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SONGWRITING SIMPLIFIED: Music Theory, Melody & Creativity

Songwriting for PIANO and GUITAR. Chord Progressions, Scales, Melodies, and Lyrics... with no Music Reading!
Steve Glazer
3,732 students enrolled
You'll learn how to write Chord Progressions, Melodies, and Lyrics in any popular style of music.
You WILL write a complete song by the end of this course following 5 simple steps!
You'll learn the same Chord Progressions used by hit songwriters. (Pop, Country, and Rock)
You'll be able to Transpose your song into any Key, to make it comfortable for you to sing - no matter what your vocal range is.

Writing a song is not as difficult as you think!  If you can play some basic chords on Piano or Guitar, this course will teach you literally everything you need to know to get you started writing songs like the pros:  Practical Music theory, Chord Progressions, Melodies, Song Structure, Lyric Writing, Creativity, Songwriting Tips & Tricks, and… YOU WON’T HAVE TO READ A NOTE OF MUSIC!  And if you are a beginner player, you’ll learn even more about Chords and Scales throughout the course. 

SONGWRITING SIMPLIFIED will take Pianists and Guitarists step by step through the entire songwriting process, and by the end of the course, you will have written a complete song: Chords, Melodies, and Lyrics!  

ALSO:  Are you a singer who is frustrated by having to depend on someone else to help you write your songs?

No problem!  This course will teach you basic chords on piano and guitar to get you started writing basic Chord Progressions to help you communicate your songs to other musicians you’re playing or writing with.

Also included in the course:

  • Easy-to-read charts of Piano Chords AND Guitar Chords for all Major and Minor Keys. 

  • Easy-to-read charts of Piano Scales AND Guitar Scales for all Major and Minor Keys. 

  • Samples of hit Chord Progressions used in Pop, Country and Rock styles.

  • Insider tips that will help you write catchier melodies (hooks) in minutes.

  • Details on how to Transpose any song into a key that fits your vocal range.

  • Over 20 FREE Downloadable PDF’s

  • And much more!


Welcome To The Course!

**No reading music needed!**  We'll use the GUITAR and the PIANO to understand very practical music theory, song structure, melody, and chord progressions.  We'll also get into lyric writing and creativity!

How Many Notes??

From Classical compositions to modern Pop, Rock, and Country music - how many notes have been used in the last few hundred years?

Basic Music Theory

What is Music Theory?

Don't be afraid!  Music theory is not as complicated as you think!  If you can do SIMPLE math, you can learn music theory.  We'll be focusing on practical theory.

Notes, Chords, Scales, Octaves, and Keys

Let's start by looking at the piano keyboard to help understand the basics. 

Notes and Chords

Students often confuse these 2 terms, so let's make sure you've got it!

What are Steps and Intervals?

In this Lecture you'll learn a surprisingly easy way to play Major and Minor Scales on the Guitar and the Piano.

Quick Break! (Song Ideas)

Write down 5 song ideas that you might want to use later to write your song!

The Magical 12. The Musical Alphabet

Let's talk about how the musical alphabet works.  You'll learn a great trick that'll get rid of any confusion when it comes to figuring out the names of the notes.

The Musical Alphabet

Let's make sure you remembered this important rule!

Notes on the Guitar and the Piano

Let's look at how the musical alphabet works on the Guitar and Piano.

How Chords Are Made

You'll learn how to use intervals to easily create any Major, Minor, or Diminished Chord you like!

Introducing... Your Chords!

Can I Skip Ahead? (Plus FF and Slow-mo)

Those of you at intermediate or advanced levels of Piano and Guitar playing ability:  You may be able to skip the next 3 Lectures, but I recommend watching them - you may pick up a few new & interesting details.  Also, a pro Udemy tip for ya!

Major Chord Charts (Piano & Guitar)

Complete charts and explanations for all basic Major Chords on Guitar and Piano

Minor Chord Charts (Piano & Guitar)

Complete charts and explanations for all basic Minor Chords for Guitar and Piano

Diminished Chord Charts (Piano & Guitar)

Complete charts and explanations for all basic Diminished Chords for Guitar and Piano

Quick Break! (Emotions)

Remember your 5 song ideas from the last section?  Write down ONE WORD that describes the emotion that fits best with each one of those ideas.

GUITAR ONLY: Barre Chord Help!

A quick and easy explanation of Barre Chords and how they are used for Guitar players.

Introducing... Your Scales!

Major Scales (Piano & Guitar)

Complete charts and explanations for all basic Major Scales for Guitar and Piano

Minor Scales (Piano & Guitar)

Complete charts and explanations for all basic Minor Scales for Guitar and Piano

Chord Progressions: The REAL Fun Begins!!

What is a Chord Progression?

Let's talk about Chord Progressions.  This is where many pro songwriters start the process of writing their songs. Let's look at C major to start.  Progressions can't be copywrited, so study your favorites!

The "I, IV, V" Chord Progression

In this Lecture you'll learn the simplest and most popular chord progression of all time.  The "I IV V."

More for GUITAR: The I, IV, V

Here are some more examples of  I IV V Progressions on GUITAR - since they're not as easy to visualize as they are on Piano.

More for PIANO: The I, IV, V

Here are a couple more examples of  I IV V Progressions on the PIANO - in 2 different Keys.

Mixing Up The "I, IV, V" Progression

Now let's talk about how to mix up the order of the "I IV V" Progression to create a bunch of different and cool song ideas.

The Minor "vi" Chord

Adding just one more simple Chord (the "minor iv") to the "I, IV, V" opens us up to creating countless new song ideas.

Major Keys - Beyond the "I IV V"

Now let's learn ALL of the basic chords you can use to write in any Major Key you like.

More for PIANO: Beyond the "I IV V"

PIANO PLAYERS: Another MAJOR KEY example, and more details on playing beyond the I IV V. 

More for GUITAR: Beyond the "I IV V"

GUITARISTS: Another MAJOR KEY example: playing beyond the I IV V. 

Minor Keys!

Now let's learn ALL the basic chords you can use to write in any Minor Key you like.

More for PIANO: Minor Keys

PIANO PLAYERS:  Let's try the Key of B Minor, to help you understand how to play ALL the chords in a Minor key!

More for GUITAR: Minor Keys

GUITARISTS:  Let's try the Key of G Minor, to help you understand how to play ALL the chords in a Minor key!

Relative Keys

In this Lecture we'll talk about Relative Key is and how you can use this concept to control the emotional tone/feel of your song.  Each key is actually 2 keys.  A major key and a minor key! 

Transposing Your Song

Let's talk about how you can easily transpose (change) the key of your song into any other key you like, to fit your vocal range.

Basic Rhythm

No music theory course would be complete without a discussion of beats and rhythm.


STEP ONE!  Write 2 different Chord Progressions in the same key.  We'll be using these later to write your complete song!

Progressions for Pop, Rock, and Country

Hit Chord Progressions! (Pop, Rock, & Country)

Let's talk about how chord progressions are related to different musical styles.

"Pop" Music Chord Progressions

In this lesson you'll learn how countless hit Pop songs were written!

Major Keys: I IV V’s…. I V vi IV…. I IV vi V….  I vi ii V…. I iii IV V

Minor Keys: i VI III VII….  i VI VII…  i VII VI VII…  i III iv VII

"Country" Music Chord Progressions

In this lesson you'll learn how countless hit Country songs were written!

Maj Keys: I IV V’s... IV I V I…. I IV I V… I vi IV V

"Rock" Music Chord Progressions

In this lesson you'll learn how countless hit Rock songs were written!

Minor Keys: VI VII i….  i VI VII… i VII VI… i III VI VII...

Major Keys: I VI V... I V vi iii IV I V

Hit Songs!

Now that you have even more knowledge, do you want to edit/improve the Chord Progressions you wrote at the end of the last section?

Writing Your Vocal Melody

What is a "Hook"?

Let's talk about what a "hook" is.

A Vocal Melody With a Hook!

Learn about the importance of the vocal melody and how to create a catchy one for your song. (5ths and octaves always work great to create a hook!!)  And... the vocal "EKG!"

GUITAR SCALES: Extra Help For Beginners!

New to scales on the Guitar?  Here are very specific details on how to play Major and Minor Scales in any Key on the Guitar.

Using Scales to Write Melodies (Major)

Let's talk about Major scales on Piano & Guitar and how you can use them to create vocal lines with a hook!  We'll also introduce the "moveable" 2 octave scale pattern for guitar.

Using Scales to Write Melodies (Minor)

Let's talk about Minor scales on Piano & Guitar and how you can use them to create vocal lines with a hook!  We'll also introduce the "moveable" 2 octave scale pattern for guitar.

The Rhythm of Your Melody

Let's talk about "cadence" (rhythmic flow) in your vocal melodies.  This will make them so much more interesting!  

Melodic Movement

Time to learn some cool, and different ways to move through your scales.

Melodic Movement (Extra for GUITAR)

Guitar-specific explanations on how to play those Threes, Fours, and Thirds you just learned in the previous lesson - "Melodic Movement."

Transposing Your Melody

If you transpose your Chord Progression to another Key, you'll have to Transpose the vocal melody along with it of course!


Now that you have an even better understanding of how scales work, it's time to use them to write some cool Vocal Melodies for the Verse and Chorus of your song.

Home is Where The Hook Is!

One more quick tip on writing a Hook for your melody!

Writing Memorable Lyrics

There is only ONE you!

Call me cheesy, but there is only ONE you!!

Writing Your Song Title

Here are some tips on coming up with a unique and memorable title for your song.

Facing Your Fears

Sure, we all know that singing can be scary, but so can writing a song.  Let's talk about how to put down on paper what you really feel, without mental blocks.

Rhyming Schemes

In this lesson we'll talk about several different, cool ways that you can rhyme your lyrics.

What is Trite?

Let's talk about the definition of this word and how important it is to you as an artist/musician/songwriter.

Vulgarity, Grammar and Slang

Let's talk about how to use these concepts to get attention, and when to be careful with them.

Metaphor and Simile

Two of the most helpful and popular tricks used in all types of writing, to help make your lyrics sound more poetic.

10 Awesome Lyric Writing Tips!

You'll love these.  They will help immensely you when you get writers block or feel uninspired!


Now that you have a Chord Progression, AND a simple Melody written for both your Verse and your Chorus, it's time to write Lyrics for those melodies!  You only need one Chorus (lyrically) because that'll repeat, but you'll need more lyrics for your Verses.  Each verse tend to be different lyrically.  P.S. The lyrics may change the cadence of the melody!

Song Structure

The Parts of Your Song

In this lesson you'll learn what a Verse, Chorus, Bridge, etc... is and how to use them in your songs.

Four Basic Song Structures

Here are four basic song structures that you can use to put your whole song together. But don't be afraid to experiment!!


It's time to finish your song!  Since you've written your Verses and the Chorus it's time to choose a structure for the entire song!

My Finished Song

Here's my finished song for you, so you can check it out!  I've included the lyrics as well.

Putting It All Together

Hearing The Song Before It's Written

If you listen closely enough, the song will tell you what it wants to be.

Chord Progression Tips!

More cool stuff to think about when writing a chord progression!

More Choices To Make!

Choosing the right Key, Tempo, Time Signature, and Feel for your song

LESS Is More

In this Lecture let's talk about the importance of editing.  I first learned this trick as a kid, at an ice cream shop! 

Record The Writing PROCESS!

This is so important!  You could lose some very cool song ideas that just happen off the cuff, if you don't record the writing process itself!

Study Your Favorites

Analyze your favorite tunes with all of your new knowledge!  There's no better way to learn how great songs are constructed. AND... be eclectic. This is one of my favorite words. It means to select from (or be influenced by) a variety of different styles.


Now that you've learned even more songwriting tips, see if you can make your song even better!!  Then it's time to write another one... then another one.  THAT'S how you get good.  :)  And find YOUR own process!

One More Quick Thing!

Have Fun!

Probably the most important lesson to learn! ;)

Bonus Lecture: PRIVATE LESSONS Available!

I teach regularly on Skype and I'm available to work with you privately!

You can view and review the lecture materials indefinitely, like an on-demand channel.
Definitely! If you have an internet connection, courses on Udemy are available on any device at any time. If you don't have an internet connection, some instructors also let their students download course lectures. That's up to the instructor though, so make sure you get on their good side!
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