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Writing A Song, Live Example

Phil Wickham

0:34:06 · Songwriting

Phil teaches and explains on what the anchor of a song is, the importance of it and the process of finding your songs “why”. He also demonstrates constructing a song with the class, and encourages students to help him dig deep in the lyric writing process. 

Finding Your Anchor (Capturing vision for your song and sound)

  • Sometimes writing a song can be easy, but sometimes it can be difficult. Decide to really go after a song and try your best to finish it. 
  • Meditate on what the Lord’s telling you, capture a vision for your song and take thoughtful moments to decide how you want to articulate your words. 
  • The anchor of your song is your inspiration for your song. It’s the prime reason why you’re singing and creating that song. 
  • Oftentimes a song won’t be finished, because it had a stale reason for starting. 
  • Let the place you’re singing and writing from be authentic, because it will be a lot easier to finish. Let yourself sink into the thoughts and emotions behind your song. 
  • An idea is enough to start a song. You don’t have to always start with a melody or lyrics. Trust that the thought and emotion that’s inspired you is a strong enough anchor. 
  • What does it look like for you to steward that moment of inspiration?
  • “As songwriters, we get to go through life and see situations that widen our ability to experience God.” Real life moments with God, even the little moments in a movie or holding a baby, are enough to entirely change our perspective of Him as a Father and as God. 
  • Having a vision and a title for your song will help you craft the rest of it.  

Building Your Song

  • Songs are similar to sentences. You have the subject, which is like the  chorus, you have the verses which are like verbs and adjectives. And then you have adverbs that are like the bridge. One word builds on the next, one line builds on the next, it all builds off of each other, concluding to a topic and a message. 
  • What is your why behind your song? / Your chorus could say “I’m counting on your goodness”, and then you want to create a why in your verses. Why are you counting on God’s goodness?
  • Don’t be afraid of re-writing lyrics. “If you have an anchor that you really believe in, let it be worth the fight.” If there’s something in your heart that sparks, chase it, rewrite it, show it to people, get feedback. Just chase after it.

Hands-On Workshop with The Class

  • Phil encourages the class to think about practical and relevant ways that God loves us in day to day life, and then to dig deep into ways we’ve seen God’s intentionality. He leads the class to think of unique analogies. 
  • He challenges the class to go beyond surfacey sayings, but to dive deep into the heart of God and find a “why”.
  • Make sure to find your focus behind the song. Don’t get side tracked by other themes, but choose one, and then dig deep.