The Best of ‘MusicWorld’ 2018

Posted in News on December 26, 2018

Here are the year’s top tips for making your songs the best they can be.  Don’t have a subscription to BMI’s monthly digital magazine, MusicWorld? Click here.  Enjoy!

How to Write Song Hooks That “Hook” You in

What constitutes a hook? Any element of a song that grabs a listener’s attention and “hooks” them in. With there being so much competition for our listeners’ attention, including multiple hooks throughout our songs has become more important than ever. Read more

How to Write Non-Visual Lyrics That Engage Listeners

“Show—Don’t Tell” is one of the basic tenets taught in almost every songwriting class. Writing cinematic lyrics—lyrics that incorporate visual imagery that listeners can envision like a movie in their minds—is often thought of as one of the most effective ways to connect with audiences. Cinematic lyrics do not spell out what the singer is thinking or feeling. Instead, by using action and visual imagery, they “show” a scene unfolding, and this allows the listener to surmise the singer’s emotions. Read more

How to Write Songs That Are Both Personal and Universal

Most of us who are in the business of creating songs are aware of the importance of writing lyrics that have universal appeal, lyrics that connect with millions of hearts. We have also heard about the importance of writing songs that emanate from our hearts, from personal experience. On the surface, it seems these tools would be mutually exclusive. But let’s look a little deeper. Read more

How to Write a Song That’s Fun to Listen to - and Fun to Sing

When it was suggested I write about songs that are fun to sing, the jukebox in my brain instantly thought of “The Name Game” (recorded by Shirley Ellis, written by Lincoln Chase and Shirley Elliston). Anyone of a certain age remembers plugging his or her name into the formula, “Shirley, Shirley Bo-ber-ley, bo-na-na fanna Fo-fer-ley, fee fi mo-mer-ley, Shirley!” Read more

Tips for Recording a Compelling Demo

Nowadays even the most basic software package offers home users virtually infinite tracking space, making the temptation to over-record stronger than ever. Bear in mind, however, that some of the most compelling productions through the years have been those that favored space and dynamics, rather than uber-overdubbing. To that end, we offer a handful of ideas for keeping your mixes properly balanced, using only essential instrumentation to achieve the desired outcome. Read more

Are Your Songs Too “Rangy” for Today’s Singers?

At the beginning of my career, I had a song go on hold for a female country music star whose singles regularly went to #1. The head of her record label said my song was a “must-cut” situation, and I was faced with a daunting decision: should I buy a Mercedes or a BMW. As the artist’s recording date approached, the head of A&R phoned my publisher to say my song had made the final cut and would be a “career single”—a song that would propel his artist to superstar status. I decided on the Mercedes—a convertible model. Read more

Top Songwriting Workshop Questions - and Their Answers

In teaching songwriting and music business workshops over the past fifteen years, I’ve observed that there is a “greatest hits” of questions that I get over and over again from my attendees. I thought it might be helpful to share those questions and my answers here… Read more

Tips for Supporting Your Song Title

Supporting our titles is one of the most effective tools we can employ to craft strong lyrics. In many songs, the title is the heart of the lyric, encapsulating the meaning and the essence of the song into a word or phrase. In songs that include choruses, the title is almost always included in the chorus. Read more

What Skills Do You Need to be a Successful Songwriter?

An aspiring songwriter recently asked me several intriguing questions: “What abilities do I need to write songs? Do I need to be able to read and write music? Play keyboards or guitar? Sing in tune?” He followed up by asking what additional skills he would need in order to record demos and successfully collaborate with other songwriters. Read more

Create Better Songs by Painting With Sound

Think of your recording the way an artist works with paint—that is, using different types of instruments, as well as effects or even mic techniques, to create contrasting shades of sound that help get the listener’s attention. Read more

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