Guitarist - songwriter

Fixing Your Songs When You Can’t Identify the Problem

One of the biggest challenges in writing good music is figuring out why the song you’re writing isn’t working. You feel that it started with such promise, but now everything sounds lame. Probably the best thing you can do for a song that isn’t working is the easiest thing: play it for someone. Preferably play […]

Bruce Springsteen

The Story Within the Song – It Needs to Be Compelling

If you find that the lyrics you write lack whatever it takes to grab and keep an audience, there are several possible reasons that you need to think about: The song lacks a good story. The words you choose don’t connect or resonate in any important way to your audience. The words (and/or the opinions […]

Breaking Free from 4/4 Time in Your Songwriting

Since the vast majority of songs (probably 98% or more) that make it to the charts in any genre use a time signature of 4/4, we can surmise that producers think that that most common of time signatures is part of a winning formula. Most of the time professional producers get these things right, but […]

Band rehearsal

Choosing the Chords That Work With Your Melody

You’ll notice that when you’ve got a melody, the notes of that melody imply the chords you’re likely to use. That’s not to say that you’ve got no choice in the matter, of course. For every chord you might use, there is a list of chords that could serve as substitutes. Just as an example, […]

Finding Good Chords Starts With Tapping Your Foot

Looking for an easy way to discover the chords that could potentially go with a melody? It’s not a random process; it really depends mainly on what notes are happening on strong beats. There is a bit of instinct involved, particularly with regard to how often you should change chords. You’ll notice that most songs, if you […]

Guitarist - Songwriter

6 Easy Steps For Melody-First Songwriting

When I write music, I like starting with melody first. But melody-first writing means also thinking about chords. That’s because the musical part of our brain is always assembling melody notes and coming up with chords. If you want to see how this works, click to listen to this melody: A simple enough melody. Play it […]