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What’s Hot—and What’s Not In Songwriting

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From MusicWorld, posted 7.23.21 I was recently asked how the tools and techniques I teach today differ from those I have taught in the past. Have I noticed any recent changes in successful songs and in the processes of writing them? I looked back over the thirty years that I have been teaching songwriting,… Read more...


Secrets From The Shaman: An Exclusive Conversation with BMI Icon Donovan

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From News, posted 7.19.21 Donovan is a songwriter for the ages. Releasing his first single, “Catch the Wind,” in 1965, the aspiring, 18-year-old Scottish folk troubadour swiftly defined himself as a prolific writer, welding elements of traditional acoustic folk music with groundbreaking elements of pop, rock, jazz, classical and the burgeoning psychedelia of the… Read more...


Arthur Hanlon Finds Magic in the Music

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From News, posted 6.29.21 Pianist and composer Arthur Hanlon didn’t let a pandemic stop him from recording an album he’s dreamt about for decades—Piano Y Mujer, (translated as Piano and Woman) a collaborative effort between Hanlon, five exceptional female vocalists, and producer and multi-instrumentalist Motiff. Hanlon first considered the pure, raw power of the… Read more...


Does Your Song Have a Compelling Intro?

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From The Weekly, posted 2.23.21 If the first 10 seconds is the most important part of the song, why not fill it with something solid? In addition to a repeating riff, a good intro can be an extract from a bridge or chorus, or even something culled from a different track altogether. The irresistible riff.… Read more...


Change That Tune – The Art of Re-Arranging Your Songs

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From MusicWorld, posted 11.19.20 One of the most challenging aspects of writing and recording is the ability to remain flexible. In years past, I’d typically consider a song to be set in stone from demo one, and therefore kept basic arrangement, instruments, rhythm and such pretty much intact from start to finish. Not that… Read more...


Using Chords and Modulations as Musical Hooks in Your Songs

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From MusicWorld, posted 9.24.20 The chords we choose to accompany our melodies not only contribute to the flavor of our songs, they can provide some of those magical musical moments that make our songs hooky, exceptional, and unforgettable. To keep our listeners’ attention we need to include hooks, elements that are catchy and memorable,… Read more...


9th Annual Los Producers Charity Event Raises More Than $135,000

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From News, posted 11.15.19 BMI and Rebeleon Entertainment recently presented the 9th annual Los Producers charity event at the Hard Rock Café on the Las Vegas Strip. The star-studded lineup included more than two dozen recording artists and producers who shared the stage to raise more than $135,000 for The Michael J.… Read more...


Hitmaker Aaron Watson Celebrates 20 Years of Making — and Releasing — Music His Way

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From MusicWorld, posted 6.19.19 Aaron Watson learned about the power of music at a young age. His father, a Vietnam War veteran, sought comfort in music, and Aaron grew up listening to his dad’s records, gaining an early appreciation for songcraft and strong melodies. He started penning his own songs at a young age,… Read more...


Tips for Writing Songs About Anything…But Love

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From MusicWorld, posted 6.19.19 At my BMI Nashville Songwriters’ Workshops, I screen and critique songs from each attendee. When I find songs that I believe are competitive with those being written by today’s top hitmakers, I forward them to ten music publishers who have agreed to listen. After the last BMI Workshop, I forwarded… Read more...


In Songwriting or Film Music, for John Murphy it’s Still All About the Hook

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From MusicWorld, posted 5.22.19 There isn’t any aspect of writing music that John Murphy hasn’t experienced. From scoring films like 28 Days Later and Kick-Ass, to capturing prospective movie-goers with trailers to Captain America and Avatar, to writing music in ad campaigns for Nike, Google and Apple, he’s been a one-stop shop for directors.… Read more...


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