John Mellencamp - Peaceful World

Two Simple Tricks to Make Your Song Stand Out From the Rest

Visit the Online Store for all your songwriting materials, including “The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” eBooks, plus the video-based “Easy Music Theory” course. Songwriters have a tricky relationship with predictability. A successful song is usually one that is innovative enough to stand out from all other songs, but similar enough to everything else (i.e., predictable enough) that […]

Songwriting, creativity and boredom

How to Use Boredom to Become a Better Songwriter

A year or so ago, I wrote a post about the power of boredom to songwriters. In short, the research is showing that people who are bored score higher in creativity tests. This morning I was listening to a program on CBC Radio 1 called “Ripple Effect.” Part of the show was devoted to the […]

Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody

The Power and Danger of Musical Innovation

There is a reason why treating the principles of good songwriting as if they were rules is a bad idea: you might inadvertently kill a good song. If good musical composition were guided by rules, many number 1 hits would likely have been tossed into the trash bin due to the fact that they did something […]

Keyboard & Guitar

How Do You Settle On a Songwriting Process?

When you ask songwriters to describe their songwriting process, the answer you invariably get is, “It depends…” That’s the answer we tend to expect, and of course it really does depend, doesn’t it? If you are like most songwriters, you’ll find that a short fragment of music will plant itself in your brain, and that […]

Folk band concert

The 3 Most Important Components of a Good Song Hook

“It’s all about the hook,” you’ll often be told, when it comes to successful pop songwriting. The only problem with that assertion is that it makes it seem as though other song elements aren’t quite as important. A hook grabs attention, to be sure, but doesn’t excuse you from making sure that the overall structure […]

Rock Concert

Being Original When Everyone Wants “Same Old”

There is a tricky balancing act that is undertaken by any and every successful singer-songwriter: how to be innovative enough that audiences get to hear something fresh and new, but similar enough to your previous music that you don’t scare your fans away. It all comes from trust. Your fans learn to trust you and […]