Keyboardist songwriter

Instrumental Music: What Do You Want Your Listeners to Hum?

A number of years ago when I was looking to buy a house, the real estate agent I was using was explaining some of the terminology to me. I found it humorous, for some reason, to find out that the term “improvement” was used to describe the house I was considering. As I understand it, […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

When a Song Fails, It’s Usually For One of These Reasons

In the long run, it’s probably more important to know why a song fails than why a song succeeds. When a song is great, your most important job is to move on and get the next tune happening. But when a song fails, you could be doomed to repeat that failure — if it’s failing […]

Calvin Harris

The Power of Patterns In the Writing of Song Melodies

You’ll sometimes see discussions amongst songwriters on the topic of how many notes a good melody should have. In other words, how much of a  range, when you compare the lowest notes to the highest ones, should there be when considering good melodies? History tells us that there’s no good answer to that question, because […]

Songwriter at piano

Breaking Away From Using the Same Old Chords

There is a kind of musical “muscle memory,” where we keep relying on the same musical ideas as we write our songs. Practically every songwriter is familiar with it: similar sounding melodies, the same (or almost the same) chord progressions, the same kinds of lyrics, and so on. A bit of similarity between songs you […]

Guitar - Songwriter

The Songwriting Process: Determining the Second Step

Everyone knows how important a good hook is, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll write a good one. You need to read “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base.” Everyone’s got their favourite way of starting songs, even if they try to change things up from one song […]

Songwriter with guitar and paper

Writing a Good Song Melody: It’s Not a Random Process

There’s so much about songwriting that seems random. You could choose practically any chord progression, any melodic shape, any hook, any combination of words for the lyric. So when you look at it that way, it seems that randomness is a key feature of songs. The success of a pop song often comes down to […]