Songwriter - Guitarist

Fine-Tuning Your Songwriting

I’m a trumpet player, though these days I do more writing and conducting than trumpet playing. Back when I was starting out, I was in final rehearsals for a one-off orchestra I had been hired to play in. I noticed that the principal trumpeter had a small ring of brass — sort of doughnut-shaped –that […]

Guitar - Songwriter

A Goal-Oriented Approach to Songwriting as a Problem-Solving Technique

Occasionally I write about goal-oriented songwriting on this blog, but haven’t done so for quite a while, and I think it’s worth describing it and encouraging you in that direction from time to time. In songwriting, a goal-oriented approach means that you write one particular section of your song, and then you write the section […]

Neil Young

Neil Young, “Rockin’ In the Free World”: Why It Works

“Rockin’ in the Free World” is one of Neil Young’s most popular songs. It’s number 216 on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Every time I ever do a “Why It Works” analysis of a song on this blog, you’ll see me mentioning some aspect of the simplicity of design as a positive feature, […]

Songwriter with guitar

Charting Trends In Your Songwriting Style

Here’s an idea that might help you get a clear picture of the kinds of songs you like to write, as well as making it easy to identify other characteristics in your songwriting style: make a chart. There are probably lots of ways to do this, but here’s one that is easy, and can be […]

Guitarist - songwriter

Improve Your Songwriting By Improving Your Instrumental Abilities

Does this describe your own songwriting situation: You sit down with your guitar and start to strum, trying to come up with ideas for a new song. You find your fingers moving to the same chords — the ones your fingers usually like. While you’re strumming, you become aware that you’re using the same basic […]

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 […]