Songwriter with guitar and paper

Songwriting, and the Tricky Task of Remembering Patterns

When I taught ear training at university, I had students of widely varying abilities. Some could, as they say, hear paint dry, while others “couldn’t hear a bus.” One of the tasks my students had was to notate melodies as I played them at the piano. (I won’t go into the technique I used for […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Changing Your Songwriting Approach

In order for an athlete to improve, something needs to change. A golfer who wants to improve needs to develop a different stance, or perhaps hold the club differently, or do some other thing in a different way. Athletes work all the time on that simple idea of change. If they aren’t changing something, their […]

Songwriter - editing music

Making Improvements On Your New Song Hook

When you get an idea for a song, you’re actually getting several ideas all at once. That’s how creativity works. You might think that you’ve just conjured up a single entity called a hook, but in fact you’ve brought together at least 3 different things very quickly: A catchy little melodic bit; A chord progression […]

Guitarist - Drummer

Acknowledging the Greatness of Others to Become a Better Songwriter

There was something about the best music teachers of my youth that made me want to be better. They weren’t just good teachers; they were good musicians. Because they excelled, I wanted to excel. To excel at anything requires two things: An instinct A passion Those two qualities go hand-in-hand. It’s unlikely you’d develop a […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Technique and Musicianship: Improving as a Songwriter

If you’re an instrumentalist, you know that practice is an important part of getting better. Practice requires you to put a magnifying glass on your technique — and sometimes your musicianship — and focus in on what you find difficult. Some instrumentalists maintain that they make their best improvements by simply playing, rather than by working out […]

Songwriter - Performer

How You Can Effectively Polish Your Songwriting Skills

Like anyone else, songwriters look for ways to improve what they do. How to improve as a songwriter is a topic that gets discussed a lot, and there are many, many opinions. If you want to improve as a geologist, everyone will agree that the best way is to combine studying at a university with in-the-field […]