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. […]

songwriter

The Break Between Songwriting Sessions – What’s Optimum?

A number of years ago I was teaching music in the public school system. I had several choirs. One of them, a medium-sized high school auditioned choir (45 members), rehearsed with me once a week for two hours. Another was a smaller jazz choir (20 members), which rehearsed twice a week, but only 35 minutes […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Keep Looking: Second Ideas are Often Better Than First Ones

If you’ve had that happy circumstance where, while trying to write a song, you get some amazing ideas that appear all at once, and you manage to write that new song in one siting, within a half hour or so, I think that’s wonderful. It’s also rare. If hooks seem elusive when you’re trying to […]