A cluttered workspace

A First Step to Keeping Your Songwriting Output From Fizzling

I’ve always felt that the first step to keeping your songwriting output from fizzling is to have a well organized, tidy workspace. I don’t want to present myself as the model for this: I try, but like most people, my workspace can get a bit out of control. If you think it’s time to put […]

Pat Metheny

Melodies, Chords and Feel – Musical Ideas from Pat Metheny

I’ve been watching Rick Beato’s interview with jazz guitarist Pat Metheny. It’s really great, and filled with a ton of information that’s incredibly helpful for musicians trying to make a go of it in the professional music world. I think what I love about it is that there’s very little time spent talking about gear, […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

How Playing Music Can Enhance Your Songwriting Abilities

One of the best ways to get inspired to write your next song is to turn your attention from writing music to playing it. As a player, you create sounds under your fingers, some of which come from other people’s songs, and some which you create spontaneously as a product of your musical imagination. Those ideas can then […]

Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

guitarist - songwriter

The Use of Chord Inversions in Pop Songwriting

An inverted chord is one in which the lowest-sounding note of the chord at any given moment is not the root of the chord. Inversions have a subtle way of manipulating the mood that a particular chord conveys, and can be a really great tool for songwriters looking to make their chord choices sound more sophisticated. […]

guitar - keyboard - headphones

The Missing Step For Improving Your Songwriting: Training Your Ear

If you’re looking to become a better songwriter, don’t forget about improving your ear. Being able to identify chords, rhythms and melodies by ear is helpful in two major ways: It speeds up the songwriting process. You may have a certain chord or melody note in your mind but may not have the ability to […]