Guitar and paper for songwriting

When You’re Stuck Trying to Come Up With a Good Song Topic

Brainstorming is a great mental exercise in the creative arts. Brainstorming requires you to think quickly and to minimize judgment. When you work this way, your process is being fuelled by pure imagination, and that’s when you get to see what the inner workings of your creative brain can come up with. If you find […]

Neil Young

Are Preachy Lyrics a Problem?

I remember reading an interview with Bob Dylan once, during which he was asked his opinion on the state of the world. I don’t remember his specific words, but the gist of what he replied was, “Why are you asking me? I’m just a musician. I have opinions, but they’re no more informed than anyone […]

Rush - Spirit of Radio

Comparing Vocal and Instrumental Melodies

In theory, there shouldn’t be a lot of difference between a melody that’s meant to be sung and one that’s meant to be played. Particularly in the pop genres, both kinds of melodies will usually display the following characteristics: The melody will usually move mainly by step (i.e., adjacent notes in a scale) with occasional […]

Guitar

Taking Songwriting Technique to Higher Levels

When you listen to great instrumentalists, no matter what genre, you become aware of something important: underneath all those great musical ideas is a foundation in the basics. If you don’t have a grounding in the basics of technique on your instrument, it’s going to show pretty quickly. Everyone knows this. That’s why, if you’re […]

Genesis

Songwriting: Lyrical Hooks and Clichés

I’m a fan of Genesis, but enjoyed the older incarnation of that group more than the one in the mid-80s. That’s not a criticism at all because I think Genesis wrote brilliant pop music. I just happen to like their older prog rock style. Genesis wrote and recorded “Tonight, Tonight, Tonight” for their 1986 “Invisible […]

Songwriter - Guitarists

Listening to Your Musical Mind

If you involve yourself in any sort of physical activity, there is no doubt that you’re familiar with the phrase “listen to your body.” It’s a phrase that is meant to caution you against overdoing it. If you’re a runner and you suddenly encounter some sort of injury, you’ll hear someone say, “Listen to your […]