Audience at a rock concert

The Power of the People

I’m not a photographer (not a good one, anyway), but I’d rather see photos with people in them than without, no matter how exciting the landmark is that I’m shooting. The simple reason is that we make connections to people more so than to inanimate objects. There’s more to a song hook than meets the […]

Linda Creed - Thom Bell

When Melodies Leap Upward

There’s no denying that the shape of a melody has a lot to do with the mood of music. However, melodic shape is a tricky one to calculate. It’s not based on a rule as much as it’s based on psychology. On a psychological level, we know, for example, that: melodies that are static, sitting […]

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 […]

Songer - Songwriter

Why I Like the Melody-First Process When Composing Music

When I’m writing original music — which is to say, composing, not arranging someone else’s tune — I practically always do some kind of melody-first method. When you hear a problem with your song, but don’t know how to solve it, you might find the answer in “Fix Your Songwriting Problems – NOW!” Get this eBook separately, […]

Songwriter - editing music

The Partnership of Musical Elements Within Good Songs

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog post about song hooks, and how to diagnose problems you might be having with the hook for your song: “When Your Song’s Hook Isn’t Doing Its Job.” In that article I gave a list of four important characteristics of good hooks. “Hooks and Riffs: How They […]

Concert audience

Bach and Today’s Songwriters – Not So Far Apart

Tonight I have the thrill of conducting a performance of J.S. Bach’s “St. John Passion,” so I’ve had my head a little out of songwriting world while concentrating on preparing for that performance. I’ve mentioned Bach often on this blog in the past. And mostly because the way Bach composed is not that far off from […]