Singer-songwriter-guitarist

Dealing With Excessive Predictability In Your Songwriting

Predictability is not the horrible monster of songwriting. Even songs that sound unique, complex or startling are often following a template established by someone else’s song, with just a touch of innovation thrown in; it doesn’t take much innovation to make a song sound unique. If you like starting songs by working with a chord […]

Singer in a recording studio

What Word Lists Can Do For Your Lyrics

If you write your own lyrics, I hope you know the value of creating word lists. One benefit is obvious: once you have a general topic, lists of pertinent words will give you the basic vocabulary from which you can pull together a lyric. But there is another benefit that you may not be thinking […]

Shawn Mendes

Building a Sense of Anticipation in Your Melodies

Recently I wrote about the musical power that comes from starting progressions on a chord other than the tonic chord. By avoiding the tonic, the listener subconsciously wants to hear it, and so it creates a very powerful sense of musical energy: the listener is willing to wait to hear the tonic eventually happen. Songwriters […]

Band Improvising

Overcoming Songwriting Paralysis: Improvising Your Way Through the Tough Times

Every songwriter experiences “feeling stuck”. You get a good idea for a new song, but then you just don’t know where it should go from there. There is an expression — and you hear it a lot in the creative arts — that applies here: paralysis by analysis (or analysis paralysis). If you like starting songs by […]

Winter scene - Holiday classic

Can You Write a Holiday Classic? Start With a Family Classic

It seems that the songs that everyone really wants to hear during the Christmas season are the classics — the ones that have been around for the past 7 or 8 decades, or even longer. It begs the question: Can anyone write a new holiday tune that has a hope of taking its place along […]

Synthesizer player - Songwriter

Creating Melodies From Chord Progressions

Many songwriters like starting the process by working out the chords first. That’s because chords give us a strong sense of mood, and if you’re trying to generate lyrics, creating a mood is a good start. So you’ve got a chord progression to which you then add a rhythmic feel. With that partnership of chords […]