All posts by John Pape

Using Popular Song Motifs to Write New Songs

June 19th, 2018 by

equalizer song motif music notesOne of our readers asked the following question:

Is it helpful to try to write lyrics for an existing popular song motif?

I really appreciate the chance to answer readers questions. One think I believe is helpful is many questions are never asked. Since that never are asked there is no opportunity to answer them. That is why I like reader questions. Many times the question asked could be the one that will help you with your songwriting efforts. (more…)

What is the best way to start writing lyrics?

June 12th, 2018 by

start writing lyricsOne of our reader’s asked the following question:

What is the best way to start writing lyrics?

I really appreciate the chance to answer readers questions. One think I believe is helpful is many questions are never asked. Since that never are asked there is no opportunity to answer them. That is why I like reader questions. Many times the question asked could be the one that will help you with your songwriting efforts.

There are several ways to start writing lyrics.  I will do my best to explore each one. Hopefully it will inspire you to write many songs. (more…)

What Is Tonality Based Ear Training

June 11th, 2018 by

Tonality Based Ear Training Infographic

Tonality based ear training makes up the core of the approach at Ear Training HQ. It’s the approach I strongly advise every musician to focus their attention on until they’ve mastered it.  I believe every musician should know at least the basics of what tonality based ear training is and how it works.

Like this infographic? Get more ear training lessons from Ear Training HQ.

Songwriter’s Question: Getting the Right Song Emotion

June 5th, 2018 by

Song Emotion Question

Here is a question from the Learn How to Write Songs Facebook Group regarding a problem with the right  song emotion.

I’m having problems creating of a “happy” song. My songs always end up as a ballads and I don’t know, how to change that.  Do you have any ideas, how to combine chords to get a “good mood” song?

This is a great question that plagues many songwriters. The core of this question I believe is how to set the right emotion for a song. Of course there are several factors that the songwriters needs to consider.

To begin, the songwriter needs to start out knowing what mood the song will portray. In simplest terms that are “Sad” or “Happy” songs.

Creating the right emotion in songwriting involves two factors working together. These two factors are the lyrics and the music.  Both elements together can produce powerful emotions.  Now, let’s take a look at how lyrics and music create emotions in a song. (more…)

What is the Best Way to Begin songs?

May 29th, 2018 by

begin songs - Songwriting FlowchartHere is a question from a songwriter regard how to begin songs.

Do you need to have music before you can write the lyrics or do you work the music around the lyrics?

This is one of the most common questions beginning songwriters ask. Keep in mind that songwriting is a unique craft that bring words and music into unison.  Words are matched up with a melody to create a song.

The short answer is you can begin either way.  You can begin with the lyrics or begin with the melody.  Every songwriter has a preference.  There is no right or wrong answer in regards to how to begin songs.  Regardless of how you begin songs the most important is to get started. (more…)

Songwriting Exercises You Can Use to Start Writing Lyrics

May 26th, 2018 by

Songwriting Exercises You Can Use to Start Writing Lyrics microphone dawOne of our reader’s asked the following question regarding songwriting exercises for writing lyrics:

What exercises can I do to start writing lyrics?

I really appreciate the chance to answer readers questions. One thing I believe is helpful is, many questions are never asked. Since that never are asked there is no opportunity to answer them. That is why I like reader questions. Many times the question asked could be the one that will help you with your songwriting efforts.

If you want to start writing lyrics you will need to do certain songwriting exercises. Most of these exercises involve playing with ideas and words.

Every song starts with a central idea, from that idea comes a story.  The story is structures poetically through meter and rhyme. A song will them transform into a certain song structure with sections like verse and chorus. (more…)

How Doing Everything Can Be A Songwriters Worst Nightmare

May 15th, 2018 by

Songwriters Worst Nightmare Working on Car Oil MessI recently had a big problem with  my car. It had a huge oil leak coming from the oil pan. It was not always that way. I made it that way. Thankfully it is now fixed. But this is the end of a lesson I had to learn regarding having a little knowledge but not being an expert. And this is a lesson for songwriters as well. Although this is about my car the lesson can be applied to many areas of life. This includes songwriting.  Here is my story and how I learned that by doing everything my self can become a songwriters worst nightmare. (more…)

Songwriter Self Doubt – Here’s How to Overcome the Pain

May 8th, 2018 by

songwriter self doubtSongwriter self doubt is something all creative people like songwriters face.

First, let’s take a look at some of our great creative types and their battles with self doubt: (more…)

What Do Want to Be? Discovering Your Life Purpose as a Songwriter

May 1st, 2018 by

Songwriter Guitar Pathway Life Purpose

“He who every morning plans the transactions of the day and follows out that plan, carries a thread that will guide him through the maze of the most busy life. But where no plan is laid, where the disposal of time is surrendered merely to the chance of incident, chaos will soon reign.”
— VICTOR HUGO

Your Life Purpose Starting Point

To begin with there are some soul searching questions to need to ask yourself.  Here are some of those questions:

  • Have you ever wondered why you exist?
  • Do you feel like you wander aimlessly though life?
  • Have you reached your goals?
  • Are you where you want to be in your songwriting?

I am sure these are questions each one of us has pondered. I believe that each one of us in the world has a unique and special life purpose. This is especially true of creative people like songwriters. With that in mind I wanted to write about this discovery process. The get started, here are two stories about two individuals. (more…)

8 Step Creative Process to Help You Write Better Songs

March 27th, 2018 by

Eight Step Creative ProcessThe following steps can be used in nearly any creative activity especially in the songwriting creative process.  It is a basic road map to follow that will provide greater clarity in the creation of your next song.

Identify the Topic

The beginning of the the creative process requires that you pinpoint the main topic want to express. As a artist you want to express your ideas, beliefs and thought to your audience. Having a clear picture of the topic makes it easier to come up with viable working ideas. (more…)

To Be a Successful Songwriter Do These 5 Things

November 14th, 2017 by

Becoming a Successful Songwriter
A bad song is worse than silence. There are songs you’ve heard where you couldn’t wait for them to finish.  Chances are they were dull and boring.  That is why it is important to compose songs that are interesting and engaging. In this article you will learn 5 thing To be a successful songwriter.

Crafting a good song requires more than writing lyrics grammatically correct or correct word order.  There are certain rules you need to consider when writing a song.  Understand this, the primary objective with any song is to engage the listener.  Fortunately, there are several tools and apps you can use to keep from sounding dull.   Here are five different methods you can use to improve you songwriting skills. (more…)

How You Can Write Great Songs

October 26th, 2017 by

write great songs
Songwriters may often ask themselves, “What makes a song great?” The answer to that question can make the difference between a mediocre song and an amazing song. Hopefully, once you finish reading this post you will be on the path the write great songs. This is not a new topic it has been written about by many experts in the industry. Trying to unravel the right formula is a lot like hitting a moving target. Taste change, technology changes making it difficult to nail down the right formula. (more…)

Songwriting News October

October 19th, 2017 by

Songwriting News October
October Songwriting News and Events featuring these news stories…

  • The 20 Hottest Songwriters in Pop Music Right Now
  • How To Balance Conversational and Poetic Language In Your Songwriting
  • Universal launches startup ‘Accelerator Network’ in bid to find the next Spotify
  • Will.i.am Joins ‘Mobile Record Label’ Startup Amuse, Talks ‘Defining a New Type of Record Industry’
  • Two Big Mistakes Songwriters Make
  • APRA AMCOS Announces A Bumper Year For Songwriters Thanks To Streaming And Export
  • Incoming Pandora CEO Roger Lynch Shreds With Corporate Bandmates at Aspen Fest: Exclusive Interview
  • Official: Miles Leonard stepping down at Parlophone, Mark Mitchell named Co-President
  • The magic of making hits: The psychology behind and economics of pop culture
  • Should music videos have to disclose product placements?
  • C3 Warn Against “Transparency In Music Licensing And Ownership Act”
  • Scrappy NSAI turns 50, keeps fighting for songwriters in D.C.

(more…)

Related Reading:

Best Songwriting Articles – Learn How to Write Songs Blog 2017

October 16th, 2017 by

best songwriting articles 2017Taking a look back at 2017 here are the best songwriting articles on the Learn How to Write Songs blog.

There are a variety of subjects that songwriters find useful.  You will find these are the most popular for this year.

These posts are filled with an abundance of tips, ideas, insights written to help you write better songs..

In case you missed these blog posts or neglected to bookmark them for future reference and inspiration, here are the Best 10 Learn How to Write Songs Blog Posts of 2017 and don’t forget to leave a comment to join the discussion: (more…)

Songwriting News September 6 2017

September 4th, 2017 by

Songwriting News September

Songwriting  Giants Webb And Harnick Write New Books, While David Is The Subject Of A New …

Forbes

Three giants of American songwriting are in the limelight today with new books:  Jimmy Webb and lyricist Sheldon Harnick each have penned one, while lyricist Hal David is the subject of a new biography by his widow, Eunice.

A Sought-After  Songwriter  With A Powerful Pedigree Offers Her Best Tips On Finding Happiness

Forbes

Many of us can get pretty myopic about success and happiness. We are convinced we need an exact cocktail of events to occur before we allow ourselves to believe we have achieved success. If only we had that job, car, house. But the reality is that success comes in many forms. You can thrive at any time. The key is to recognize and embrace those riches when they come your way.

(more…)

Related Reading:

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  • Songwriter Tip:

    Here’s a trick that will help you garner and keep the listener’s interest. When writing lyrics, consider changing phrasing patterns from section to section. This will permit the music writer to create more interesting melodies. Once you have established a pattern, match it each time that section comes around so that strong melodic moments can be repeated.