If you’re working on a beat, or even if you want to start a new one right now, try to create at least three variations of the loop you started with by removing parts, adding them back in, making simple changes to patterns, etc. If you feel inspired, develop your idea further by adding other elements, and taking the beat out entirely for a bar or two.
You can also vary the motif by lengthening or shortening the notes within it, and make it change direction by inverting it, creating its mirror image. You can add notes to extend it. And later in the song, you can even create a new motif, usually for the chorus. Contrast is the songwriter’s friend.
You may have noticed by now how these sorts of structures really can be plug-and-play to some extent. In our analysis of 2018’s top Billboard tracks, we saw how these different sections pop up again and again, some more than others, but with many different variations. Here’s a chart from that analysis that shows how often each section appeared throughout all the songs we looked at:
All of our mentored online courses come with six weeks of 1-on-1 professional coaching and feedback on your work. It’s like having a personal trainer, but for music! Share your goals with us and we’ll find a course for you, or create a custom mentorship session with a pro musician, engineer, educator, or music industry veteran, to help you achieve them.