Folk Singer - Songwriter

Copying Your Own Songwriting Success

There’s nothing quite like the warm feeling you get when your audience loves your latest song. And naturally, you want to be able to copy your success; who wouldn’t? Replicating your own success is important in the sense that in songwriting, consistency is everything. The industry isn’t much interested in songwriters who write one good […]

Songwriting - Form

Writing an Effective Song Refrain

At first glance you might think of a song’s refrain as simply being a shorter version of a chorus. But they’re actually quite different. Choruses are usually complete structures that can be repeated over and over easily, as we notice with final chorus repeats of most pop songs. But a refrain isn’t a complete structure; […]

Songwriter Listening

Putting Your Inner Songwriting Student to Work

When was the last time you put your inner student to work and analyzed a song? If you’re like most songwriters, the act of writing itself is how you learn. As you work out melodies, lyrics and chords that partner up well with each other, you usually become better, assuming of course that you aren’t […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Getting Ideas When a Line of Lyric is Missing

One bad line of lyric can make an entire verse or chorus sound lame. So what do you do when you’ve got a verse that you really like, except that there’s that one line that just seems to be elusive: you just can’t come up with anything. It might be that the line in question […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Starting Songwriting Sessions With a Musical Game

For most songwriters, the way their craft gets practiced is to do more writing. There’s nothing wrong with that, but sometimes doing exercises that target specific songwriting skills is the best way to take what you do to the next level. A number of years ago I came up with five “games” that target specific areas […]

Mumford and Sons

3 Verse-Chorus Chord Progression Partners: Changing Key

Most of the time, if there is a difference in key between a verse and chorus, it’s the kind of thing where a verse will be in minor, switching to the relative major for the chorus. Then you get songs like “Little Lion Man” by Mumford & Sons, which switches quite freely back and forth […]