Songwriter working at a keyboard

Think Small to Keep Feeling Creative

What do you do when you’ve got a day — or a week or a month — where your creative juices are letting you down? What do you do when songwriting, which used to be fun, exciting and fulfilling, is now frustrating? Feeling that you’re getting nowhere with your songwriting often comes from setting the […]

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: […]

Singer-Songwriter

How Good Songwriters Listen to Music

As an unofficial “student of songwriting,” you’re curious. You’re not content to just enjoy music — you want to know why some songs sound great, and then you want to apply what you learn to make your own songs sound great. Simply stated, if you aren’t curious, you aren’t a songwriter. If you’re ready to […]

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 […]