Songwriting duo

In Songwriting, Does the End Justify the Means?

If, in the end, you get what you want, does it really matter how you got there? If you ask that question in some settings, it’s a loaded one, with intense moral implications: if you were able to get enough money to finally buy that car you’ve always wanted, great. If you got that money […]

Keyboardist songwriter

Chords or Melody: Where Should You Put Your Focus?

Some songwriters start their process by working out a good chord progression as a first step. From there, they automatically create a backing rhythm that brings that progression to life. Once they’ve done that, the mood it generates makes them feel comfortable coming up with bits of melody and lyric, and the song starts to […]

Tom Petty

How Making a Line Drawing of Your Melody Makes It Better

The best song melodies are the ones that have a definable shape. You may not have ever thought of a melody in terms of its shape, but all that means is that good melodies: use recognizable, memorable patterns, and… can be described generally when it comes to its overall design. Let’s look at those two […]

songwriter - guitarist

Sample Chord Progressions For the Various Sections of Your Song

If you’re a chords-first songwriter, sometimes all you’re really needing are some chord progression suggestions that you can experiment with. Once you’ve got chords that you like, it frees you up to move to other more important aspects of a song, like lyrics and melody. If you like the chords-first songwriting process, you’ll want to […]

Songwriter with guitar and paper

Writing a Good Song Melody: It’s Not a Random Process

There’s so much about songwriting that seems random. You could choose practically any chord progression, any melodic shape, any hook, any combination of words for the lyric. So when you look at it that way, it seems that randomness is a key feature of songs. The success of a pop song often comes down to […]

Pensive songwriter

What Are You Doing to Improve?

What are you doing to improve as a songwriter? You’d probably answer that question by saying, “Well, I’m trying to write more“, or “I’m trying to become more consistent…” That’s one way of saying that you don’t really have a plan. No one improves without change. You want to get better at baseball? You change the […]