Songwriter - Pianist

The Hummable Melody

I have a theory as to why so many songwriters like to start with chords: it’s because chords give you: a mood; a musical landscape; the start of a musical form. In very short order, you can easily come up with 8 bars of music when you’ve got 3 chords, even if you don’t have […]

Jack Garratt

What the Direction of Your Melodies Does For the Meaning of Your Songs

I’m a fan of any songwriting process that requires concentrating on the melody first. The main reason I like melody-first writing is that you’re concentrating on the part of a song that’s the most hummable, and the easiest for someone to remember. If there is one criticism I have of melody first processes, it’s that […]

Singer - Songwriter

When Your Newest Song Sounds Like the One You Wrote Last Week

It’s tricky, writing music that pleases your target audience. They want every song to sound unique and fresh. But at the same time, they want to hear the kind of music that attracted them to you in the first place. So you try to write something that goes in a refreshingly new direction, and they give […]

The Moody Blues - Nights in White Satin

Going From Simple to Complex In Your Songwriting Process

“Nights in White Satin” (1967) is one of The Moody Blues’ biggest hits. Most people know it in its “single” version — a bit over 4 minutes in length. But its full-length version, complete with orchestral introduction and interlude by the London Festival Orchestra, is a multi-sectional work of more than 9 minutes – a […]

Rock Concert

The Courage to Be You

People who don’t write songs (or choreograph ballets, or write plays, novels, poetry…) can be forgiven for not understanding how the word courage has anything to do with the creative arts. For any songwriter who composes truly original music, who has more of an interest in being themselves than simply giving the public what they want, knows that courage is […]

Guitarist - Singer - Songwriter

How Pretending Can Help Your Songwriting Process

I’ve seen a quote online, attributed to James Taylor, that goes, “I started being a songwriter pretending I could do it, and it turned out I could.” It’s worth thinking about that statement, because there’s a positive aspect to it, pertaining to one’s basic zeal for songwriting: “If I just dive in, acting as if […]