songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Staying Excited About Songwriting Means Making Note of Your Accomplishments

Songwriting is a kind of self-improvement exercise. With each song you write, you should feel that you’ve added something positive to your definition of yourself. I think it’s fair to say that one of the things that keeps you interested in songwriting is noticing that you’re getting better. Each song you write is an accomplishment […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

The First Seconds of a Song – What’s Important?

In songwriting, the first notes a listener hears are vital ones. Listeners will continue with, or abandon, a song based on those first few seconds. It’s not just pop songwriters that deal with those tricky first few seconds. It’s been a challenge for composers for centuries. Once you’ve got a melody, how do you know […]

Guitar and paper for songwriting

How Good Lyrics Grab An Audience’s Attention

I had been asked to write a guest blog post for the good people at Songwriting.net (“The World’s Leading International Songwriting Competition”). They proposed several possible topics, and I settled on writing something about lyrics. My post, “How Words Change as a Song Progresses,” can be found on their site right now, and I hope […]

Imogen Heap

Finding Opposites Within Your Songs

There’s an analogy to be found that applies well to songwriting when you look at someone walking: as the right leg moves forward, the left leg moves back. If you haven’t noticed that before, you haven’t been paying attention. 😉 In music, a similar thing happens, though you may have to look a little harder […]

The One and Only Reason That People Stop Listening

I remember a university prof years ago asking us fledgling students a question: What is the one thing that all pieces of music ever written have in common? You might think that it’s a pretty easy question. Obviously, all music involves sound, right? No. John Cage’s “4’33” is a work in which the performer (usually […]

Paul Simon

Giving Your Songs A Noticeable Point of Focus

When you look at paintings, you’ll notice that most of them have a noticeable point of focus — the area of the canvas that your eye gets drawn toward. Music is not much different; in most songs, you’ll notice that there’s a point of focus. The only difference is that in songs, you usually have […]