Berklee Online instructor and multiplatinum songwriter Andrea Stolpe discusses how to embrace lyrical and melodic ideas that don’t always agree, using the example of the 1975’s song, “Give Yourself a Try.”
Eric Church’s Grammy-nominated song “Some of It” is a great example of the personal and universal “slice of life” that makes this type of writing tick.
Having a desire to create without the time or process to create it can feel like an enormous burden. The solution is fairly simple: Make a plan and stick to it.
To find songwriting remedies for our chord progression difficulties, we often need to start by defining the problems. Here are four ways songwriters describe feeling ‘stuck’ when it comes to writing better chord progressions.
Chords are a driving element of many songs. When we’ve got four elements of songwriting to manipulate (melody, chords, lyrics, and groove), it’s natural to credit them or blame them for a successful song. But how do we songwriters find and use great chords?
Continue the process of writing each day, limiting your time to just 30 to 40 minutes. This limitation helps create a no-excuse mentality, and I personally find it comforting to know that I don’t have to invest several hours of my day in order to do my part in allowing ideas to flow.
We songwriters borrow from those who came before us. We take a groove we like, we’re inspired by a sample, we think in terms of a particular vocal quality or use a chord progression from another song and write something new over it. We keep one foot planted in what we know already works, so the rest of us can let loose over top.