Nobody is born a poet. Creative writing workshops are filled with aspiring Dickinsons and Whitmans suffering through the same mental block that musicians experience. These writing exercises can help you do something about it. Read More.
Jazz musicians know and integrate substitution chords (also known as chord substitution or reharmonization) on a regular basis, but musicians who play other genres of music can also employ this concept to great effect. Read More.
There’s no “formula” to write a great chorus or hook, but these techniques can spark ideas to write, rework, or critique your own songs. Read More.
Music theory is a set of tools you can lean on to help you write and compose, and being deliberate in how you arrange your parts can translate to a better sound on stage. Read More.
If your music practice routine has plateaued, it’s time to challenge yourself and try something new. We’ve got tips to get you out of your creative rut. Read More.
While this advice is focused on songwriters looking to land a song on a major label artist’s album, knowing some of the elements that go into hit songwriting can help you excel, whatever your musical ambition. Read More.
You can find inspiration from anywhere – every song has a story, even if the song has nothing to do with the source of its inspiration. Read More.
Sometimes you may need a prompt or a process to keep the creative juices flowing and get your critical mind out of the way. Here are three strategies to get your songwriting on track. Read More.
Limiting your songwriting time may seem counter-intuitive, but it can help fuel your creativity in interesting and unexpected ways. 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.
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.