songwriter

Writing a Song, Then Deciding What It’s About Later

If you’re at all familiar with Classical music, you may be aware that some of the world’s most famous symphonies have nicknames. Haydn’s symphonies are especially famous in this regard: his “Surprise” symphony (No. 94) and his Symphony #83, the “Hen,” the theme for which was reminiscent of a hen scratching. In most cases, the […]

Townes Van Zandt

Major with a Minor Flavour: Townes Van Zandt’s “Pancho and Lefty”

Townes Van Zandt was a highly respected singer-songwriter whose songs were covered by some of the world’s biggest names — Willie Nelson, Emmy Lou Harris, Merle Haggard and others. There’s a quiet kind of contemplative sound to his music and draws the audience in; they make you listen. Van Zandt’s most well-known song is “Pancho […]

Writing word lists for song lyrics

Creating Word Lists: It Can Give You More Than Lyric Ideas

If you find that writing lyrics takes you a long time, creating word lists can be a big help. By building lists of words, you’re creating a vocabulary that speeds up the process of trying to find the right words: they’re probably all there in front of you, somewhere in your list. Word lists can […]

Metronome

What to Think About When Choosing a Tempo For Your New Song

Many songwriters don’t think a lot about tempo when writing songs. For many (perhaps most), songs start with improvising ideas over a catchy set of chords, so it’s often the case that a tempo is chosen almost on a subconscious level. Excellence happens when you practice your technique. The 9-Lesson Course takes you through the […]

Writing song lyrics

Using Imagery to Increase the Emotional Effect of Your Lyrics

Imagery is an important part of writing good lyrics, but it’s hard to teach imagery. There are probably lots of ways to define it, but for me, imagery means that you’ve been able to generate a complex picture with very few words. “Use Your Words! Developing a Lyrics-First Songwriting Process” is FREE with your purchase of […]

Guitar, paper and pencil

Adding Focus to Your Lyrics With a Short Story

Most songs aren’t specifically “story songs”; they don’t use lyrics that say “first this happened, and then that happened.” It’s usually the case that listeners will infer the story by the various lines within the lyric. It sounds complicated, but most song lyrics work this way. When we hear the lines of a lyric, our […]