What If Your Songs Never Fully Satisfy You? Here’s How to Turn That Around

Do you ever find that while songwriting can be fun and rewarding, you rarely get that “wow, I really like what I wrote” feeling? Without having that feeling at least sometimes, you can feel more and more negative about your songwriting over time. Back in the days when I was teaching in the public school system, […]

Imogen Heap

Developing a Sense of Logical Progression in Your Songwriting

As you probably know, I use the term “musical journey” to describe a good song. I like the term mainly because it applies to pop songs that are typically short (3-4 minutes), longer, more intricate songs (5-8 minutes) or even longer prog rock-style song cycles. So describing any song as a journey is a reminder that there […]

singer-songwriter-guitarist

Some Common Novice Songwriting Mistakes – and How to Fix Them

As a songwriter, you’re going to encounter your fair share of frustration mixed in with the joy that writing music should give you. Writing something that works and sounds great gives you an incredible rush of excitement and confidence, and so when you find that your next song isn’t working, you can feel a bit […]

Rush

Astonishing Beginnings, and What They Can Do For Your Songs

Every time I hear the opening bars of “Thus Spake Zarathustra“, by Richard Strauss, even after decades of being familiar with it, I still feel an incredible sense of awe and amazement. You may not know that title, but you do know the piece: it’s the theme from “2001: a Space Odyssey.” Context is everything. […]

Beyoncé - Halo

Toplining: Which Principles of Songwriting Apply?

These days, many or most songs that are produced for broad commercial appeal (i.e., hit songs in the pop genres) use melodies written by “topliners.” A typical scenario might be that a producer sends out a pre-made instrumental track to musicians who can create melodies over these tracks. Someone comes up with melodies and lyrics to […]

The Potential Dangers of Sober Second Thought

More than many other creative endeavours, songwriting is largely an improvisatory art. That notion of improvisation largely happens on two levels: The writing of the song, which is often the spontaneous, “on-the-fly” generation of musical ideas. The performance of the song, which involves players reacting spontaneously to the ideas of bandmates. Every kind of creative activity in the arts […]