Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Online Course

How to Write Your First Song

The University of Sheffield via FutureLearn

(35)
1.5k
Found in Music Courses
  • Provider FutureLearn
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate Paid Certificate Available
  • Effort 3 hours a week
  • Duration 6 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review

Overview

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.

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.

Taught by

Adam White

Help Center

Most commonly asked questions about FutureLearn

Reviews for FutureLearn's How to Write Your First Song Based on 35 reviews

  • 5 stars 74%
  • 4 stars 20%
  • 3 star 0%
  • 2 stars 6%
  • 1 star 0%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I am sorry to leave a rather negative review. I stayed through the course and I am trying to put some of the advice into practice, but in the end, I didn’t find the course particularly engaging or effective. The course is heavily based on music theory, much of which is skimmed over too quickly if...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
An excellent course which I've very much enjoyed. Wrote a song though didn't share it as I just can't sing! I've been a sax player for some years and love improvising but have found traditional chordal theory too overwhelming for my brain so do it instinctively. But I must admit the section of this course on chord progressions really helped me. Not only with playing the sax but with enriching the songs that I write. I've always been aware of their simplistic chord progressions but never really known how to correct that. I wrote a song called Their Town right at the beginning of the course and as the weeks have gone on it's become enriched with chord progressions that I'm really proud of. So thanks Adam and everyone. I look forward to developing my skills further. In particular have bought a book called Chord Progressions: Theory and Practice by Dan Fox and Dick Weissman and chord sequences are now really beginning to make sense!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Pam G
by Pam completed this course.
Fabulous course. The emphasis is on music rather than lyrics. The 'lyrics' are provided by poet Matt Black, to use as you see fit. The song writing process is broken down into its basic elements with wonderful interviews with performers and video demonstrations. There are also excellent interviews with songwriters and producers, And Martin Simpson, folk singer/songwriter and stunning guitarist, writes his song along with you, laying bare his process. You'll listen to wide variety of music, and you can share your own music with fellow students.
2 people found
this review helpful
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
David P
by David completed this course.
The tutors, interviewees/artistes and general advice to/encouragement of participants (students) were always helpful, inspiring and positive. I found the musical theory the hardest part of the course to grasp and understand, which is where other students comments and advice was always useful. Most...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kathleen L
Kathleen completed this course.
This course has taught me a lot about writing music to go with lyrics, and it's enabled me to have fun composing melodies using free online software and sharing them online. A few people were disappointed because the title doesn't make it clear that this course doesn't teach lyric-writing but, because...
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Sylvia S
by Sylvia is taking this course right now.
When I first signed up for this course I was so jazzed. I thought it was for people like me who have never written a lyric, who has no concept as to where to start, no real music background. So I thought that this would be fun for me. Now reading more into it most people have so much know how, have done it before and are wonderfully talented which is fantastic but I have none of that. This is just a dream for me to write my first lyric. I would totally get lost in concept. I would be that person placed in Wall Street where everyone is bidding and yelling, holding up cards, doing hand signs. I would just want to climb high above it all to watch and learn yet it all moves too fast that I would be left with visions of the act but no knowledge of it. If you have some know how and instrument background this would be fantastic for you. I wish I did. Maybe I can try my hand at learning to play guitar and then move in this direction.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Fantastic course. I started this course as a lyricist only with no idea how to write a song. The course has given me an intro into writing music and the basic knowledge to start creating a song. I regret that I don’t play an instrument as I would have gotten so much more from the course had I been able to add accompaniment. It has made me determined to master at least one instrument. It has also introduced me to apps such as Hookpad and to SoundCloud although I’m still trying to master them, too. Thank you to everyone involved in the course. I know from writing management courses myself just how much work is involved in bringing it altogether as a structured, cohesive and flowing learning experience for the student. I would expect nothing less from the OU. Thank you.

Carole Tucker
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
How to Write Your First Song gives you a great overview and guidance on the songwriting process, key ingredients and toolkits you can experiment with in your own personal songkitchen! It gives a lot of inspiration with stories from all kinds of musicians from al kinds of genres in the field, who give their own perspectives on songwriting. It's very useful to give you a boost in your own songwriting, and it's very instructive to work with all attendees with the same theme/lyrics on building a song, still with enough space for exploring with your own creativity. Also very nice to meet all these lovely people who are also struggling and finding their ways in the songwriting process.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
The course was very varied and included short presentation in video and printed word format and short tests. There were also interviews with songwriters and a gradual development of the song My Town with Martin Simpson leading up to his and other versions of the song being presented to us at the end. There was quite a lot of music theory but at a level which was accessible to most people. All in all it was a very user-friendly and professional course which I would recommend to anyone without hesitation. It was presented in a friendly and enthusiastic, way encouraging us to get the most out of it.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This course is a good balance between informal and technical, so there's a lot to learn here on many levels. Adam has been thoroughly engaging and motivating on each topic. His delivery is paused and articulate and in this sense I would recommend this course also to non native speakers. The singers were beautifully emotive and all the musicians and collaborators involved individual and absolutely contemporary.

I've been teaching music for forty years and I would recommend this course to potential songwriters both in and out of school. Thank you so much for a wonderful course!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Kevin Q
Kevin completed this course.
Really enjoyable course. I had never written a song before despite playing in a band for years. For some reason I had always thought it would be too difficult but I found the course set out a good way to approach song writing and it was great fun just "having a go". During the course I wrote seven songs and our bass player has started writing too (he did the course as well). I'm sure we will still play plenty of covers but it's nice to do your own material.

A very inspirational course - the 6 weeks just flew by!!
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
Some useful material on the technicalities of the music side( chords, keys etc.), but, with all due respect, this course should be more accurately described as 'how to set a poem to music' which is not quite the same thing as 'writing a song'.

As (primarily) a lyricist and co-writer, I would say that the course fell down badly on the lyrics side.

"... Despite the many similarities, poetry and lyrics are not the same thing..."

http://www.songlyricist.com/lyricorpoem.htm
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
A great course! I did finish all the materials, although didn't manage to write and upload a final song - more due to time constraints than anything else. However, I would say that even if you don't intend to write a song, you will learn so much from this course in terms of the different elements and approaches to songwriting as well as introducing you to music that you wouldn't normally listen to through the playlists.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is an excellent course. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked the blend of music theory with down to earth practical advice on how to write a song. The chance to make a song out of the the poem My Town gives the student a great opportunity to put what's learned into practice. ( I'm still working on my version and hope to post something shortly). I recommend the course to anyone interested in song writing.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
It was a really great course for me. A lot of techniques was learnt how to write songs. Also I enjoyed interviews with different songwriters, that's great to listen their experiences and what they make to write. I would recommend this course everyone who stuck in songwriting, don't like results or just feel very very unconfident to write and share their songs with other people.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is an enjoyable and very thorough course which demystifies the songwriting process and makes it easy to have a go. So many talented and diverse people involved in presenting the course, and all very encouraging. And everyone seems to be having fun and enjoying themselves, which is incredibly uplifting! Take it and enjoy it, and write your first song.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
This is an enjoyable and very thorough course which demystifies the songwriting process and makes it easy to have a go. So many talented and diverse people involved in presenting the course, and all very encouraging. And everyone seems to be having fun and enjoying themselves, which is incredibly uplifting! Take it and enjoy it, and write your first song.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I Learnt a lot in the first 5 weeks of the course as it concentrated on the tools and techniques to us e when writing a song. I found week 6 aimed at a level which was above my aspirations. A lot of the 'chat ' videos were of no value to me.However ,overall I found the course useful to me and would recommend to others who had an interest in songwriting.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I enjoyed this course. It was well organised, interesting and encouraging. I liked the interviews with different song writers, the weekly play lists which explored a range of musical styles and the Sheffield local colour. I learned lot about the process of song writing and found the comments of fellow students helpful.

Was this review helpful to you? Yes
Anonymous
Anonymous completed this course.
I really enjoyed the course. I did write a song alongside the course and 6 weeks on I'm still fiddling with it and just don't know when to stop!

I really felt at ease at the pace and this made it easier for me to learn from it.

Thank you to all that are involved.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free