guitarist - songwriter

5 Important Lessons I Learned Over the Years as a Composer of Music

Like anyone who writes music, I could probably write a book regarding advice I’ve been given over the years — advice that’s helped shape the musician I’ve become. The best lessons I’ve learned have come from individuals, not necessarily from the pages of a book. That’s not because books aren’t good; it’s more because I […]

Musical magnifying glass

Assessing a Song to Find Its Problems

Part of being a songwriter is being able to objectively critique your own songs. That term, objectively critique, means all of the following: You can listen to your own songs as if someone else actually wrote them. You can focus in on exactly where problems may lie. You can make radical changes to your songs if necessary. […]

Guitarist - Drummer

If Everything You Write Sounds Lousy – Keep Writing Anyway

If you write a bad song, you’re in good company. Every songwriter writes a bad one. Writing a lousy song is not a reason to stop. It’s not even proof that you’ve done something wrong. Sometimes, songs just don’t work out. If you’re ready to take your songwriting to its highest level possible, you need […]

Brian May - The Prophet's Song

Strangeness as a Design Feature in Songs

When I was a student at McGill University back in the mid 80s, I heard a performance of a remarkable piece of music called Opus Clavicembalisticum, written by the composer Kaikhosru Shapurji Sorabji, born in London, England. When it was written (1930), Opus Clavicembalisticum was the longest piece of piano music ever written: 4-and-a-half hours in length. The […]