If Your Song Lacks Excitement, Here's What to Do

From “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website:


If you find that some aspect of your new song bores you, don’t toss it out. The solution may be easier than you think. Take a look at these tips and see if one of them does the trick:

1- Take another look at the basic rhythm of your intro. Songwriters often lay down a basic, predictable rhythm in the rhythm guitar, let it repeat a few times, and then start the verse. So if you’ve got such a great song in your mind, why are you introducing it with such a boring intro? Find a way to spruce up that intro as a way of getting listeners excited about what they’re about to hear. A unique (I didn’t say “weird”) intro can grab people’s attention in important ways.

2- If you’ve read the next article down on this page, you know that there are ways to make a chord progression feel fresh. In addition to pedal tones, try adding 7ths, 9ths, and so on. Or try some chord substitutions. For example, in the key of C major, you can replace an F with Dm7, a C with an Am, and G7 with Bdim. Keep your mind open, look for possibilities.

3 – Try performing your song at different tempos. You may discover that the tempo you thought was the right one just causes the song to “sit there,” while a faster (or slower) choice may be just what is needed to set your song apart.

4- Look at the melody. Does it contain leaps, or is it all step-wise motion. Music with leaps that make good sense are great ways to inject excitement. “All By Myself,” sung by Eric Carmen and later by Celine Dion, features important leaps as an integral part of the chorus.

5- Organize a concert for yourself, and advertise it months in advance. Universities are a great place to book a little spot to perform your songs. Keep these suggestions in mind: i) Advertising months in advance makes your performance seem like more of an event; ii) Spend a little money on well-designed and produced posters that reflect the kind of concert you’re planning to give; and iii) Practice your songs so that you give a polished, professional performance. And then ask people for their feedback.


-Gary Ewer
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