Keyboard and Headphones

Songwriting Simplicity is Good; Mindlessness Not So Much

If you ask someone my age (a child of the 1960s, a teen of the 1970s) what they think of today’s pop music, you’ll probably get an earful. Most negative opinions of today’s music will come down to the fact that songs today seem uninspiring, noisy and mindless. “The melodies aren’t interesting”; “The chords are […]

Mic in a sound studio

Going Old-School: Separating Songwriting From Production

One of the benefits of being a songwriter in the 21st century is you have an incredible array of computer-based tools at your disposal. Like at no other time in history, you can do up a polished, professional end product with not much more than a mobile phone and a good mic. Thousands of songwriters […]

Guitar, Pencil & Paper

Summarizing as a Technique for Improving Lyrics

One of the most common problems songwriters mention with regard to lyrics is that they can sound muddled and aimless. And that can be a tough problem to solve. When you write lyrics, you’re usually trying to be at least somewhat poetic. And things can sound confusing and disorganized pretty quickly when you’re trying to […]

Tom Petty

How Making a Line Drawing of Your Melody Makes It Better

The best song melodies are the ones that have a definable shape. You may not have ever thought of a melody in terms of its shape, but all that means is that good melodies: use recognizable, memorable patterns, and… can be described generally when it comes to its overall design. Let’s look at those two […]

Guitar, paper & pencil, smartphone

Music Theory That’s Perfect For Today’s New Learning Situations

School’s back in for most students in North America, and some have been back for a couple of weeks now. For many, schooling looks very different: masks, social distancing, and all the other health protocols that have become standard in most areas of the U.S. and Canada. Some schools have switched to an online format, […]

Pensive songwriter

And Now For Something Completely Different

If every song you write bears a striking resemblance to the ones that came before it, you’ll struggle to build on your fan base. That’s because your fans will think they’ve heard it all before, and start to lose the belief that you’ll come up with something different. It’s tricky, though. For most singer-songwriters, if […]