Guitarist - Songwriter

When a Song Fails, It’s Usually For One of These Reasons

In the long run, it’s probably more important to know why a song fails than why a song succeeds. When a song is great, your most important job is to move on and get the next tune happening. But when a song fails, you could be doomed to repeat that failure — if it’s failing […]

Books and music

Those First Few Seconds

When I’m buying a real, “hold it in your hand” book from a bookstore, particularly if it’s fiction, I have a confession to make: I am highly influenced by two things: the cover design, and the first paragraph. I wonder if it makes me seem shallow, but so be it. I notice that I just […]

Musical ideas

Good Songwriting, and the Demand for Uniqueness

I’ve had an approach to writing music that I’ve described on this blog before, which is that second ideas are often better than first ones. That shouldn’t be so surprising, since your second idea will usually take the first one as its model — whether consciously or subconsciously — and modify it. In most cases, that […]

Amanda McBroom

Controlling the Emotional Build of a Verse-Only Song

Some songs make use of a verse-only construction, and Bette Midler’s hit “The Rose” (written by Amanda McBroom) is a good example of this. There are other songs that are mainly verse-only, with a short one-line refrain, like Lennon & McCartney’s “I Want to Hold Your Hand.” Those two song formats, verse-only and verse-refrain, both have […]

Guitar - Songwriter

The Songwriting Process: Determining the Second Step

Everyone knows how important a good hook is, but that doesn’t guarantee you’ll write a good one. You need to read “Hooks and Riffs: How They Grab Attention, Make Songs Memorable, and Build Your Fan Base.” Everyone’s got their favourite way of starting songs, even if they try to change things up from one song […]

Student of songwriting

On Being a Student of Songwriting

When I go to the grocery store, I’m occasionally aware that at least 95% of everything the store offers are not items I’d ever buy. The same goes for my local (excellent) magazine store. I walk past the 95% of the magazines that pertain to wrestling, Lego, hair style, knitting, etc., and go to the […]