Headphones and keyboard

How Objective Listening Improves Your Songwriting

The more curious you are about the songs you hear, the more likely it is that you’ll improve your own songwriting technique. If you’re the kind of person who always wonders, “What was that chord?”, “How did they do that?”, or “What’s going on at that spot in the song?”, you’re also likely to be […]

Bruce Springsteen

Songwriting and Finding Your Own Voice

Put the words “songwriting” and “voice” together in a sentence, and you’d think I’m talking about singing. But there’s another aspect of songwriting and voice that comes about when talking about musical honesty. Here’s more about what I mean by that. If, once you’ve written a song, you ask a roomful of people what they […]

Starship - We Built This City

Starship, We Built This City, and Musical Honesty

Every once in a while I see it: an online reference to “We Built This City,” a 1980s smash hit for Starship, now considered in most polls to be the worst song of all time. And just yesterday I saw a 2016 article that I hadn’t read before: “An Oral History of “We Built This […]

Microphone

Interviewing Yourself Can Show Your Songwriting Strengths and Weaknesses

You should assume that with every song you write, some will love it and some won’t. What you hope for is that the vast majority will be in the righthand side of that bell curve, where most people will either like or love it, and hopefully a small minority will dislike or hate it. And […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Problem Solving in a Songwriter’s World

What a world we live in. At the touch of a smartphone button, we can get the answer to anything we want to know. Tomorrow’s weather? Stock prices? What’s the migration path of the red-shouldered hawk? It’s our 21st-century world, and, leaving social media aside for the moment, there’s practically nothing bad to be said […]

Writing About What You Don’t Know

You’ll hear people say that there’s a kind of honesty in songwriting that comes from writing about the things that you know and have experienced. When you write about things you don’t know, they say, there’s an insincerity problem that you need to overcome. I’m not sure I believe that. I like to take a […]