Lyrics Or Music First?

We all have our own working flow when it comes to creative work. There is no such thing like a fool proofed technique that is set in stone. In songwriting though there is one crucial question, especially for beginners, Lyrics or Music first?

Personally, I’m not set on either way. I try to approach my songs differently as often as I can. But if I’m out of ideas, I try to stick to a formula. Your formula might be different than mine.


Today I want to show you the pros and cons whether to start with lyrics or music first!



Lyrics First

Most of the times I start with lyrics first when I’m on the go. The ideas pop up in the middle of the day and I quickly write them down to work on them on a later time. It’s a very creative approach to songwriting because you’re more loose. The emphasis is going to be on lyrics and the theme of your song will be very clear. Your melody can be very concise and you’re going to build the music around that idea.

Your song might lack in structure because your lyrically idea is so strong that you have to make the music fit.
The lyrics are going to be very strong and personal though. Also you can really push the melody in that way because you’re not restricted to a special chord progression yet.


Remember: It’s just an approach and like every approach it has its pros and cons and doesn’t have to be bad!

Music First

Honestly this is my preferred way of writing songs. When I’m at home and commit to writing a song then I, most of the times, start with the music first. For me, it’s much easier to write a song when there is a certain kind of structure. I can then build a song around the structure I created first.

Usually I like to have the chords first and sometimes that’s enough to start writing lyrics. I try to keep it kind of loose. What I try to avoid is setting my songs in stone before I have ideas for lyrics or music. I need a little bit of music then I can think about melody and lyrics and then I will go on. It’s just easier to me to have the music as a guide line.

The song is more structured that way. Maybe the melody is more memorable that way with a little less emphasis on lyrics. 


Even though I’m a creative person, I need that kind of structure to work better. I try not to be too strict though.



What Kind Of Person Are You?

Are you more of a creative person who likes to write very precise and personal ? But maybe you need a clear structure to hook your audience. 

As I told you I’m the second one, I need structure to focus my creative thoughts. 

I’m always open to try new things. Here is a list on how I like to start my songs.

  • Writing lyrics on a notepad/smart phone and using them later for a song
  • Using a DAW like Garageband or Logic to write music first
  • Playing guitar, finding chord progressions and then sing along
  • Singing a capella about what I feel right now
  • Writing a drum track and improvise on it with guitar and singing
  • Listening to inspiring song and try to write something that conveys a similar mood


There are lots of approaches to songwriting and I hope you will tell me yours.


There is no clear answer whether writing lyrics or music first is better. It’s all preference and how you and your mind works the best. Just because somebody else works differently doesn’t mean it’s the right way for you. Of course you can try routines of other people and get some inspiration but don’t force yourself just because it works for them.

Another great idea is to do lyrics or music separately. If you’re working on music only one day and on lyrics the other day, you can then try to combine your ideas. Maybe you will get the best of both worlds. 


I will update this post once I become a famous songwriter or I find the perfect golden rule of songwriting.



Until then, thanks for your time.
I appreciate every one reading this and maybe I could help you somehow.
I will talk to you very soon



How are you writing your songs?

Do you start with lyrics or music or something completely different?

Tell me here or on Instagram and Twitter.
I can’t wait to find out how you do it!