songwriter's challenges

Starting Songs: Building On that First Idea

A common stumbling block for songwriters is: how to continue a song once that initial song idea has been created. It can feel very discouraging, because often that first song idea happens easily, and you feel excited for what’s to come. And then… nothing. I wrote about this a week or so ago, and in […]

Chilliwack

An Appreciation of “Chilliwack”

I’ve always been a fan of the Canadian rock band “Chilliwack“, which had several hit songs on the charts starting in the early 70s. They went through several stylistic changes, starting in a kind of progressive-influence rock, then settling into a straight ahead rock style by the mid-seventies. Trying to get a handle on writing […]

Guitar chords - switching minor to major

Changing Key Without Actually Changing Key

If you’re looking for a way to make your chord progressions a bit more interesting, you’ll find that changing key is a good way to do it. You might, for example, have your verse in one key and your chorus in a different one. The most common way to do that is to use a […]

Eagles - Take It Easy

Creating Contrast With Chord Progressions in a Long Melody

Some songs, instead of using a clearcut verse and chorus structure, will instead be constructed of one long melody that has different sections. I’m thinking of a song like Eagles’ first single “Take It Easy”. If you like starting songs by working out chord progressions, you need this eBook: “Writing a Song From a Chord […]

Songwriter - Writing Lyrics First

Seven Ways to Become a Better Lyrics-First Songwriter

If you’ve been working on trying to become a better lyricist, I congratulate you. Great lyrics will be a crucial part of your eventual songwriting legacy. If you look at lists of the world’s best songwriters, you’ll notice that for most of those writers the quality of their lyrics has played an important role in […]

John Newman

Using a typical Verse to Help Write a Bridge Section

In pop songwriting, a bridge (also called a middle-eight) usually occurs after the second chorus, or, in songs that don’t use a chorus, after the second verse. For songs in verse-chorus formats, this is the common position of a song’s bridge: Verse – Chorus – Verse – Chorus – BRIDGE – Verse – Chorus – […]