Bruce Springsteen

Tips for Writing a Verse-Refrain-Bridge Song

Writing a song that’s mainly a set of verses, each one ending with a pay-off line, has a simplicity that really works well. The pay-off line– a refrain — often sneaks into the song at first, without it being obvious that it’s operating as a powerful closer that’s going to keep coming back. Bruce Springsteen’s “All That […]

Guitar, paper & pencil, smartphone

Dealing With “I Can’t Finish a Song” Syndrome

We tend to think that the only people with any measure of musical ability are the ones that have a special gift for it. And while being a good musician requires a bit more than a passing understanding of how music works, musicianship is something that comes with being human. It’s in our DNA. The kind […]

Songwriting - Piano and guitar

Make Improvisation a Smarter Part of Your Songwriting Process

Improvisation is an important part artistic creation. Who knows where those very first ideas come from — the ones that pop into your mind as you’re walking down the street or sitting on a bus. But almost everything that follows, at least for most songwriters, happens through improvisation. In that context, improvisation means using your […]

Imogen Heap

Developing a Sense of Logical Progression in Your Songwriting

As you probably know, I use the term “musical journey” to describe a good song. I like the term mainly because it applies to pop songs that are typically short (3-4 minutes), longer, more intricate songs (5-8 minutes) or even longer prog rock-style song cycles. So describing any song as a journey is a reminder that there […]

8 Tips for Making Melodies and Lyrics Your Songs’ Best Features

Songs are vehicles that take a listener on a 3-4 minute journey. However interesting and captivating that journey is, that’s the measure of a song’s success. Since songs are partnerships of many different elements all working together — melodies, lyrics, chords, instrumentation/production, tempo, time signature and more — it can seem to be a daunting task […]

Piano

Creating Melodies When You Use the Chords-First Method

One of the biggest drawbacks to starting your songs by working out a chord progression is that melodies can get a bit neglected. Historically, composers in the Classical realm rarely if ever started compositions with just chords. They’d practically always start with something hummable (a melody), or something otherwise memorable (the lyrics, perhaps). And since […]