All About Songwriting

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Category: Songwriting

Writing Therapy Songs Is Good For You

When life is getting you down and you have no-one to talk to, how about writing a song about it? I can assure you that it will make you feel so much better.

This is because writing a song about your thoughts and feelings is a wonderful way of expressing what’s happening inside you plus, it’s a great way to get things off your chest.

It’s sad that far too many people in this world never allow themselves the chance to release their bottled up feelings and it’s been proven that carrying around all your sadness and anger will make you sick.

With that in mind, that must mean that songwriters must be the one of the mentally healthiest groups of people in the world 😉

Just remember, not every song that you write has to be performed in the public arena so what have you got to lose? You are allowed to write songs for you and you only. No-one needs to know about them and they can be your own little secret if you wish.

Just as long as you write what is in your head and your heart.

It’s widely recognised that sharing a problem with family and friends is a very healthy thing to do mentally however, writing songs for therapy follows a similar concept but in this instance you’re having the same conversation with yourself.

If you want to share your song with others, that’s fine but it’s not essential.

By putting your problems or emotions into a songwriting context you’re really putting a positive spin on a negative situation.

Writing songs about what your feeling at the time allows you to put things into some sort of logical perspective.

Instead of spending hours telling yourself the same old long protracted story about what’s happening in your life, you condense it all into a four minute song. This requires you to cut to the chase with the issue and by doing that, the problem or emotion is not as intense as was first thought.

What you do with the therapy songs you write is totally up to you however, it’s how these songs help you through the tough times, not what you do with them that’s the important thing to consider here.

Please, don’t be afraid to write about how you feel even if you don’t want to face up to it. This is a great exercise in being really honest with yourself and your feelings.

Do you feel a songwriting therapy session coming on about now? The doctor is now in.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

The Five Pillars Of The Songwriting Process

A songwriting process is defined as “… a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end,” the end of course being the completion of a song.

Songs are what makes the global music industry go round and the more that songwriters are empowered and educated about their own brand of songwriting process, the better off the music business will be.

How you write your songs, from the initial spark of a songwriting idea to the final stroke of your pen, all comes down to how you work your songwriting process.

Now, there are as many variations to the songwriting process are there are songwriters in the world as the songwriting process is a very individual thing however, I believe there are five main pillars to a songwriting process and how those pillars are handled is dependent on the individual songwriter.

Your songwriting process will depend on your handling of these five pillars creating the foundation of your songwriting process.

Pillar #1 – YOU! The Songwriter
This pillar deals with the songwriter, what goes on between the ears and the environment they choose to work in because A song can’t be written if you’re not there to write it.

A songwriter’s process always starts with their state of mental physical and spiritual health. A good state of health means a healthy output of songs.

Pillar #2 – The Foundation
Any creation requires a process to allow it to happen. This pillar is all about the creation of the the foundation/process to gain opportunities for inspiration/work on creating a song. It’s important to create the right environment to be open to songwriting ideas as they spring up at anytime.

Pillar #3 – The Creation
This Pillar is all about the actual writing of the song from a songwriting idea to a first draft completion. It’s all about the creation of something from nothing. A song can be created from a number of means either individually or together at the same time.

Pillar #4 – The Revision
This pillar is all about the song revision process. Once a song is written is it the end of the process? No.

Good songwriters will revise and rewrite their song to make sure that the song is the best it can be. They will also know when it’s time to stop revising and start finishing. This is where the inner critic can form a positive role within the songwriting process.

Pillar #5 – The Business
This section is all about the business of songwriting. What will be the reason for the song’s existence? Is it to be played at gigs? Is it for another artist? Is it a therapeutic/cathartic experience or, is it a stepping stone to the next song?

All intentions for the end result are valid and need to be taken into consideration as part of the songwriting process.

If you pay attention to these five things you’ll find that you’ll be a more productive, efficient, creative and self aware songwriter.

You’ll finish more songs than you start and you’ll not be afraid of songwriters block, procrastination or your inner critic, whichever comes first.

This blog will cover all of the many facets of these five pillars through created and curated content. If you have any questions you want answered regarding your songwriting process or, you have your own experiences you want to share please let me know, I’d love to hear from you about this all important aspect of songwriting

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting 101 – #5: Intro’s And Outro’s

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


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…


If you break a song down to it’s most basic structure you’ll find it’s just like any other type of writing. There is a beginning, a middle and an end.

How a song starts and finishes is just as important as what happens in the middle (especially if you’re performing your song live).

Today I want to write about INTRO’S and OUTRO’S. Let’s start off with the introducton.

The introduction sets up the vocal melody and the primary musical arrangement of the song. It shouldn’t be too long otherwise it will ‘overstay it’s welcome’ with the listener.

An average song intro is four to eight bars in length.

There are of course exceptions to every rule. Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway To Heaven” has a sixteen bar introduction however, this is needed to map out the complex (and timeless) musical arrangement of this epic tune.

The introduction motif for your song can happen only once at the benning or can appear a number of times.

It can double as the breathing space between verse and chorus, it can form the basis of your bridge section or, it can be the bridge between a major and minor tonality.

For instance, your introduction maybe in A minor and your verse is in it’s relative major key which is C.

Now for the Outro.

An “outroduction” (not sure if this is a real word or not but I like it anyway) is a section that signifies the end of a song is approaching.

It can be as simple as a repeating of the chorus, of the hook-line or it can be just like a bridge, a departure giving the listener one last surprise before the end of the song is upon them.

An example of an outro would be the repeated “sending out an SOS” line at the end of “Message In A Bottle” by The Police.

It’s always good practise to let the listener know where the beginning, middle and the end of your songs are. Intro’s and outro’s are a good way to let the listener know where their ears are taking them.

Do you have any other examples of really good intro’s and outro’s? Feel free to let me know.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting 101 – #4: The Bridge

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


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…


Today I’m going to be talking about the BRIDGE and let me tell you, I do love a good bridge.

There’s something about how a bridge takes you to somewhere else in a song and then gently back to the familiarity of a verse or chorus that makes it a very important piece of your songwriting armoury.

Good bridges are hard to find and are even harder to write. It’s not enough to just write a departure from what you’re creating with your verses and choruses.

The departure has to be purposeful. It needs to have some sort of meaning and reason behind it.

Lyrically a bridge can introduce another point of view, be an extension of the song story or even be a devil’s advocate to it.

Musically it can be whatever you want it to be however there are a couple of things to consider:

1. Make sure the entry and exit points of the bridge are seamless.
Take into consideration the melody, rhythm and flow of the song. This is what I mean about the bridge being purposeful

2. Don’t make the bridge too long.
This is not a time to introduce a second movement to your song. Generally bridges are between eight and sixteen bars in length (if its eight bars in length it can also be called a ‘middle eight’)

Bridges add character and uniqueness to your songs. They break up monotony and pleasantly surprise the listener or possibly prepare them for a key change.

A great example of a great bridge is the one in “Every Breath You Take” by The Police.

Sting is a master at writing bridges and in this song he switches tonality and presents a 10 bar bridge that lyrically shifts the perspective of the song while at the same time seamlessly moves from one tonality to another.

Here is the song for you to listen to. The bridge starts at at 1:23

If you want your songs to spring into life, now is the time to start learning the art of a good bridge.

What other examples of bridges or middle 8’s do you consider to be masterful. Feel free to let me know.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting 101 – #3: The Melody

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


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…


Today we’re going to talk about MELODY.

In a song it’s the melody that binds everything together. It’s almost like a song is created to enable the melody to stand out for everyone to hear.

In my experience, a really good musical arrangement has been ruined by a poor melody whereas a great melody has saved many a poor arrangement. That’s how important a great melody is for your songwriting.

It took me a long time to realize that melody is supreme.

The melody is what the listener remembers. It’s what they hum or whistle to while listening in the car for example.

A great melody is something that gets stuck in a listener’s head and gets them frustrated beyond belief. It’s what defines your song as being yours alone (regardless of what instrumentation and arrangement idea you choose to use) and makes your song stand out from the rest of the music that’s being played today.

A lot of songwriters I know get themselves all tied up in knots when trying to come up with an original chord structure or some sort of amazingly inspired riff to get them started on a potential song.

For these songwriters their process becomes a never-ending battle to try and come up with something totally original as they feel that going down the same old paths will bore their listening audience..

I say that if you have a great melody it almost doesn’t matter what chords fit with it, even if it is only three chords. A good melody has the power to bring out the emotions that you want the listener to experience.

As with anything in songwriting there are no hard and fast formulaic rules for coming up with great melodies however the lyrics of a song can give you clues as to where your melody could be going.

In my own songwriting process, melodies come to me in two distinct ways:

1. Little snippets based on a phrase that pops into my head.
The rhythm of that phrase pretty much determines the melody that comes out. I constantly write lists of possible song titles so coming up with a phrase to work on can be as easy as looking at one of my lists.

2. Noodling whatever comes into my head on my guitar.
After the initial spark then the building process begins. Is the song going to be a sad, thoughtful, contemplating or happy one? Is the melody consisting of short notes, long languishing notes or a mixture of both? Is it a soaring anthemic piece or an intimate piece?

One of the best things you can do to tune your ears to good melodies is to start listening to a lot of music. A good exercise is to write down a list of your ten favourite songs and really listen to the melody.

As you’re listening write down what it is about the melody that touches, moves and inspires you. Does the melody send a shiver up your spine? Write it down. What you’re doing is pinpointing what moves you.

This will make it easier to write melodies that make you say “WOW!”

Writing songs can be a juggling act sometimes. You have a lyric here, a melody there, a half finished chorus, a riff that needs a home. However, if you concentrate on the melody of the song you will find that the juggling act becomes a lot easier to manage.

That’s why I say that melody is very thing that binds all of your song elements together.

What do you think about what I’ve mentioned here about melody? Does it resonate with you or, do you have a different opinion? Feel free to let me know.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting 101 – #2: The Verse

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


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…


Here’s the second instalment of my Songwriting 101 series on my definitions of the different building blocks of a song.

Today it’s all about the VERSE.

In my first instalment in this series I mentioned that if…

“… the chorus of a song is the destination then the verses are the journey towards it.”

Verses set up the foundation for where the chorus sits on top. If you can make the verses of your songs flow towards a killer chorus then you are halfway there in creating a song that people will have no choice but to listen.

Verses lay down the foundation of a song by allowing the songwriter room to tell the story or set the scene of the song. Character development can also happen in the verses too.

If the chorus, being the main focal point of the song, can be likened to the answer of a question, then the verses are the questions themselves.

Verses set up the arrival of the chorus both lyrically and melodically therefore, they’re repetitious in nature. The melody generally stays the same while the lyrics change underneath.

Personally, I like verses to be rhythmically flowing and full of purpose. You don’t want to detract the listener from the build up to a chorus that’s about to arrive.

Verses should create a really good contrast so the chorus will stand out even more. For instance, if you have a chorus that’s anthemic in nature then your verses need to be almost understated.

Creating this contract will enable the listener to inherently know that a chorus is about to arrive. The more anticipation you can build up the better, just make sure that you have a chorus that is able to give the listener the release they’re looking for.

Verses are not meant to be complete in themselves. They are meant to be leading somewhere. It’s important for songwriters to realise that verses and choruses are very different to each other.

I hear many songs that suffer from a lack of distinction between a verse and a chorus. It’s like the songwriter is saying to the listener “This section here must be a chorus because it comes after a verse”.

Songwriters need to understand the relationship that verses and choruses have with each other. Verses are just as important as choruses but a great chorus can be spoiled by a grandstanding verse so the balance needs to be in the writing.

Verses are the roadmaps of your song. Start giving your listener the directions that they need to get the most out of your songs.

What do you think constitutes a great verse or can you name some examples? Feel free to let me know.

Until next time, happy writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tip – Always Be Prepared To Capture Songwriting Ideas

Sometimes songs come from the most amazing places.

I was once asked to facilitate a songwriting workshop with the topic being how to capture songwriting ideas, and in my research for the workshop, one of the questions I asked myself was “where have my songs come from?”

It was one of the first times I really looked at my song archive and traced the origins of my songs in this way and I realised that some of my songs had come from the most unlikely places.

This was most interesting to me.

Doing this research reinforced in me the notion that, as songwriters we have to be prepared to note down everything that is of interest to us because songwriting ideas can come from anywhere.

My research had shown me that I have written songs while sitting in cafes, waiting for and on public transport, having a shower, going for a walk, drinking at the pub and waiting at traffic lights.

I try as much as possible to have my smartphone at hand so I can capture these flashes of inspiration at anytime.

Get into the habit of seeing and experiencing the world as if it’s an infinite songwriting ideas machine.

As a songwriter all you have to do is find your own way to reach out and tap into this amazing resource. Of course doing this takes practice and a willingness to become much more observant and mindful of what’s going on around you.

On a personal note, since making an effort to be more observant and mindful of what happens in my life, I have managed to get more things done and my songwriting output has increased.

Don’t be afraid of what you see and what you feel. Write down your emotions and what your senses are telling you.

Emotions demonstrate to us all what it’s like to be human and embracing what you see, hear and feel on paper will go a long way in developing your own style as a songwriter.

Be brave in the face of the unknown and always be prepared.

Until next time, keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

Songwriting Tip – Never Be Afraid To Ask Questions

Someone once told me that the only stupid questions are the ones you don’t ask.

Knowledge is gained through experience and by asking lots of questions. I would love to have a go at answering whatever question you may have about songwriting.

Go on, just ask me 🙂

The music industry is built on networks and networking with others is one of the most important skills (outside of writing good songs) that a songwriter needs to acquire.

One of the main reasons I created All About Songwriting was to share my knowledge and skills from over 25 years of being a performing songwriter.

I want everyone to benefit from all of the mistakes I’ve made in the past with my own songwriting.

I truly believe that we are all in this songwriting thing together and that there is plenty of room for everybody so, instead of looking at this business as a competition, lets offer our hands to each other and lift up as many of us as we possibly can.

Whatever question you have on songwriting, the creative process, the music industry, any article suggestions or anything else that you want to know, just let me know.

If I don’t know the answer I will personally find out the answer for you.

These posts that I write and the quality articles that I curate are only really scraping the tip of the iceberg of all the knowledge that can be gained by pursuing some sort of mastery of the craft of songwriting.

Yes, songwriting is a craft, a craft that needs to be constantly practised, utilised and improved upon each and every day.

We are all apprentices of this craft no matter how successful we are. I am certain that even songwriters like Diane Warren would say that she still has a lot to learn about her chosen craft.

All of us are works in progress so don’t be scared, ask questions and lots of them. You can never, ever stop learning. It’s how we grow as songwriters

There are many, many songwriting resources and organisations out there either online or in the real world, with dedicated people in them wanting to help you.

We, as songwriters owe it to ourselves and the music industry to write the best songs we can, so get out of the stands and get onto the field and start playing the game.

Just remember, we are all in this songwriting thing together so let’s help each other out. Let me know what you want to know

Until next time, keep on writing

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting

All About Songwriting – The Very First Post

Hi there, my name is Corey Stewart and I’m a singer/songwriter, musician and blogger from Australia and songwriting is a craft, an art-form, a process, an emotional outlet and (most importantly) a way of life for me.

I’ve created All About Songwriting to help all songwriters anywhere, at any level, expand on what songwriting knowledge they already have or, to help beginning songwriters start off their journey in a positive direction.

All About Songwriting is my attempt to document all of the aspects of songwriting, musicianship and the creative process in general that I have either directly experienced myself through being a songwriter for most of my life or, from what I’ve discovered online along the way through hand picked/curated articles and other sources of relevant information.

On a personal note, I want this blog is to be constantly reminding me of why I write songs in the first place.

Now it’s a well known fact that great songs are the backbone of the music industry. I mean without them there would be no music industry to speak of… Right? THAT is how important the role of the songwriter is in the whole scheme of things.

I feel it’s really important that songwriters have the best information at their fingertips as this enables them to be the best songwriters that they can be and it’s because of this that my goal is to have All About Songwriting become one of the most trusted sources of songwriting information on the web.

This site can only develop in the long term with direct input from its readers (that means YOU), so if now or in the future, there are any questions that you may have about songwriting, musicianship, the creative process, or anything else for that matter, just let me know and I will do my very best to answer you.

In the meantime, I wish you all well on your respective songwriting journeys, no matter where it takes you. Let’s take this first step together… RIGHT NOW!

Until next time, just keep on writing,

Corey Stewart
All About Songwriting