Over 40 and Still Can't Play or Write a Song? (TRY THIS!)

If you have tried to play or write a song but it just doesn’t seem to be working out, then you are going to want to watch this video.  In it I’m going to show you how to play a song from start to finish, as well as, how to write a song...

Writing music is all about understand song structure and knowing how to organize the chords and melodic ideas of a key center so that what you compose has a decent continuity from section to section and operates in a balanced manner.

The key to successfully playing an entire piece or composing a complete song is all about knowing how to properly rehearse a piece in sections and then develop the parts through rehearsal with others (or by playing against the original recording).


In this lesson, I’m going to teach you how to not only learn and play your way through an entire song, but you'll also learn how to write your own song.

Many of my older guitar students (who are 40+ years in age), come to guitar lessons still having trouble playing or writing a piece of music. Even if you’ve never been able to completely play through or write a song before, this information will help you.

These topics will help you understand what it means to organize a contemporary song’s most common song parts, (the Intro., Verse, Chorus and Outro.).

Plus, we’ll talk about a song’s key, along with its tonality, (like whether a song section is “Major” or “Minor”).

When we’re done, you’ll know how to compartmentalize each section of a song to learn it at a high level of skill, (so that you can eventually play through the whole song at once).

You’ll also understand how to take the most common song structure and use it as a template to be able to compose a song of your own. Let’s jump into this and get started.

Song structure has to do with the sections of a piece and how they’re arranged, (I’m sure you’ve heard someone comment before about a song’s “arrangement”).

This means how the; Intro., moves into the Verse, and how many of the Chorus passes will occur throughout the piece, stuff like that.

For example; Let’s say that we had an Intro that was 3-bars in length. And then, later in the same song that same group of chord changes actually shows up a second time, but it’s used as the song’s Chorus section.

Then, (at the end of the tune), the same riff shows up again as an Outro.

Now, that type of scenario actually happens in a lot in songs, so let me give you an example of exactly how this whole situation could work.

[1]. Intro. Section: (same as Chorus but the Chorus will be strummed).

Our first song section is going to be an intro. riff that offers up three chords that are all based out of the key of, “D Major.”

It sounds like this (play the example below):

Along with the Intro section (we also know can be used later as a Chorus section), the next thing to learn here is to understand what could happen with another primary song section – the Verse.

In our Intro. we have established a group of three chords from the key of “D Major.” Quite often in a piece of music the other principle song part, (in this case being the Verse), will apply chords from the key’s “Relative Minor” tonality.

This is where having an understanding of basic music theory can be incredibly helpful. So let’s get acquainted with tonality and harmony.

[2]. Understanding the “D Major” Scale: (Major Tonality) 

In our piece, the “D” Major Scale establishes the framework of the piece.

[3]. Understanding the “D Major” Scale’s Harmony: (Harmonized Major) 
Harmony is what we use for creating all of the chords in our song.

[4]. Understanding the “Relative Minor” (“B Minor” Scale)
The 6th of a Major key is the Related Minor key. The 6th of “key of D” is “B”

[5]. Understanding the “B Minor” Scale’s Harmony: (Harmonized Minor) 
The harmony is what we use for creating all of the chords in our song.

Now that you’ve learned the basic theory behind how songs use musical keys (and how they are organized), the next step is to explore the use of chords from our songs next song section, the “Verse.”


I wanted to take a minute to let you know, that if you want to learn even more about scales and theory I have a great offer for you.

With any donation over $5, or any merchandise purchase from either my Tee-Spring, or my Zazzle store, I’ll send you a free copy of THREE of my most popular digital handouts.

One is called, “Harmonized Arpeggio Drills” (it’ll train you on developing your diatonic arpeggios).

Another one is my “Barre Chord” Handout which includes a page showing all the key signatures along with a chord progression that applies barre chords.

Plus, you’ll get my Notation Pack! It has 8 pages of important guitar worksheets for notating anything related to; music charts, guitar chord diagrams, and TAB.

As a BONUS, (from my "Over 40 and Still Can't Play a Scale" video), I'll also throw in a breakdown of all of the chords that are diatonic to the "F Major" scale.

As an EXTRA BONUS for my Phrygian Dominant video, I'll also throw in a breakdown featuring all of the chords that are diatonic to the Phrygian Dominant scale.

Just send me an email off of the contact page of CreativeGuitarStudio.com to let me know about either your donation or your Merchandise purchase and I’ll email you those digital handouts within 24 hrs.     

Our verse section is in Minor. It is 4-bars long and goes like this.

[6]. The “B Minor” Verse Section: (Minor Tonality) 
The Verse of our song is in the Tonality of “B Minor” (Built from off of the 6th degree of the "D Major" scale).

With our learning of the Intro and the Verse complete, and our explanation for basic music theory out of the way, let’s revisit the Intro chord harmony once again so that we can format those chords and use them for the Chorus section.

[7]. The “D Major” Chorus Section: (Major Tonality) 
The chord progression for our Chorus section applies the same collection of chords that we had used in the Intro. section. The chords are just showing in a different style of performance. You’ll find this happens a lot in songs!

Now that you have an understanding for what happens through the intro and the body of a piece, it is also important to understand that the arrangement can (and often will) flow between the Verse and Chorus repeatedly several times to form the core of the piece itself.

Sometimes within this structure we’ll find a short segment added, and that’s what’s generally called the “Bridge.” But, if it’s an instrumental part, we’ll call it an interlude. Of course if there’s a lead part (for a soloist), in there, i.e., a guitar solo, we’d obviously call that part - the "solo" section.

Once your song is ready to wrap up and finish off, it’s time to start considering how it will actually end. Sometimes the song just fades out on the Chorus, but other times we’ll find that a song will have a more defined ending.

Completing the song into its ending will obviously be totally up to you on how you’ll want the song to end, but quite often it simply comes down to whether you want the song to fade away, or if there might be a more solid ending, (a more abrupt ending part).

In wrapping up, I wanted to touch on how you can use what we just covered here to help yourself become better with learning how to perform a piece from start to finish.

The bottom line is that you’re going to need to segment the piece into its various sections and work on each section one at a time. Then, you’ll need to begin linking each section together.

Ultimately, the most important aspect of learning to play through an entire song will come down to finding somebody to actually work together on it and play the song with you. If you don’t know anyone, then you’ll need to use the original recording to play along with the track from beginning to end.



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