Guitar, paper & pencil, smartphone

Dealing With “I Can’t Finish a Song” Syndrome

We tend to think that the only people with any measure of musical ability are the ones that have a special gift for it. And while being a good musician requires a bit more than a passing understanding of how music works, musicianship is something that comes with being human. It’s in our DNA. The kind […]

Creating a Hierarchy of Songwriting Elements: What’s Most Important?

For every song you ever hear, it’s possible to compile a short list of elements that go together that make the song. For most, that list will include lyrics, melody, chords, rhythm (groove), instrumentation, and so on. Because every song is a musical journey, and every journey must be to some degree unique, the priority a […]

Rock Band Singer

Some of the Best Musical Tips I Ever Received

I find that when I talk about songwriting, or even just music in general, with good musicians, I always learn something that sticks with me and becomes part of who I am as a musician. And I hope you have those experiences as well. Many of the bits of advice and miscellaneous thoughts that I pick […]

Folk guitarist - Songwriter

How Talent and Instinct Can Get In the Way of Good Songwriting

Good songwriting happens when someone has an instinct for it. But like anything in the arts (or in anything, come to think of it), great songwriting happens when you build on your innate talents, through study, analysis and practice. Most people who write songs have at least some level of instinct and talent, because it’s unlikely […]

Piano

Creating Melodies When You Use the Chords-First Method

One of the biggest drawbacks to starting your songs by working out a chord progression is that melodies can get a bit neglected. Historically, composers in the Classical realm rarely if ever started compositions with just chords. They’d practically always start with something hummable (a melody), or something otherwise memorable (the lyrics, perhaps). And since […]

Father & son singing

All You Have to Offer

As a songwriter, you possess a skill that can make someone’s mood a little brighter, and someone’s day a little better. You could argue that practically everyone, no matter what they do in life, has the same ability. One way or another, we all have the chance to make someone’s day better, even if it’s just […]