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 […]

Pink - Funhouse

7 Steps For Writing a Well-Structured Song Lyric

A good lyric tells a story, whether that’s an actual “first this happened, then that happened” kind of lyric (like the stereotypical “A Boy Named Sue” – Johnny Cash), or whether the story happens indirectly, and we piece the details together, like Pink’s “Funhouse” (Pink, Tony Kanal, Jimmy Harry). A lyric where the story is […]

Guitar and music paper - Songwriting

Why Simplicity Works So Well In Songwriting

It’s something you hear a lot with regard to songwriting, but with other creative arts as well: Simplicity is a virtue. Don’t get me wrong – I love complexity in music, and I always have. But once in a while I’m reminded of how powerful a song can be when: melodic lines are clear chords […]

Guitar - piano

Following Your Heart

Everyone’s got an opinion. When it comes to your own songs, you hope everyone’s opinion is a good one. But if it isn’t, it can be discouraging. I practically never ask people what they think of anything I’ve ever written. That’s certainly not to say that I don’t ask for help or advice. When I was […]

Keyboardist songwriter

What To Do If You Can’t Finish a Song

How early in the songwriting process do you think about the formal design of your song? Do you ever think about verse-chorus design options of your song as soon as you create a good songwriting idea? As you’ll hopefully know, getting good songwriting ideas is not the same thing as being able to write a […]