Musical magnifying glass

Assessing a Song to Find Its Problems

Part of being a songwriter is being able to objectively critique your own songs. That term, objectively critique, means all of the following: You can listen to your own songs as if someone else actually wrote them. You can focus in on exactly where problems may lie. You can make radical changes to your songs if necessary. […]

guitarist - songwriter

When Practice Might Not Make Perfect

We use the expression “practice makes perfect” to remind ourselves that simply knowing something isn’t enough. Once armed with knowledge, you need to put it to work for you. And that’s the practice part. In school you learned the basic concepts of mathematics. Once you acquired that knowledge, your teacher gave you endless exercises to help you […]

Student of songwriting

On Being a Student of Songwriting

When I go to the grocery store, I’m occasionally aware that at least 95% of everything the store offers are not items I’d ever buy. The same goes for my local (excellent) magazine store. I walk past the 95% of the magazines that pertain to wrestling, Lego, hair style, knitting, etc., and go to the […]

5 tips for Silencing, then Awakening, Your Inner Critic

Being critical of what you’re writing is an essential step in perfecting your craft. Anyone who wants to improve at anything needs to be able to objectively critique what they do. To not have this kind of honest reckoning with yourself as an artist means limiting how much you can improve. The problem with being […]

Guitar - piano

Following Your Heart

Everyone’s got an opinion. When it comes to your own songs, you hope everyone’s opinion is a good one. But if it isn’t, it can be discouraging. I practically never ask people what they think of anything I’ve ever written. That’s certainly not to say that I don’t ask for help or advice. When I was […]

Songwriting - List

Good Songwriting and Objective Listening

It’s a dangerous can of worms to open if you dare ask someone, “What is good music?” Most of the time, people misunderstand the question and think you’re really asking, “What are your favourite songs?”, or perhaps “What is your favourite style (genre) of music?” There is an important difference between “What is good music?” […]