bridge are ultimately pretty
sad. So I’m going to go minor and I’m going to
throw in … the bridge is the relief. That’s another word for it. Everything’s been really similar. I broke it up to make it not too similar because
I change where the pitches lie within the scale. I changed up which of the chords we were playing,
but this is the time to really just ah, step away for a second. I’m going to throw in this E minor chord. Ah. It’s going to be E minor and A minor. I’m just gonna play the bridge totally in
minor because it’s sad. I’m gonna sing one note the whole time. I haven’t done that yet. I’m gonna do that trick of just singing one
note, but the very end of the bridge I’m gonna go high to lead into the next chorus. For the most part, I’m going to just sing
one note. (singing)
Heather G.: I think that’s what I’m gonna do with the bridge for now. Now we have all of our pieces all put together
and we just need to line them up in order and record the song. Was there a choice that you saw me make in
writing this song that you thought, “Oh. I would’ve done this or that instead.” Let me know. I’d love to hear your insight. If you like this video, let me know by liking
it below, subscribe to my channel, and share it with anyone that you think would find it
helpful. If you found it helpful, comment “helpful”
below. Happy writing.

10 thoughts on “Turning a Poem Into A Song | Part 2

  1. Cool, thanks for sharing more about this. Helpful to see your process! Had wanted to learn more about writing songs.

  2. Love how you gave a few examples of different ways that you can be creative when creating the melody for a song. Awesome, cheers!!

  3. Was there any choice you made have made differently if you were writing this? I'd love to hear suggestions!

  4. I love this!!! I can write poems, but had no idea how you would go about putting them to music!

  5. Amazing! What a talent you have!! Poetry, songwriting and singing definitely aren't my strengths, but I sure wish they were!!

  6. What a cool way to write a song. Great episode, that background is fantastic. 🙂 Keep it up!

  7. Part 2! #LOVE it Thanks for sharing this in parts Heather. Love the series and how you are breaking down how to turn a poem into a song!

  8. Why isn't this channel booming with views and subscribers yet???? So much knowledge and real stuff in most easily digestable manner, I couldn't find any other channel doing this. Great job!

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