Songwriter working at a keyboard

Think Small to Keep Feeling Creative

What do you do when you’ve got a day — or a week or a month — where your creative juices are letting you down? What do you do when songwriting, which used to be fun, exciting and fulfilling, is now frustrating? Feeling that you’re getting nowhere with your songwriting often comes from setting the […]

Bruce Springsteen - I'm On Fire

Allowing Listeners to Create a Story With Your Song

Just this morning I went to YouTube and listened to Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” Such a powerful song, and I don’t think I had ever seen the official video before, which includes a short dramatization of Springsteen as a car mechanic being asked to repair a car by a woman we never actually see, other […]

Band rehearsal session

When Songs Are Boring: Top 5 Reasons

If you want success in writing music, you need to be able to listen to your own music objectively, and to be able to judge it objectively. I’ve written a lot on this blog about how to do that (here’s one article, for example: How Objective Listening Improves Your Songwriting). To listen objectively ends up being this: […]

Microphone

How Melodies Move Up and Down Within Your Song

Good songs are almost always about contrasts. If you look closely at chord progressions, you’ll notice major and minor chords: opposites working together. With instrumentation, you’ll often see sparse, transparent sections (often the verse) contrasting with fuller, busier parts (the chorus). Contrast is an important part of what keeps listeners coming back to your song. […]

songwriter improvising melodies and chords

Staying Excited About Songwriting Means Making Note of Your Accomplishments

Songwriting is a kind of self-improvement exercise. With each song you write, you should feel that you’ve added something positive to your definition of yourself. I think it’s fair to say that one of the things that keeps you interested in songwriting is noticing that you’re getting better. Each song you write is an accomplishment […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

How Playing Music Can Enhance Your Songwriting Abilities

One of the best ways to get inspired to write your next song is to turn your attention from writing music to playing it. As a player, you create sounds under your fingers, some of which come from other people’s songs, and some which you create spontaneously as a product of your musical imagination. Those ideas can then […]