Demanding Attention in the Songwriting World

Part of my job is to conduct performing groups, mostly choirs and orchestras these days. I find myself often using a phrase with performers of music which has particular relevance to the songwriting world: “Don’t let the fact that you’re the only sound going on in the room be the reason why people are listening.” […]

Make Your Lyrics Better: Find the Natural Pulse

Most song lyrics fall into one of two categories: 1) poetry, or 2) common narrative. My experience is that songwriters often worry too much about trying to create something poetic, when it’s not really necessary. You don’t need to be a T. S. Eliot or a Longfellow to write a lyric that gets the job […]

Point Blank Online Music College: Songwriting Competition

Point Blank Online Music College is currently running a songwriting competition that looks interesting, and has some great prizes. If you’re an up & coming writer, it’s definitely worth checking this out. The competition offers the opportunity for entrants to write a song onto an instrumental backing track created by songwriter/producer Jony Rockstar, who has […]

The 5 Most Important Things to Know About Creating Melodies

Why is it that I hear the term “killer chord progression” all the time, but I hardly ever hear anyone talk about a “killer melody.” Frankly, as long as your chord progression merely works, you’ve got something that can produce a hit song. But melodies – they have to do more than work. They need […]

6 Ways of Dealing With That Dreaded Scourge: Writer's Block

No matter how proficient a songwriter you are, it will happen. You’ll go through a protracted period of time where the ideas just seem to dry up, and you can’t seem to get beyond a few unrelated musical thoughts that go nowhere. Writer’s block hits everyone, but the good news is that there are things […]

The Role of the Tonic Note and Chord in Songwriting

The term “tonic” refers to the first note of a scale, and also to the chord that is built upon that note. In A major, A is the tonic note, and the chord built on it (A-C#-E) is the tonic chord. It’s an important note and chord because it so happens that they usually appear […]