Songwriter - editing music

The Confidence to be Honest as a Songwriter

You’ve got little to no hope of achieving your goals in songwriting, or any of the creative arts, if you don’t have the confidence to be honest about your songs. Confidence refers to your ability to stand behind and believe in your songs even though others might dislike them. Honesty refers to your ability to hear […]

Taking the Time Component Out of Your Song

Time is the one thing all music has in common. Whether we’re talking about a symphony, a pop song, a jazz ballad — whether it’s hip hop, ska, r&b — all music takes time. A start, a middle, and an ending. When we’re writing a song, we’re (either consciously or subconsciously) always considering some aspect […]

Singer-Songwriter - Recording Studio

Opting for a Refrain Instead of a Chorus

In common usage within the pop genres, a refrain is a closing line at the end of a verse, usually used in place of a chorus. A classic example is Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are a-Changin’”. “Chord Progression Formulas” shows you how to create dozens of great progressions practically instantly by using some powerful […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Keep Looking: Second Ideas are Often Better Than First Ones

If you’ve had that happy circumstance where, while trying to write a song, you get some amazing ideas that appear all at once, and you manage to write that new song in one siting, within a half hour or so, I think that’s wonderful. It’s also rare. If hooks seem elusive when you’re trying to […]

Julia Michaels - "Issues"

Getting a Song Working Before the Recording Process

When we talk about musical energy or momentum, we’re often talking about how loud, quick or rhythmically complex a song is. We think of songs that have energy as songs that get us moving. But in fact, energy is more complicated than that. All songs have energy, even the very quiet, slow ballads that are […]

Sam Smith - I'm Not the Only One

Creating a Verse and Chorus Over the Same Chord Progression

It sometimes amazes me how different a verse and chorus can be from each other. The classic example of this is probably Paul Simon’s “My Little Town“, which features a long meandering verse with a complex chord progression, syncopations and changing time signatures. The chorus changes character almost completely, offering a very short, catchy hook […]