Songwriter in Home Studio

Are Songwriting Principles Genre-Specific?

In songwriting, a principle is a statement that attempts to explain why some aspect or element of music works the way it does. Principles are not rules, because a rule implies that it must (or at least should) be done a certain way in order for the music to be successful. But a principle makes […]

Guitarist - Drummer

Acknowledging the Greatness of Others to Become a Better Songwriter

There was something about the best music teachers of my youth that made me want to be better. They weren’t just good teachers; they were good musicians. Because they excelled, I wanted to excel. To excel at anything requires two things: An instinct A passion Those two qualities go hand-in-hand. It’s unlikely you’d develop a […]

Music concert microphone

Talent is a Starting Point, Not a Flag to Wave

Talent is a hard-to-define quality that generally pertains to one’s instinct or innate ability to do something well. We admire talent, but we also find it easy to roll our eyes at it. For truly successful people, talent is only a starting point. I have to agree with author Stephen King when he says: Talent […]

Folk guitarist - Songwriter

How Talent and Instinct Can Get In the Way of Good Songwriting

Good songwriting happens when someone has an instinct for it. But like anything in the arts (or in anything, come to think of it), great songwriting happens when you build on your innate talents, through study, analysis and practice. Most people who write songs have at least some level of instinct and talent, because it’s unlikely […]

Open-air Concert

How a First Impression Can Be More Important Than Clever Writing

It’s an instinct that most songwriters have: to take a song beyond what you’d normally hear in the genre, creating something innovative and unique. You don’t want to give your listeners something so unique that it sounds strange and uninviting, and you don’t want something so much like everything else that it simply bores people. It’s all […]

How Important is "Form" in the Songwriting Process?

Form, which you may also know by the words “design”, “structure”, or perhaps “outline” or “sketch,” refers to how your song changes over time. Verse, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, etc. – these are all words that speak to how a song develops, changes and grows through its 3-5 minutes. But in an art form where instinct counts for so much, is […]