Active listening will serve you well in live situations, recording sessions, and even in your interpersonal relationships. Active listening is specifically making listening the primary activity and doing nothing else. Don’t clean, don’t drive, don’t carry on a conversation. Just listen. Read More.
Transcribing solos that other musicians have played can be a challenge, as it requires significant music notation chops and a sharp ear. Like any musical skill, though, it can be learned, and is well worth the investment of time to make it happen. Read More.
Our May 24th Disc Makers #DMchat focused on improvisation and soloing techniques featuring pianist, composer, and producer Michael Gallant. Read More.
Whether it’s a virtuosic guitar, a transcendent piano, or a funky breakdown on bass, a great solo can add power and personality to songs in any genre. Read more.
Limiting your songwriting time may seem counter-intuitive, but it can help fuel your creativity in interesting and unexpected ways. Read more.
With the potential to invoke thousands of instruments and sounds at the touch of a button, sometimes using minimal instrumentation and a sparse musical arrangement provides maximum impact. Read more.
Paul McCartney’s bass lines became an integral part of the Beatles’ evolution from world beating pop band to musical pioneers. We identify just what Paul did to make his parts stand out from what other bassists were doing at the time. Read more.
How many times have you been writing a chord progression, when you suddenly hit that wall? For those times when you’re writing a song and can’t find the right chord to complete a progression, this technique – using applied music theory – will help you discover your best options and help you complete your song. Read more.
Knowing a little music theory can help you dissect your favorite songs and better understand how to write songs of your own. We break down “The Hills” by The Weeknd in this post. We’re going to start by transcribing the chorus melody, figuring out the key, and then using the key to find the chords. Read more.
One of the most important jobs I have as a teacher is to identify and share the common elements I observe in successful songs while steering students clear from the pitfalls in songs that fall short. If you want to learn how to write a country song, here are some of the biggest lyric pitfalls to avoid. Read more.
Over the years we’ve posted songwriting advice that covers music theory, children’s music, interviews with hit songwriters, excerpts from books, songwriter’s block, and a variety of other topics that relate to the craft of writing a song. We’ve collected them here – check ’em out! Read more.
You’re writing a song, you’ve hit on a vocal melody you like and you’ve got a few chords, but you just can’t seem to finish the chord progression. You keep trying all the chords you know, but nothing seems to fit. After some frustration and failures, you put the idea aside, forget all about it, and another song bites the dust. Read more.
A song demo is trying to accomplish one thing: sell your song to the listener. While there’s no magic formula for rising to the top, these 9 tips will help you avoid sinking to the bottom of the pile. 9 ways to screw up your song demo: 1) Include a long intro, 2) Submit a track with crappy, cheap production, 3) Don’t read the tip sheet… Read more.
The ability to think creatively is a product of “divergent thinking.” That’s a term that refers to one’s knack for exploring several possible ideas or answers in the processing of information. Certainly to be a songwriter requires it, but the inability to compose songs should not be automatically interpreted as songwriter’s block. Read more.
The 2015 Grammy nominees give a lesson on how to create children’s music that treats kids with respect, doesn’t dumb down the music, and keeps things fun. We’ve got videos and a breakdown of some of this year’s nominees. Read more.