Tom Cochrane

Songwriting: Pairing Up Instinct With Knowledge

As a songwriter, you’re always trying to get the notes of your melodies, as well as the chords that accompany them, to sound somehow magical. At least, that’s the way most audiences will perceive what you’ve done. But hopefully you know that it’s not magic. It’s not even random, even though you may use improvisation and […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

When a Song Fails, It’s Usually For One of These Reasons

In the long run, it’s probably more important to know why a song fails than why a song succeeds. When a song is great, your most important job is to move on and get the next tune happening. But when a song fails, you could be doomed to repeat that failure — if it’s failing […]

Happy New Year - 2019

What Do You Write Next?

The best songs pull you in by making you wonder what’s going to happen. You hear a nice crescendo in the instrumentation… where’s it leading? You hear a captivating twist in the chord progression… Why? Where’s it going? The lyric describes a circumstance or situation… what’s going to happen next? Good music keeps us riveted […]

Guitarist - Drummer

If Everything You Write Sounds Lousy – Keep Writing Anyway

If you write a bad song, you’re in good company. Every songwriter writes a bad one. Writing a lousy song is not a reason to stop. It’s not even proof that you’ve done something wrong. Sometimes, songs just don’t work out. If you’re ready to take your songwriting to its highest level possible, you need […]

Pensive songwriter

What Are You Doing to Improve?

What are you doing to improve as a songwriter? You’d probably answer that question by saying, “Well, I’m trying to write more“, or “I’m trying to become more consistent…” That’s one way of saying that you don’t really have a plan. No one improves without change. You want to get better at baseball? You change the […]

Gary Ewer

Improving Your Songs With Private Skype Sessions

I’ve been offering private songwriting sessions for the past few years to interested songwriters, and every spring I put out a reminder of my availability. The fall and winter are very busy times for me as I do a lot of conducting, writing and adjudicating. But once May hits, I find my schedule pleasantly freed […]