#CA-02-03 How to Write Your First Song

  • Categories Creative Arts
  • Duration 22h
  • Total Enrolled 5
  • Last Update September 14, 2020

About Course

The University of Sheffield


Ever wanted to write a song, but not known how?

This course will introduce you to the tools and techniques you need to write your first song.

Each week, using specially-commissioned lyrics, we’ll build up a song and encourage you to do the same. World-renowned musician, Martin Simpson, will use the same words and techniques and we’ll check in with him each week for inspiration and guidance on the songwriting process.

We’ll also talk to experts in music and psychology as well as established musicians and songwriters to find out what makes a song successful.

What topics will you cover?

  • Setting words to music
  • Time and pitch
  • Working with melody
  • Chords and chord progressions
  • Song forms
  • Arranging your song

Who will you learn with?

Adam White

Professional Musician and Associate Lecturer in Music with The Open University. Formerly Course Director for Music at the Department for Lifelong Learning at the University of Sheffield.



Who developed the course?

The University of Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is one of the world’s top 100 universities with a reputation for teaching and research excellence.




What Will I Learn?

  • Set words to rhythm using the concepts of metre and scansion.
  • Identify the ingredients of an effective melody.
  • Describe the different chord types and progressions used in popular songs.
  • Explain the most commonly used song forms and structures.
  • Explore how songs can develop when different lines and instruments are added to the accompaniment.
  • Combine these fundamental musical elements to come up with a song of your own.

Topics for this course

14 Lessons22h

What’s involved in songwriting??

In this introduction, lead educator Adam White welcomes you to the course and invites you to discuss why songs are important by sharing the songs that are special to you.
Welcome to the course00:01:49
Join the band
Why are songs important?

Getting started?

Adam gives an overview of the skills and techniques associated with songwriting. We talk to our first expert songwriter to find out what tips he has and interview some Sheffield students who have just written their first song.

Writing your song?

Adam introduces the songwriting challenge and encourages you to start thinking about how you will write your first song.

The songwriting challenge?

We ask for your first impressions of 'My Town' and check in with Martin Simpson as he reads through these lyrics for the first time.

Student Feedback


Total 4 Ratings

3 ratings
1 rating
0 rating
0 rating
0 rating

Great introductory course for beginners and intermediate level students!

This course is a good fit for me. It taught me the proper way to deal with songs as well as the rationale behind it. It will save me a lot of grief.

I enjoy this course because it addresses topics that I do not have much experience in. It is helping me to finish my dream, write a song belong myslef.

Great refresher for me. The presenter speaks clearly. The material is well organized and easy to understand.


Material Includes

  • Official Certificate

Target Audience

  • Whether you’re a complete novice who has never written a song in their life, a budding amateur looking to develop further skills or an accomplished professional brushing up on the basics, this course will deliver comprehensive practical and theoretical knowledge to help set you on your path.
  • While it will be useful to have access to a musical instrument this is not a requirement, you can participate in the course just using your voice or with freely available music software.