Not too long ago I finished writing a book with co-author Jan Stolpe called Beginning Songwriting, and I’d like to talk about its contents here to give you a sense of how the book prepares songwriters to write faster, better songs.

My co-author is an audio engineer and producer whose experience working with writers and artists offers a valuable perspective on songwriting and recording for songwriters. He also happens to be my husband Jan shares some basic production techniques that all songwriters should know, with audio examples of each technique throughout the book. We hope these examples will make the techniques more clear and easy to apply for every writer regardless of prior knowledge or experience with production.

In my work as an instructor, I meet many capable songwriters who feel handicapped by a lack of music theory knowledge. They feel limited in their harmonic and melodic tools. In the past, I have had difficulty finding basic theory courses that deliver theory knowledge in a manner I felt was appropriate, relevant to the craft, easy to understand, and that applied for songwriters. We wanted to write a book that provided simple tools in simple language, and could be a guide to make broad leaps in melody, harmony, and lyric writing in a small amount of time. Though it isn’t necessary to have a firm understanding of music theory to write songs, basic music theory can help us to widen our musical choices and gain more flexibility with our harmonies, melodies, and rhythms.


In the chapters on lyric writing, I cover sensory writing and how to use it to write more powerful lyrics. Through examples from young writers, I take their journaling and develop it into full song lyrics. I hope this illuminates simple ways for songwriters everywhere to write lyrics that more effectively reflect their true thoughts and intentions with the song message.

The book concludes with a description of careers that songwriters might expect to find in the industry.

You can find Beginning Songwriting on the Berklee Press site.