Tags archives: creativity-tips

The Latest Trends in Song Structures

When I took my first songwriting workshop I had no idea that verses, choruses, and bridges were the primary building blocks used in popular songs. Nor did I know that the vast majority of the songs I listened to on the radio combined these components into one of four song forms, or a variation of one of these forms. Initially, when I learned about song structures, I feared that confining […]

3 Steps to Writing Better Lyrics

Our goal, when we share a song, is to evoke emotion in our listeners—to have them not only know what the singer is feeling, but to empathize—to feel the emotion. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by bringing your audience inside the world of your song—showing them a scene unfolding—instead of simply telling them how the singer feels. Writing lyrics that “show—don’t tell” is one of […]

How to Make Your Songwriting Career Last

It’s been said that it’s not easy to get to the top—but it’s even harder to stay there. The music business is notoriously fickle. Writers who have a hot streak of hits—then disappear from the charts—are more the norm than those who have careers that span a decade or more. Yet somehow, some songwriters (and recording artists) manage to sustain their success—despite changing tastes and styles. Musical tastes are constantly […]

5 Tips to Turn Good Songs into Hit Songs

I recently hosted one of my monthly BMI Nashville Songwriter Workshops, where each of the 50 attendees had an opportunity to pitch one song to a successful publisher. Typically, at these workshops, with few exceptions, every song played was perfectly crafted. The writers have mastered the use of current song structures; the lyrics made sense and were well written; rhymes were where my ear expected them to be; and the […]

How to Write and Place Songs Internationally

With so many artists and producers writing or co-writing their own material, there seem to be fewer opportunities than ever for writers and music publishers to pitch and place songs. It’s become increasingly important to think outside the box when writing and promoting material—and that includes looking beyond our own borders. Songs by artists such as Beyoncé, John Legend, Katy Perry, Pharrell, and Jason DeRulo are international hits, topping charts around […]

6 Industry Trends That Can Advance Your Career as a Songwriter

Predicting the future of the music business in the rapidly evolving digital age is tricky. In the past decade, innovations like the iTunes Store and streaming Internet radio have radically changed the playing field. As 2014 continues to unfold, there are several trends that indicate opportunities for songwriters and musicians. Crowdsource funding, brand/band partnerships and digital streaming have the greatest potential as consumers’ perceptions and patterns continue to change — […]

I Know I’ve Got A Great Song — Now What?

While there’s no guaranteed formula for songwriting success, there are steps you can take to maximize your chances. The first thing to do—after writing your masterpiece—is to confirm that it’s as strong as you think it is. This will require getting objective professional feedback. (Your mother doesn’t count—unless she’s a music publisher.) Presuming the verdict is that you have indeed nailed a terrific song, pat yourself on the back. Now […]

10 Foolproof Ways to Critique Your Own Songs

With the help of BMI’s Nina Pacent, I’ve put together a list of ten things for you to examine when critiquing your songs, in order to make them both lyrically and melodically stronger. The Lyric 1. Do you have a strong opening line? The opening line of your song is the first and best chance to engage your listener in the story you’re about to tell.  Strong opening lines explain […]

How to Instantly Hook Your Listeners Into Your Song in 3 Steps

In an era of significantly shorter attention spans and increasingly distracted listeners, we, as songwriters, have an even greater responsibility to grab our audience as quickly as possible. The first place to do this is the song’s intro. The following tips will help hook your listeners into your song right away. 1. Keep your intro short and to the point I was backstage at a music conference a few years […]

The Top 5 Melody Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them

Many of the writers whose songs I listen to at my workshops work long and hard on their lyrics, striving to find unique, fresh ways to tell their stories and express their concepts. But they sometimes forget that we’re not writing poems, but songs—and if we hope to create songs that resonate with listeners, our lyrics need to be delivered on the wings of outstanding, memorable melodies. It’s often easier […]