Songwriting guitarist

Songwriting: Knowing the Principles Helps You to Avoid Random Success

Songwriting success is great. Random success isn’t, because it means a lack of consistency. Lately I’ve been writing about the importance of songwriting principles. While a rule is something that must be followed, a principle does nothing more than guide the songwriter. Most of the time those principles exist because it’s the way we like to hear music. When we […]

Songwriter on a new path

Comfort Zone

We humans have an innate tendency to stay within our comfort zone, at least most of us. There are risk-takers out there, but more often than not we like predictability in almost everything we do. There’s nothing wrong with staying within a comfort zone, but if you’re a songwriter, writing the same way — staying […]

Band Improvising

Overcoming Songwriting Paralysis: Improvising Your Way Through the Tough Times

Every songwriter experiences “feeling stuck”. You get a good idea for a new song, but then you just don’t know where it should go from there. There is an expression — and you hear it a lot in the creative arts — that applies here: paralysis by analysis (or analysis paralysis). If you like starting songs by […]

songwriter - guitarist

The Rarity of the Fully-Formed Song

There’s probably nothing like the excitement you feel when you get an entire song appearing, more or less fully-formed, in your brain all at once. Forget improvising, experimenting or jamming… you just wake up, and there it is! There are songwriters who claim to have had songs appear fully-formed in their minds. Paul McCartney’s description […]

Guitar - chords - songwriter

Minor Verse to Major Chorus – the Easy Way

If you like the sound of a minor verse moving to a major chorus, you’re in good company. Many songs move from minor to major. That natural “brightening” of the sound just seems to work really well. To hear this in action, you might listen to Carole King’s “You’ve Got a Friend,” Justin Timberlake’s “Mirrors”, or […]

When Improvising Doesn’t Result in a Song

Do you ever find that you spend a lot of time improvising on ideas, but often not able to come up with a song? Improvising plays a crucial role in musical composition of any style, so what’s happening when you’re improvising but there’s no song to show for your efforts? An analogy might help here. […]