Songwriter - Pianist

When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job

A hook has several defining attributes that all partner together to make it memorable and catchy: It’s main identifying characteristic is its shortness, making it easy to remember. It has a melodic component that frequently includes some sort of leap, usually upward (“Born in the U.S.A.”). It has a rhythmic component that frequently includes a […]

guitarist - songwriter

When Practice Might Not Make Perfect

We use the expression “practice makes perfect” to remind ourselves that simply knowing something isn’t enough. Once armed with knowledge, you need to put it to work for you. And that’s the practice part. In school you learned the basic concepts of mathematics. Once you acquired that knowledge, your teacher gave you endless exercises to help you […]

Emotional audience

Song Topic is Important, But There Are Things Even More Vital

Don’t miss out on a free copy of “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process.” It’s free when you purchase “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting 10-eBook Bundle” How do you choose a song topic? There are lots of ways to do it. I’ve known songwriters who gather ideas from the newspaper. Others who make […]

Musical ideas

Good Songwriting, and the Demand for Uniqueness

I’ve had an approach to writing music that I’ve described on this blog before, which is that second ideas are often better than first ones. That shouldn’t be so surprising, since your second idea will usually take the first one as its model — whether consciously or subconsciously — and modify it. In most cases, that […]

Be Careful With Sadness in Sad Songs

There’s something about reliving bad moments in our lives that we find good, in a weird sort of way. Sad songs work for that reason, and in fact, a recent study shows that we love to be reminded of sadness in our lives, if those reminders happen in song. If you’re trying to make your […]

5 tips for Silencing, then Awakening, Your Inner Critic

Being critical of what you’re writing is an essential step in perfecting your craft. Anyone who wants to improve at anything needs to be able to objectively critique what they do. To not have this kind of honest reckoning with yourself as an artist means limiting how much you can improve. The problem with being […]