Songwriter working at a keyboard

Think Small to Keep Feeling Creative

What do you do when you’ve got a day — or a week or a month — where your creative juices are letting you down? What do you do when songwriting, which used to be fun, exciting and fulfilling, is now frustrating? Feeling that you’re getting nowhere with your songwriting often comes from setting the […]

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire

Allowing Listeners to Create a Story With Your Song

Just this morning I went to YouTube and listened to Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Such a powerful song, and I don’t think I had ever seen the official video before, which includes a short dramatization of Springsteen as a car mechanic being asked to repair a car by a woman we never actually see, other […]

Band rehearsal session

When Songs Are Boring: Top 5 Reasons

If you want success in writing music, you need to be able to listen to your own music objectively, and to be able to judge it objectively. I’ve written a lot on this blog about how to do that (here’s one article, for example: How Objective Listening Improves Your Songwriting). To listen objectively ends up being this: […]

Guitarist - songwriter

The Main Difference Between a Verse and Chorus Chord Progression

As you probably know, it’s quite possible (and reasonably common) to use the same — or almost the same — chord progression for a chorus that you use for a verse. If you do decide to use the same progression for both sections, it should be the kind of progression that would normally work well for […]

Microphone

How Melodies Move Up and Down Within Your Song

Good songs are almost always about contrasts. If you look closely at chord progressions, you’ll notice major and minor chords: opposites working together. With instrumentation, you’ll often see sparse, transparent sections (often the verse) contrasting with fuller, busier parts (the chorus). Contrast is an important part of what keeps listeners coming back to your song. […]

Jim Morrison - The Doors

Odd Song Intros: “Light My Fire”

For most songs, an intro serves at least three purposes: Establish the key of the verse (or sometimes the chorus, if that’s different). Establish the tempo and rhythmic feel. Establish the mood. Almost any song in the pop genres that you can name will do those three things. But occasionally you’ll come across songs that […]