The Weeknd

Creating Effective Song Hooks

Most of the time when you talk about the hook of a song, you’re talking about the main, distinctive part of the chorus. There are many different ways to hook a listener, but you could argue that the chorus hook is the most important one, as it gives listeners the most memorable part of the […]

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 […]

Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper

Composing Opposites as a Songwriting Exercise

On those days when you’re between songs and don’t know what to write about, you can avoid frustration — and ultimately writer’s block — if you change your focus and work on some songwriting exercises. The end result of a songwriting exercise is usually a fragment — a fragment that might or might not ever […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

Technique and Musicianship: Improving as a Songwriter

If you’re an instrumentalist, you know that practice is an important part of getting better. Practice requires you to put a magnifying glass on your technique — and sometimes your musicianship — and focus in on what you find difficult. Some instrumentalists maintain that they make their best improvements by simply playing, rather than by working out […]

Piano keyboard and guitar

5 Tips for Pulling the Separate Elements of a Song Together

It’s an important principle in songwriting that all elements of a song — lyrics, chords, melodies, even instrumentation — act as partners within a song. In other words, lyrics, for example, will be at their best when the chords seem to communicate the mood and meaning of the words. Similarly, the melodies will bring the […]

Songwriting and the Value of Sketching Ideas

Every artist sketches. In most artistic fields, the idea of sketching — of scribbling down ideas and working on them separate from a larger work — is common. Before creating a larger work, an artist will typically sketch out the ideas, work on angles and perspective, and generally try to get it right in sketch form before committing […]