All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tips, Ideas & Help In One Songwriting Resource

Month: March 2016

Six Tips For Basic Songwriting – A Video

Here is a video that really impressed me with the directness of its message. It comes from a singer/songwriter named Kyle Erwin and it’s called “Six Tips For Basic Songwriting.”

Now I’ve been writing songs for a while now and most of the information that I come across online is stuff that I already know or have experienced however, there was something that I found in this video that I wasn’t aware of and now will incorporate into my own songwriting process.

It’s not often that this happens hence why I want to share this video with all of you.

On his blog, Kyle also has his “Six Tips For Basic Songwriting” as a post and cleverly links to it from his video to save you writing down notes on the information he imparts.

He also mentions about a product for the iPad called Music Memos. I’ve actually downloaded that and have been playing around with it. I’ll see if I can do a review of it in a future post.

Anyway, enjoy this video and remember, if there’s anything that you’d like to share with me regarding any of the information presented on the video just let me know.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Using A Random Image As A Songwriting Prompt

We songwriters are very sensory creatures and we have been known to use a variety of stimuli to kick off our songwriting processes.

I have, in previous posts mentioned that listening to music or reading some poetry might be a good way to find some inspiration but I have not yet discussed whether a random image could spark off a songwriting idea or two.

So, with that in mind, try this songwriting exercise and see what you can come up with…

1. Go to any one of these random image generators

2. Go with the first image that is presented to you.

3. Start writing in point-form/long-hand your thoughts, feelings and detailed descriptions of what you see. Use all of your senses and your imagination. Give yourself a time limit if you like (say ten minutes).

4. Once you’re finished ask yourself… “Can I write a song from all this?”

Give this songwriting exercise a really good go, put your everything into it and write down as much as you can. The more information the better.

Doing this will train your eyes to really observe what it sees rather than just to casually look at something and by writing everything that you see down you’re giving yourself an excuse and a reason to write.

By eliminating choice through randomness you’re dismantling your inner critics tendency to become paralysed by too much choice.

If nothing comes of it don’t worry, the exercise might have been the very thing that break your songwriting block however, if something comes from it then let me know. I’d be interested to see if my theory works.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Roles Of Different Song Sections (Plus Examples)

Today, I found the perfect accompanying article for my recent 6-Part Series On Song Formatting that I wanted to share with you all.

It was written by Benjamin Samama (a former teacher from the Berklee College of Music) for the very popular SonicBids blog and the article is called “Songwriting 101: What’s The Purpose Of All The Different Song Sections?”

I found this article most useful for two main reasons:

1. It defined the different song sections clearly and concisely
Reading these definitions made me understand a little bit more the precise interplay between a verse and a chorus, or a chorus and a bridge.

2. It gives at least two video examples for every song section
Having the video examples on hand to listen to really drove home to me the reasons why different song sections exist. It also sharpens your ear when you listen other songs as part of your song formatting research.

Benjamin’s goal of his article is to give us a well rounded understanding of the different types of sections that can appear in a song form. He writes…

“… I’ll give you an overview of the different sections of a song, and the purpose each one of them serves. I’ll be using mostly pop music examples, since it’s straightforward and easiest for illustrating these kinds of concepts.”

You might not like the songs used in the examples but they do help you understand the different song sections better.

Have a read of the article “Songwriting 101: What’s The Purpose Of All The Different Song Sections?” And as always, let me know what you think.

I’d be interested to see your take on how you use the different song sections in your songwriting.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting 101 – #6: The Hook

This is a series of posts about song formatting and structure. All this week I’ll be writing about the different individual elements that make up a song.

Go to #1 – The Chorus

Go to #2 – The Verse

Go to #3 – The Melody

Go to #4 – The Bridge

Go to #5 – Intro’s & Outro’s

Please bear in mind that these are my definitions and interpretations of the different parts of a song structure. There are no hard and fast rules determining which part of a song goes where.

However, there are generally accepted guidelines. Think of this Songwriting 101 series as the “nuts and bolts” of putting your songs together.

You’ve been refining your songwriting process and you’ve come up with some great ideas and now you are ready to put them all together.

Your journey starts now…

In this the last post in the Songwriter 101 series we’re going to talking today about the HOOK.

The hook is the most important aspect of song construction. It’s the very thing that captures the attention and the imagination of your listening audience the most.

It’s that certain something in a song that enables your brain to keep remembering it long after the song has stopped playing.

Think about it, have you ever had a song spinning around in your head that you just can’t get rid of? Has anyone mentioned a name of a song and all of a sudden you’re humming along a section of it in your head?

If this has happened to you (as it happens to me all the time) then you’ve been influenced by the almighty hook.

In the first instance, the songwriter determines what the hook is but then what the listening audience determines as the hook of the song may be a completely different thing however, if you write a hook that both you and your audience gravitate to then you’re halfway there in creating a song that people want to listen to over and over again.

According to an article written by John Braheny on the TAXI website there are four types of hooks.

  • Structural
  • Instrumental
  • Story
  • Production

For me, reading this article opened my eyes a little bit more to song construction as a whole and I’ve been writing songs for years. As John says in his article…

“… hooks are essential in commercial music. They are points of reference that keep us interested and focused on the song. They’re devices that help us remember and an entertainment in themselves.”

It just goes to show that we are never too old to learn anything new.

The reason why I say that the hook is the most important aspect of songwriting is that as songwriters we want our creations to be remembered, played and listened to over and over again.

The hook is the very thing that will achieve this goal for us. If you give your listener something to remember your song by, it will be with them for a very long time.

A hook can be the chorus line that is repeated many times for effect or a really cool bridge section that makes the listeners ears stand up and take more notice of your song.

A hook can be a lyrical or a musical motif that once heard will never be forgotten or it can also be something that is added to in the studio as the song is taking shape.

Sharpen up your hooks and catch a few listeners with them. Can you think of any great examples of a killer hook. Feel free to let me know.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

PS: Read John Braheny’s article here