wikiHow to Compose and Perform a Rock Song

We all have our favorite rock songs. The people who performed them make it look so easy! But how do you perform your own song? How do you even write a song to perform? Find out here.


  1. Image titled Compose and Perform a Rock Song Step 1
    Form a band. A typical rock band consists of a drummer, a bass guitar player, a guitarist and a singer. In many cases, the singer will be playing the guitar or bass as well. You might have two guitars in your band, perhaps a keyboard player, or even a sax player. It depends on who you find and what style of music you play.
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    Find people who play instruments. Make sure that they can actually play something, have a basic knowledge of musical theory, and are actually interested in playing and performing.
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    Deal with the fact that you may come up with a lopsided band. Maybe a drummer, and three guitarists, and nobody sings. Do what the middle schools do: Put the worst trumpet player on tuba. In your case, you'd probably have him play bass. Bass parts are usually easier than guitar parts, so the learning curve might be easier. Also, singing comes with maturity. Most people don't want to sing because they're scared of being horrible. If they never sing, they will be horrible. It will come with practice.
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    Make sure everyone has an instrument to use. You can purchase a guitar or bass for about $100. It won't be great, but it's a start. Walmart has some, but you're better off at a music store. Drum sets can be about $200. You also need amps for everyone. They usually come in starter packs, but you can get a decent small one for $100 for guitar or bass.
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    Get a percussionist, not a drummer. Drummers hit drums. Percussionists play drums. Get someone who has played music in the school band, a previous band, or really knows how to keep time while playing. Whoever works the percussion lays the backbeat for everyone else, so they have to be consistent.
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    Know about the microphones. Mics usually go into a PA system in a concert hall or club or anywhere they have music normally. For practices, it can be a pain. It's not going to be loud enough, but plug it in to a bass amp or a stereo system that you might have for CDs. You just need the right adapter (Radioshack).
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    Now it's time to try to play a song. In the beginning, try a simple jam session. Have the drummer do a simple beat, and have the bassist play quarter notes on E. Then have the guitarist strum an E chord in either quarter notes or eighth notes. If there is another guitar or whatever, have he or she solo in the pentatonic E scale. It sounds hard, but the best part is that it's very hard to be bad. Just play E G A B D E in different orders, in different rhythms. You'll get the hang of playing together in time.
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    It's time to write a song. All you have to do is write a poem. It doesn't have to rhyme, though it sounds better when it does. Try to pick a topic, like running to the store or going on vacation or something. Or it could be random, and not make any sense whatsoever. Then, once you make some lyrics, come up with a simple chord progression. Many times, the 4 and 5 chords are used. For instance, if you were playing a song in G, maybe the chords would be G D A C, or 1 5 2 4. Then, try to come up with a little guitar lick or some kind or little melody to play in between the verses and chorus and stuff. This can be anything in the key of the song. A good example would be Dammit by Blink 182. Once you get the chords and the lead part down, try to organize it into a song. You can try: (Intro) (lead part) (Verse 1) (Chorus)
    • That is the basic part of your song. Then: (Lead Part) (Verse 2) (Chorus) (Bridge) (Chorus) (Ending) This is typical of a rock song. Once you've practiced that enough, try to make a few more songs and learn some easy covers. If your band members take lessons, have them ask their teachers for advice.
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    After you know a few songs, try to find a place to perform. Your first performance should be in front of people you know, and a small group. From there, move on to“Battle of the Bands” competitions. You don't have to win, just get experience and let people know you exist. Try to book yourself in local restaurants that feature bands.
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    Over time, your band will get better. You'll lose members, and gain new ones. You'll upgrade your equipment. You might get a PA and massive amps. You might get a record deal and go on tour. You never know. But you have to start somewhere.


  • Write what you want. Don't ever be scared of what other people will think.
  • When appropriate, come up with more difficult bass lines, instead of just playing the roots of the chords—the bassist should be allowed to be creative as well!
  • Have a good balance of fast, moderate, and slow songs.
  • Come up with a band name that's short and simple, but unique.
  • Give everyone a chance to solo and express themselves.
  • Consider messing around with the time signature. The audience might not be able to tell the difference unless they’re all musicians, too.
  • If money is an issue, consider the so-called “poor man's copyright.” Mail whatever you need (CD, lyrics, etc.) to yourself, but DON'T OPEN IT. The Post Office will stamp the date you sent it on the envelope, which will prove that you wrote the song before that date. It's less sturdy in court than a real copyright, but much better than nothing.
  • Use online rhyming dictionaries.
  • You could get some wind instruments involved or have a brass section. Those are always fun.
  • It is never a good idea to put the worst guitarist on bass. Its a common misconception that bass is easier than guitar as it has less strings. However, in reality bass is much harder than guitar as you must learn proper muting technique etc which will often lead to your bassist getting bored, not practicing and generally not being committed. This causes arguments and will break up your band.


  • Don't neglect any part of the song. Lyrics are what get the deep people. Music gets everyone, but record labels are looking for both to be strong. Hobos are not a good song topic.
  • The main thing is you have fun!

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Categories: Bands