Songwriting: It’s Like Riding a Bicycle

Bicycle in your mindRemember when you learned to ride your first bicycle? It wasn’t easy. You fell down a lot, but you kept trying. At first you needed someone to hold on, keeping you steady. Then you used training wheels to help you stay upright as you pedaled. Then, finally, you were able to ride on your own. You had found that complicated thing called balance. After that, it was a breeze! The process of writing songs is a lot like riding a bike. It’s all about finding a balance!

=> Balance Melody, Chords, Lyrics – Writing a song that listeners will love involves finding a good balance between melody, lyrics, and chords. If you have a busy lyric with a lot of words and images then writing a melody that’s easy for listeners to follow might give your song more appeal. On the other hand, if you have a complicated melody with a lot of rhythmic interest and interval jumps, then keeping your chord progression simple might be a good idea. Try the chord progressions on this page to get things going.

When there are too many things demanding their attention, listeners don’t know what to focus on and that can be frustrating. If they’re feeling confused or overwhelmed, they’re  likely to tune out.

A good rule of thumb: As the complexity of one of your song elements goes up – lyrics, melody, or chords – consider organizing the other elements in easy-to-follow patterns or using more repetition.

Continue reading “Songwriting: It’s Like Riding a Bicycle”

Song Starter: Write a song about a place.

There have been many successful songs written about places: New York, Paris, San Francisco, Chicago, and foggy London town.  In these songs, the big city often provides a backdrop for a love affair or nostalgic memories.

But small towns and rural locales can also be inspiring. Jason Aldean’s “Tattoos on This Town” is a great example of a vivid lyric about growing up in a small town. Classics like “Blue Bayou” and “Rocky Mountain High” evoke the feeling of a place.

LYRIC STARTER: Think of a place that holds emotions or memories for you and write a song about it. Paint a picture so your listener can see and feel the place as you do. What is it you remember? What stands out? Why do you feel the way you do? Continue reading “Song Starter: Write a song about a place.”