MIck Jagger / Keith Richards

Songwriting: Separating the Writing of Lyrics From the Writing of Music

The power and strength of your lyrics is an important part of how future audiences will rate you as a songwriter. It’s true that some fantastic songs have had pretty mundane lyrics. “I Love Rock ‘n Roll”, written by Alan Merrill and Jake Hooker, and made most famous by Joan Jett’s 1982 recording, is in […]

Singer-Songwriter

Making Verse Melodies Sound Better By Thinking Ahead to the Chorus

If one of your songwriting struggles is to get the verse and chorus melodies to sound like good musical partners, you may be surprised to find that the answer may not be to make them similar. Sometimes good verse-chorus partnerships happen when those two melodies have very different structural qualities. When it comes to making […]

Bob Dylan

Your Songs: Do You Have Anything Interesting To Say?

If you’ve got the gift of gab, you’ve an an ability to engage others in conversation and to keep them interested. If you think about the people in your life that you love having a conversation with, the following statements are probably true: They find interesting things to talk about. They can speak eloquently. They […]

guitarist - songwriter

Songwriting, and Mastering the Short Musical Journey

Symphonies and operas are probably the longest complete works in our musical history. By the time you get to the end of the Romantic era (i.e., the end of the 19th century), a typical symphony (or symphony-like work) could be over an hour long. By contrast, songs in the pop genres (pop, country, rock, etc.) […]

Lenny Kravitz

When Simplicity Rocks: Lenny Kravitz and “Fly Away”

Twenty-one years ago Lenny Kravitz released “Fly Away“, the fourth single from his fifth studio album, ‘5‘. If you’re not sure you know the song, you’ve likely heard it as the soundtrack for travel agencies, car companies and more, like this Nissan commercial from 2011. If you’re ready to study — to learn why a great song […]

Sam Cooke

Coming Up With Fresh Song Topics When You’re Out of Ideas

Deciding what your next song could or should be about can stop your creative process in its tracks if you let it. You’ll be happy to know that great songs don’t need to be profound. True, some of the songs we acknowledge as being the greatest ones are about deep, philosophical/social issues: “Like a Rolling […]