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 […]

Books and music

Those First Few Seconds

When I’m buying a real, “hold it in your hand” book from a bookstore, particularly if it’s fiction, I have a confession to make: I am highly influenced by two things: the cover design, and the first paragraph. I wonder if it makes me seem shallow, but so be it. I notice that I just […]

Taylor Swift - I Did Something Bad

Using the Verse to Power Up the Chorus Hook

For most songs, if you speak of the hook, you’re talking about the chorus, and most likely the start of the chorus. Sometimes the hooky bit might be the end of the chorus, like Jimmy Gilmer and the Fireballs’ 1963 hit “Sugar Shack”. For pop songs, the hook has been a perennially essential ingredient. Because […]

Songwriting - Editing Lyrics

The Power (and Necessity) of Editing Your Songs

The best editing in the creative arts makes things shorter, not longer. That’s not a rule, and it’s not exclusively true, but it’s almost always the case. Pop songs tend to be 3-4 minutes in length. That’s usually because of the subject matter. People think it’s because we don’t have attention spans that will allow […]

Eminim - Lose Yourself

Making Your Song Intro More Captivating

Intros are meant to identify a song, and, more importantly, entice people to keep listening. They do this usually by setting up the mood, the key and tempo (though not necessarily, as you’ll see below). A good intro acts an identifying banner or flag for the rest of the song. If you find yourself always […]

Piano - Songwriter

Can Songs Be Too Short?

Over the past number of years, I’ve worked with songwriters mostly via email and/or Skype. Every songwriter has their issues, the problems they’re trying to solve. If I were to make a list of every problem songwriters are dealing with, a song that’s too short wouldn’t be on it. Let me qualify that. There are lots of […]