Sam Cooke

Coming Up With Fresh Song Topics When You’re Out of Ideas

Deciding what your next song could or should be about can stop your creative process in its tracks if you let it. You’ll be happy to know that great songs don’t need to be profound. True, some of the songs we acknowledge as being the greatest ones are about deep, philosophical/social issues: “Like a Rolling […]

Eric Church

Creating Expectation in a Song Lyric

Lately I’ve been thinking and writing a lot about musical momentum… that quality that keeps people listening to a song. Without it, songs would just be one nice sound following another nice sound, and though it may seem strange to say, that’s not enough to keep people listening. There’s a sense of expectation that keeps people […]

Songwriter- Writer's Block

What You Can Copy From Another Song

We all know that songs need to be unique. You can’t take someone’s melody or lyrics and call them your own. Most songwriters know, though, that chord progressions aren’t generally protected by copyright. So that’s certainly one element of a song that you can take and use, guilt-free. If you’re trying to develop a lyrics-first […]

Guitarist - Drummer

Tips for Writing a Great Song Hook

Even non-musicians have an idea of what the hook of a song is: it’s the short, memorable bit that comes immediately to mind when you ask someone, “Hey, do you know the song ____?” Back in the 70s, if you asked someone, “Hey, do you know the song “Stayin’ Alive”, they’d immediately sing, “Ah, ah, […]

Songwriter - Guitarist

Tips and Tricks for Starting Songs

If you find it hard to finish songs, this may be the cause: You haven’t started properly. You’re too focused on pulling all the elements of a good song together, and you don’t yet have one good main idea. You’re starting too big. You vamp away on two or three chords, and hope a song happens. If […]

John Lennon - Yoko Ono

Discovering the Power of Musical Momentum: John Lennon’s “Imagine”

In songwriting, momentum is that quality of music that causes us to want to keep listening to a song. Another term for momentum is musical energy, or forward motion. When created and used properly, momentum is a pleasant kind of “tension” in the music, where we sense that something needs to be resolved. If you’re stuck trying […]