guitarist - songwriter

Getting a Weird Chord Progression Working: 2 Methods

Most songs in the pop genres use simple chord progressions. “Simple” means that they target the tonic chord — the chord that represents the song’s key — and make that tonic chord sound like “home.” These sorts of progressions: C-F-G7-C (I-IV-V7-I) C-Am-Dm-G-C (I-vi-ii-V-I) C-Dm-G-C (I-ii-V-I) These are all in the key of C major, and […]

Songwriter in Home Studio

Fixing a Bad Song: Considering These 3 Songwriting Truths

It happens to everyone – the closer you get to finishing your song, the more you realize you hate it. It’s just not working. You can’t even tell where the problems are, so you don’t know how to fix it. Most of these songs never get finished, because you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns: […]

Songwriter's checklist

Analyzing Problem Songs

When a listener doesn’t like a song you’ve written, they don’t spend a lot of time thinking about it. They’re unlikely to analyze what they don’t like about a song. They’re more inclined to simply move on. That’s a problem for you, of course, because you need to know why! If you’ve written something that you […]

Musical magnifying glass

Assessing a Song to Find Its Problems

Part of being a songwriter is being able to objectively critique your own songs. That term, objectively critique, means all of the following: You can listen to your own songs as if someone else actually wrote them. You can focus in on exactly where problems may lie. You can make radical changes to your songs if necessary. […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Problem Solving in a Songwriter’s World

What a world we live in. At the touch of a smartphone button, we can get the answer to anything we want to know. Tomorrow’s weather? Stock prices? What’s the migration path of the red-shouldered hawk? It’s our 21st-century world, and, leaving social media aside for the moment, there’s practically nothing bad to be said […]