How to Compose a Song for a Band

If you want to write your own song for the school band, or maybe even your own band, here is all you need to know!


  1. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 1
    Think about the main theme of the song. After you decide what that will be, build on it. Say the theme is a man walking down a street. Well, you need to build on that! Make the audience think about what you are trying to express. Is he walking down a street at night, to a bar? If so, then the music might be something jazzy. If it's some seven-year-old girl skipping down the sidewalk to Peppy's Ice Cream, then the song will probably not be slow or jazzy. It would ideally be faster and "bouncy".
  2. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 2
    Decide what instruments will have the glory, or technically speaking, the melody. Going back to the man walking to a bar at night, you probably would want low voices (instrumental wise, not real voices) like Bass Clarinet, Tenor Saxophone, Trombone, or Baritone Sax. The preppy fun girl would probably be flutes or clarinets. You can also have a combination of instruments for the melody. For example, Bass Clarinet and Sax, or flute and clarinet.
  3. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 3
    Decide what instruments will play the "behind" part, or harmony. If you have a lower instrument playing the melody, you might want a higher instrument playing the harmony.
  4. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 4
    Start to write. Print out some manuscript paper and jot down everything you have. To transpose the song, see the tips for what key most common instruments are. But for now, let's say your transposing what you have on piano to Bb Trumpet. This means that on the trumpet, a 'C' would sound like a 'Bb' on Piano. So if the trumpet needs to play 'C' then you write it down as 'Bb'. Just go down one whole step (B, Bb)to see what the notes should be. This may sound confusing, but it won't when you do it.
  5. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 5
    Keep adding! Let your imagination and creativity fly! Make the 1-page song a 5-page song! But don't get off the theme too much! If the slow jazzy feel turns into the faster preppy sound too suddenly, it won't make sense.
  6. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 6
    Make a final copy of your music. That way it won't have eraser marks/scratch-outs form pen/white out on it. There are even programs out there where you just print out the notes. One is the Finale Notepad, available for free download at
  7. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 7
    Practice! Make sure it sounds alright, and adjust it accordingly.
  8. Image titled Compose a Song for a Band Step 8
    Don't rush, good things come to those who wait.


  • If you get stuck, just take a break, new ideas will come to you later.
  • Get some ideas from band members. They might have a better idea of what suits their instruments.
  • Get a Friend to help out on the song.
  • Listen to music like what you're writing to help give you ideas.
  • Another good piece of composing software is Noteworthy Composer.
  • Also you could try the program Musescore.
  • Write the same kind of music you listen to. It makes it a lot easier to write songs.
  • A list of band instruments according to their key.
    • -Bb: Trumpet, Bb clarinet, tenor saxophone, treble clef baritone horn, treble clef euphonium, bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, contrabass clarinet
    • -Eb: Alto and baritone Saxophones, alto clarinet, Eb piccolo clarinet, some French Horns, contra-alto clarinet.
    • -C: Piano, trombone, bass clef euphonium, bass clef baritone horn, tuba, flute, piccolo, oboe, bassoon, all pitched percussion
      Note: The piccolo transposes down an octave. This means that a note the piccolo player plays will sound an octave above.
    • -F: French horn and English Horn
    • -D: Alto Flute


  • Don't plagiarize. This means don't take a song/parts of a song that somebody else wrote and call it your own.

Article Info

Categories: Songs and Song Writing