Guitarist - songwriter on stage

Avoid These 5 Chord Progression Mistakes In Your Songwriting

Knowing why some chord progressions your’e coming up with sound good while others just don’t work at all is an entire area of study in music schools. For many of you, though, a good chord progression is something you can come up with by improvising and by borrowing ideas from other existing progressions. In this blog […]

Blind Willie Johnson - Sinead O'Connor

How Can Studying Old Songs Help Us to Write New Ones?

Does it seem strange to think that you might learn a thing or two about songwriting by studying hits from the past? You might love Buddy Holly’s “That’ll Be the Day” (Jerry Allison, Buddy Holly, Norman Petty), but what if you’re hoping to write the next big pop song hit? What does “That’ll Be the […]

Guitar - Songwriting

Determining the Key of Weird Chord Progressions

Take a look at the following two progressions. The first one comes from the verse of John Legend’s “All of Me” (John Stephens, Toby Gad), and the second one comes from the verse of “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” (Elton John, Bernie Taupin): 1. All of Me: Fm  Db  Ab  Eb 2. Goodbye Yellow Brick Road: […]

How Design Saves a Song and Pulls the Audience In

When you talk about the form or design of a song, most people understand that you’re likely talking about the overall structure of a song — the verse-chorus-other aspect. Non-musicians likely know that most songs will move from the intro to the verse to the chorus, and then they might know to expect to hear a pre-chorus or […]

Band rehearsal session

5 Tiny Adjustments That Can Save a Bad Song

A few posts back, I mentioned that in the creative arts (songwriting and other forms of composition, for example), good editing is more often about what you remove than what you add or change. In other words, the best fixes to bad music frequently happens when you remove stuff, not add stuff. If I’ve written something that’s 5 […]

Synth - chord progressions

Songwriting: Moving From Aeolian Mode to Major Key

Some songwriters have a natural aversion to music theory. That dislike usually goes hand-in-hand with the mistaken belief that the purpose of music theory is to tell you what you should or shouldn’t be writing. That’s never been the purpose or power of music theory. Rather, theory gives you an understanding of the structure and […]