songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Improving Your Ability to Imagine Melodies

If the songs you write come about as a result of improvising — either by yourself or with other songwriters/players — you probably find that the various components of a song come together in layers. A bit of this, a bit of that, and it all eventually glues together. If you’re writing songs by yourself, […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Confidence to be Honest as a Songwriter

You’ve got little to no hope of achieving your goals in songwriting, or any of the creative arts, if you don’t have the confidence to be honest about your songs. Confidence refers to your ability to stand behind and believe in your songs even though others might dislike them. Honesty refers to your ability to hear […]

Lorde - Writer in the Dark

Balancing the Unique With the Heartfelt

Every songwriter I know wants to write something unique, and you don’t even need to wonder why. Simply put, uniqueness means it hasn’t been done before, and there’s no better way to set yourself apart from other songwriters than to write something that hasn’t been done quite that way before. While that may be true, […]

Taking the Time Component Out of Your Song

Time is the one thing all music has in common. Whether we’re talking about a symphony, a pop song, a jazz ballad — whether it’s hip hop, ska, r&b — all music takes time. A start, a middle, and an ending. When we’re writing a song, we’re (either consciously or subconsciously) always considering some aspect […]

3 Simple Things To Make a Chord Progression More Interesting

If you don’t like a progression you’ve just come up with, the obvious solution, of course, is to toss it and go looking for another one. But there’s actually another option: try one of the following three chord progression treatments. For each of these ideas, you keep the basic progression the same, but you make […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]