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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

How to write a song

Stephanie Ma
Sophie Lin (‘26) sits in the common area of Jones dormitory with a guitar on her lap, writing a song. Music is a shared interest and hobby among many Webb students because it can easily resonate and connect with different people. “I really appreciate the beauty of melodies. I can express myself freely through music.” said Sophie.

Perhaps your last heartbreak had you crying on the floor. Or a messy conflict tore you apart and you can’t get your mind straight again. Or maybe you have an explosion of joy you just need to scream about. 

What if I told you that is exactly how to start writing a song?    

“Writing songs helps me better understand and cope with difficult experiences,” says Clara Lars, a 17-year-old songwriter who receives over 30,000 monthly listeners on Spotify. “It’s gotten me through so much, and it’s taught me a lot about myself and my relationships.”   

The beauty of a song is that it can start from anywhere: a chord progression, a resonating metaphor, or a catchy phrase. But how do you bare your soul in a song, open your heart, and become brave enough for others to hear it?  

This takes courage: courage to confront your emotions, to let others into your stories, and to be honest with yourself. Your lyrics are the stories you tell, a reflection of your perspectives that you feel most deeply. Put your heart in your hand and don’t be afraid. Your willingness to be authentic and vulnerable is the key to powerful lyrics listeners value and resonate with.   

Every song is powered by a concept: something that centers your song. Beach Bunny, for example, uses time passing after a relationship to center their song “April.Olivia Rodrigo composed a ballad around comparing her relationship to a crime in “Favorite Crime.” Central concepts bring cohesion and clarity to a song, allowing it to describe, expand, and delve into one emotion or moment authentically.   

The next step is understanding songwriting techniques. Metaphors, symbols, and other devices can help translate and express your message. Most songs have a verse, followed by a pre-chorus and a chorus, then another round of verses and choruses before you get to the bridge. As you organize your song, remember that a structure should not be rigid; rather, structure is a tool to organize your songwriting. Do what feels right to you. 

For all the things you’re too scared to talk about, write a song for yourself. Whether a song never leaves your bedroom or becomes the next chart-topping single, songwriting will grant you the freedom to share your heart, connect with others, and inspire you to learn more about yourself.  

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About the Contributor
Stephanie Ma
Stephanie Ma, Co-Editor of Opinion
Meet Stephanie “Steph” Ma ('25), a harmonious force within the Webb Canyon Chronicle and Webb Community. This past summer Steph leisurely sojourned in Korea, where she indulged in delicious street foods such as fish cakes and tteokbokki. She continued her summer melodiously with visits to Boston College and NYU’s Clive Davis Institute, where she immersed herself in the world of music, recorded her own songs, and had her soul serenaded by Masie Peters while visiting her brother in Canada. Looking through her Spotify, you are sure to find the ballads of Taylor Swift and Joshua Bassett. A talented instrumentalist, she plays a multitude of instruments such as the violin, guitar, and ukulele, yet her compositions extend beyond melodies. At Webb, the humanities strike a chord in her heart, especially classes conducted by Ms. MacPhee. As a maestro of leadership, Steph serves on the VWS Honor Cabinet When writing for the WCC Steph meticulously pieces together articles, most notably her compelling piece on the UC strikes. Finishing with a crescendo we can all look forward to seeing Steph thrive during her third year at Webb, while we take delight in her enlightened and empathetic articles during her second year at the Chronicle.  Favorite Song: "Cool About It" by Boygenius

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