The Beatles “Nowhere Man”: How to Write a Song about Insecurity

This is a first in a series examining a song from four different dimensions: songwriting, arrangement, performance, and production. “Nowhere Man” from Rubber Soul is a brilliant little pop gem with biting commentary on humanity’s tendency to to stick to her/his comfort zones.  The impactfulness of the song is perfectly orchestrated by …

The Higher Purpose of Music

The other day there was a question asked in a group for musicians. What’s the higher purpose of your music? Someone like Elizabeth Gilbert, whose book Big Magic I adore, would take issues with that statement.  She encourages creatives to do it simply for the fun of it.  Don’t overburden yourself …

Songwriting Analysis: Why We Don’t Get Tired of Jimi Hendrix “Little Wing”

If you study jazz, you start with the standards.  But in my opinion standards also exist in the rock guitar lexicon as well — and this Jimi Hendrix gem is definitely one of them.  It’s a seemingly simple tune which repeats just one verse progression over and over.  Where does its …

Songwriting Lesson: How to Start Writing a Melody against a Chord Progression

So while some songwriters start with lyrics first, others start with the instrumental part first.  If you write with a guitar, it’s not uncommon to start by strumming a guitar and stumbling on a cool chord or riff.   Or if you are a singer who doesn’t play an instrument, …