Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Keep Looking: Second Ideas are Often Better Than First Ones

If you’ve had that happy circumstance where, while trying to write a song, you get some amazing ideas that appear all at once, and you manage to write that new song in one siting, within a half hour or so, I think that’s wonderful. It’s also rare. If hooks seem elusive when you’re trying to […]

Julia Michaels - "Issues"

Getting a Song Working Before the Recording Process

When we talk about musical energy or momentum, we’re often talking about how loud, quick or rhythmically complex a song is. We think of songs that have energy as songs that get us moving. But in fact, energy is more complicated than that. All songs have energy, even the very quiet, slow ballads that are […]

The songwriting journey

Organizing Your Songwriting Sessions: Breaks are Important

Most songwriters have their own kind of writing schedule that works for them. Some work best when they have a project in mind — an album, let’s say, or perhaps a show — and so they work hard, day after day, being guided by the project. And then between projects, their writing slows down, and […]

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]

Guitar, headphones and music

How Listening Makes You a Better Songwriter

As a songwriter, you do something that many people find difficult: you create new musical ideas and pull them all together into a final product called a song. You may be the kind of writer that finds it easy to do, so perhaps you’re writing a new song or two every week. But you might […]

Piano-playing songwriter

Using a Diminished-ii Chord in Major Key Songs

If your song is in a major key, you know that the ii-chord is going to be minor. So if your song is in the key of C major, the chord based on the note D will be Dm (D-F-A). And you’ll be using progressions that might be like the following: C  F  Dm  G […]