Paul McCartney

What is Song Form, and What Makes It So Important?

It would be a no-brainer to say that I think Paul McCartney discovered things about songwriting that many other writers just don’t ever get to know. But one aspect of his writing that I think has contributed to his success is his very loose concept of what song form is. Most of the time when […]

Writing song lyrics

The Best Lyrics Have Lines That “Progress”

One way I like to think of good songwriting, or good anything in the creative arts, is that it always makes me think something even better is about to happen; a good song keeps me hooked and listening for the next moment. Chord progressions are the most obvious example of this concept. If you take […]

Songwriter - Synth

Your Songwriting Success: It Always Comes Down to the Quality of the Song

It may seem to you that those songwriters who have had great success just have the right people in their corner. They’ve had the best chances, and quite possibly a healthy dose of good luck. And while all those things are probably true, there’s one thing that’s got to be in place before any of […]

Guitar and paper

Thoughts on How to Start a Song

I can say at the outset that there is no one way to write a song, and certainly no one way to begin the process. Songs are judged by how they sound in their finished form, and if the song’s a great one, how you got there — at least at that point — becomes […]

Songwriting relaxation ideas

What’s the Difference Between a Rule and a Principle in Songwriting?

You’ll hear lots of songwriters say that there are no rules in songwriting. But while that may be the case, every one of us has written a song that we think really works well, and other songs that we have to admit are real turkeys, and we toss them aside. So if something can be […]

Melody-first songwriting

What’s Better: Melody First, or Chords First Songwriting?

The title of this blog post sounds like a trick question, because you’d probably think that I’m going to say, “Neither is best – it’s whatever suits the musical ideas rolling around in your mind at any given time.” That, of course, is logically the best answer. But for me, I’ve always found melody-first songwriting […]