Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper

Composing Opposites as a Songwriting Exercise

On those days when you’re between songs and don’t know what to write about, you can avoid frustration — and ultimately writer’s block — if you change your focus and work on some songwriting exercises. The end result of a songwriting exercise is usually a fragment — a fragment that might or might not ever […]

Songwriting - Songwriter - Formulas

Is a Songwriting Formula Really So Bad?

If you’re a mathematician or physicist, formulas play a large role in your professional life. Formulas in that context are simply a kind of equation, and without them you don’t really have a profession. Songwriters know the word formula very well. In a songwriting context, “formula” is a word that describes a process, or perhaps set […]

Microphone - Song melody

Writing a Song Melody That Uses an Arch Shape

In 1937 Carl Orff wrote “Carmina Burana,” a 25-movement song cycle/scenic cantata that became an instant audience favourite. My choir, Dalhousie Collegium Cantorum, is working on this piece in preparation for an early-April performance, and it’s a ton of fun. Even if you aren’t familiar with the entire work, you likely do know the epic first song, “O […]

The Beatles

Why a Songwriting Process That Starts By Working Out a Hook Makes Sense

Most works of art, whether you’re talking about songwriting, poetry, the painting of a landscape, or anything else, really, are comprised of some element that acts as a focus, and then many surrounding, supporting elements. For example, you might photograph a landscape that features a beautiful pine tree as the main element — the object that immediately […]

Songwriting: Dealing With Sameness

Purchase “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-EBook Bundle (with a 7th free), and polish your songwriting skills! _______ It’s a fairly common problem in the songwriting world: when everything you write has an annoying similarity. The best songwriters out there deal with this, but what do they do? For many, it’s a matter of simply […]

Songwriting: Practicing Creativity

Songwriters need both imagination and creativity. And no, those two words are not synonymous. _____________ The two main elements that come into play when writing songs are imagination and creativity. We often use the words interchangeably, but they are quite different. Think of the imagination as a pool of thoughts and ideas, generated within our mind and […]