Pensive songwriter

7 Common Songwriting Mistakes, and How to Avoid Them

Songwriting is problem-solving. For every song you’ve ever written that really works well, you’ve probably solved dozens or more problems that have taken you from the initial concept through to the finished product. Over the past couple of decades I’ve helped songwriters solve issues related to their songwriting, either working directly via in-person or online […]

Piano and guitar

Top 5 Tips for Chords-First Songwriting

If you like starting the songwriting process by figuring out a good chord progression, you probably like how chords very quickly convey a mood. And once you’ve got that mood, you find that other things fall into place quickly, especially a song topic, tempo, rhythmic treatment, and so on. But there are some potential problems […]

Pentatonic Melodies are Usually the Easiest to Harmonize

If you’ve been trying your hand at starting the songwriting process by writing a melody, I applaud you. It may seem tricky at first to create a melody when you haven’t come up with chords first, but once you get the hang of it, you (and your fans) will appreciate the quality of your melodies. […]

Songwriting and writer's block

You’ve Got a Chorus Hook, But What Now?

It’s quite normal to come up with a catchy chorus hook as a first step in your songwriting process, since the hook contains elements that are easily sung, played and remembered. But once that hook has been developed, you might find that your creative mind lets you down: what do you do next? If you’re trying […]

Band rehearsal session

When Songs Are Boring: Top 5 Reasons

If you want success in writing music, you need to be able to listen to your own music objectively, and to be able to judge it objectively. I’ve written a lot on this blog about how to do that (here’s one article, for example: How Objective Listening Improves Your Songwriting). To listen objectively ends up being this: […]

Microphone

How Melodies Move Up and Down Within Your Song

Good songs are almost always about contrasts. If you look closely at chord progressions, you’ll notice major and minor chords: opposites working together. With instrumentation, you’ll often see sparse, transparent sections (often the verse) contrasting with fuller, busier parts (the chorus). Contrast is an important part of what keeps listeners coming back to your song. […]