Friday, May 15, 2009

Songwriting Tips - Where To Start?

Probably the most difficult part of writing a song is deciding where to start. There is no one trick that will work for everybody because each person's brain works differently. In other words, a technique that might work great for the guy down the block won't do a thing for you. So, what I am going to do here is give you a few options as far as starting points. Pick the one that you feel most comfortable with. Don't worry, you WILL get a feel for what works for you.

1. The Lyrics - A good starting point for many people is to come up with the words, or the lyrics to the song first. The reason this works so well for so many people is because the lyrical rhythm will tend to dictate where the song itself is going to go. For example, if you write in very short lines of text, your song will flow in that direction and have more room for creativity as far as melody. However, if you write in very long lines of text, this will confine the song to a certain feel based on those long lines. You'll notice many hard rock songs, such as a few AC/DC tunes, have very short lines of text, thus leading to the sound that they have perfected over the years.

2. A Melody - You could try starting with a melody...perhaps a tune that you have going through your head. The advantage of this is that a melody will lock you into a certain rhythm and lyrical form. This is also a disadvantage at the same time as quite often, the form it locks you into doesn't lend itself to easily fitting in lyrics. Many of your best songs are written with the meolody first (such as Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head) because they really lock in the mood of the song. Lyrics by themselves, whether happy or sad, can be expressed many different ways in music. But a tune, if it's a sad tune to begin with, it's very hard to match that tune to cheery lyrics. Your melody, in many cases, will be the most dominating part of the song when constructing it and will almost dictate where all the other pieces fall in place.

3. A Chord Progression - Many pianists and guitarists will start off with a chord progression. The advantage of this is that most chord progressions, because of their generic nature, will leave lots of room for a variety of melodies to be created. The problem is, especially with beginning songwriters, many of these generic progressions also lead to very generic melodies. AC/DC is a perfect example of chord based song creation. Most of their melodies, especially the versus, are very uninspired. Fortunately, in most of their songs, the choruses make up for this flaw. Chord progressions may be one of the easiest ways to write a song but one of the hardest ways to write a really good song because of how open ended they are.

4. A Beat - Many rap, R&B and dance tunes are actually written around a beat or rhythm. This may be one of the most difficult ways to write a tune for most people. However, if a drum beat inspires you and you can relate to it, this may be a viable method to use to create your own songs. If you listen to Queen's "We Will Rock You" it is quite obvious that this tune was written based around that drum beat which has become almost legendary today.

5. A Title - Sometimes, just coming up with a song title is all somebody needs to become inspired. I have written many songs after simply thinking of a title, which ultimately leads to lyrics and then a melody.

These are pretty much the main ways to come up with songs. There are others, such as getting inspired from a movie, a sound you heard, something you saw in the street and so on. However, if you stick to these 4 methods, I think you'll find that you have plenty of ammo to come up with a great tune.

In my next blog post, I'm going to go over some songwriting techniques in detail.

In the meantime, if you want a great resource that will teach you all about songwriting (until I come out with my own book) you might want to check out this site:

If you purchase this book from me, I will offer you my own personal songwriting tips and support for a full 7 days after purchase. That's how much I believe in this product.

See you soon with more.

To YOUR Songwriting Success,

Steven Wagenheim
PS - Check out one of my latest tunes "Panic At The Disco" at YouTube here:

Friday, March 20, 2009

Intro To Songwriting

Welcome. My name is Steven Wagenheim. I know I'm not exactly a household name in the world of music, but I've been writing songs since 1977...over 30 years. I've had 2 songs published, "And The Angels Sing" and "Hell I'm In Hell"...two very different tunes. From 2003 through most of 2008, I took a break from writing to work on my Internet business...which is doing nicely. In October of 2008, I began writing again. I got myself a brand new recording studio (I do all my own recording) and got right back into it. It was wonderful.

I've written over 700 songs in my 30 plus years, which comes out to over 20 songs a year. I am now working on my 2nd CD since October...each one with 16 songs, so I'm really picking up the pace.

But enough about me. You want to learn how to write songs, whether it be just for the fun of it or for the purpose of making a living at it. Depending on how serious you are about your craft will determine how well you end up writing. Truth is, no amount of training in the world is going to turn you into a great song writer if the desire is not there...which is why I took 5 whole years off. I just got tired of the whole thing. As a result, my writing was getting stale and dull.

Okay, so where do you start? Well, that's going to depend on how far along you are in your training and/or development of talent. Everybody is going to have a certain knack, or lack thereof, for writing. Some people can sit down at a piano or pick up a guitar and start cranking out the most amazing tunes. Others will struggle for months or even years and never write anything that is even close to being tolerated by human ears. If this sounds discouraging, it's not meant to be. It's meant to show you that songwriting is an art that is as much felt as it is learned. Sure, I can teach you basic chord progressions and techniques, but ultimately, it's YOUR talent that's going to turn you into a songwriter.

Over the next few weeks, I'm going to be going over some basics and advanced stuff that will get you started and hopefully cranking out some decent tunes. I haven't written my own book, which I should do, but if you're in a hurry to get a decent online instruction, there is a good book that I can recommend that's out now. It will at least do until I get my own written, which I hope to do sometime later this year or in 2010.

In the meantime, you can check out this resource at:

I'll catch you in a few days or so with some really great songwriting tips. Oh, and I'll also be posting some of my tunes so you can hear what I've cranked out of late.

To YOUR Songwriting Success,

Steven Wagenheim