Songwriters, Is It Time to Step Back?

Gary EwerWritten by Gary Ewer, Senior Instructor, Dalhousie University, from “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” website.
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Are you a non-stop songwriter? Sometimes, in the music world, moving forward happens best when you take a break and change your focus. And the summer can be a great time to take a few days away from that thing you love to do, and just do a bit of reading. Over the past few years I’ve been writing articles that relate to songwriting from almost every angle: composing, arranging, selling, and hopefully helping people solve those nagging little problems that crop up from time to time.

And sometimes, the best thing you can do to solve a songwriting problem is to simply… pause. Take a break, perhaps for a few days or a week, and clear your head.

Since it’s summer (where I live, anyway 😉 now might be a good time to do a bit of reading. I’ve put links to 15 songwriting articles below, essays that I’ve written over the past 3 years. Just in case you’re looking for a good reason to sit back and put the pencil/guitar down.

Articles Relating to Song Form:

Intro: Top 5 Song Intros, And What We Can Learn From Them

Verse and Chorus: Comparing Verse and Chorus Structure

Pre-chorus: The Pre-Chorus Can Make Your Song More Memorable

Bridge: What Your Song’s Bridge Needs to Do

Hook: How to Write a Hook For Your Song

Chords and Harmony:

Making Chord Changes Work

How to Find the Chords that Belong to a Key

How One Chord Can Replace Another

How Pedal Tones Make Chord Progressions Sound Great

The Business of Songwriting:

Marketing Your Songs

What Does Copyright Really Protect?

Songwriting Collaborations Are Usually Win-Win, and Worth a Try

Other Songwriting Issues:

Song Energy: Why is My Song So Boring?

Orchestrating Songs: Adding Solo Acoustic Instruments

Vocal Harmonies: Vocal Harmonies Can Add Excitement


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Posted in songwriting, Songwriting Opinion and tagged , , , , , .


  1. I very much appreciate and agree with the sentiment of this post, but I would not define “stepping away” as reading about songwriting. Rather, I would suggest a good novel or a non-fiction thing, or going running more often or taking a nap or… anything to do with anything but songwriting. Our greatest creative moments — our Eureka’s — come when we are not really thinking about the problem we are trying to solve. Here’s a GREAT piece from the New Yorker on this very notion:…/Lehrer_Insight_New_Yorker.pdf

    • Thanks very much for your comments, Jeff, and I must say that I quite agree. At times, it’s good, sometimes necessary, to pull back and do an almost unrelated thing. I think it was last fall that I wrote a post about that… taking art lessons, etc., as a way of diverting your attention but still doing something creative.

      Thanks again,

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