Ideally, a song will combine creative instrumentation with emotional impact to create a work of art. In addition to talent and creativity, melody and chords, writing a song around a song structure template can help guide the process, even if you find it best to deviate from the template.
Most songs will have between three and six different sections (unless you are more ambitious), so getting the basic structure down will not be too daunting. To get started, you could fool around working on a particular riff or melody (if you play guitar or piano) or basic beat (if you play drums) to form the basis of the verse or chorus. Then, experimenting with this beat or riff could lead you to crafting the adjoining chorus (or verse).
The bridge or solo, if you choose to include them, could take quite a bit more time, especially given that the bridge needs to contrast the rest of the song in a complementary way with effective transitions. The chord progression of the bridge, for example, could be close to “opposite” from the progression of the chorus.
You can play with the basic structure a lot to omit or add certain parts. For example, merely hinting at the chorus a few times in the song, but then playing it in earnest once at the end can create a uniquely creative effect given the right sound.
Remember, like other artistic works, a song tells a story, only with sounds instead of words or pictures, so think about how you can arrange these sections to tell a narrative with chords and melody.
How to Use a Songwriting Template
Here is a song structure template to help get you started:
Intro: This is often the same chords as the verse or chorus, usually the verse.
Verse: Normally four to eight chords.
Chorus: Normally four to eight chords. Typically, there is a change in the dynamics of a chorus to make it stand out. You could change the volume, intensity, catchiness, and timbre to achieve this.
Bridge: This is often literally a bridge between the verse and the chorus. This is especially useful when you have a key change from one to the other, or the transition from verse to chorus or vice versa isn’t particularly smooth. It is used to break up the song so it isn’ just a sequence of Verse-Chorus-Verse-Chorus. The bridge can change the whole feel of the song, and if used properly, it can make or break it. Again, the dynamics are normally different to add variety.
Outro: Like the intro, this can essentially be a repeat of the chords or structure from the verse or chorus, but it can also be significantly different.