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Songwriting Exercise – Brainstorming Possible Song Titles

A good song title is a songwriter’s best friend because it can encapsulate the whole song in a few well chosen words.

One of the best ways I’ve found to get my own songwriting process going is to brainstorm lists of possible song titles and see what comes from that.

Now in this songwriting exercise the task is not to write a complete song but to get out your pen and paper and write down at least one A4 page of possible song titles.

I try to regularly do this songwriting exercise at least twice a week and because I do this on a regular basis I now have pages and pages of songwriting ideas for me to look back on if I find myself not knowing where to go next.

Start off this exercise, by writing down the first thing that comes into your head at the top of your page and from there start writing down your possible song titles, making sure that the next phrase is either tightly or loosely derived from the phrase preceding it.

Here’s a short example starting off with the phrase Cry Baby:

  • Cry Baby
  • Baby Don’t Cry
  • Don’t Cry For Me Baby
  • Don’t Cry
  • Why So Sad?
  • I’m So Sad
  • I’m Leaving Today

Just remember, because you are brainstorming, just making it up as you go along, there’s no right or wrong way of doing this exercise.

You can write anything down, go off onto any tangent you like and not worry about whether you are going to use it in the future or not.

It’s also really important to not think about what you are writing, just be automatic, spontaneous and most importantly, have some fun with it.

Set a target of doing this for 30 minutes, two to three times a week so you can build up a comprehensive body of possible song titles to choose from.

Once you’ve been doing this exercise for a couple of weeks, start having a look at what you’ve written and pay close attention to the phrasing and the rhythm of the possible song titles and wait for some inspiration to jump out at you.

Once this happens you have the beginnings of a brand new song (or group of songs).

For me, looking back on what I’ve written in the past is an interesting experience in itself. It always amazes me what I’ve written once I stop second guessing my own songwriting process.

In the meantime, give this songwriting exercise a try and see what happens. Let me know how you go with it.

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