Make Song Craft Work For You!

We all know that as songwriters, we sometimes think that if we feel an emotion or think a thought while writing a song, it will somehow, magically be communicated to listeners.

NOT! Don’t fool yourself!

Occasionally, accidently, that happens but, more often than not, listeners don’t seem to get it.

What’s happening here…?

The emotion that launched the song is simply not being communicated to listeners in a way they can understand and feel. This is where Song Craft can be your lifesaver.

So how do we address this matter…?

It’s a known fact that most successful songwriters have noticed that creating contrast just before or during an important line, like the hook, can make listeners suddenly tune in and take notice. You might suddenly leap from a low to a high note (an interval jump) on the first word of the line or stretch out the pace of the words to create contrast in pace. Listeners will notice there’s something different going on and they’ll pay attention, it’s human nature. Now you’ve got them involved and whatever it is you want to say, they’ll hear it!

This is just one example of how song craft can make your song more accessible and help get your message across.

Keep in mind that craft is never a substitute for heart. It’s your message, your story, your emotions that are driving the song. Song craft is there to deliver the message and make sure it gets heard. But the message, ultimately, is yours. If you’ve got an original, compelling and authentic message, song craft can ensure your listeners hear and feel the emotion you want to experience!writing

There are two important things to remember about song craft:

If you have something to say, but no song craft… listeners may not hear you.

If you have song craft, but nothing to say… listeners may not care.

Craft is always at the service of the song, never the other way around. It’s there to help you communicate effectively and memorably but it’s no substitute for YOU!

What song craft can do for you

So let’s get back to that song…the one that wasn’t grabbing listeners and shaking them up…and see what you can do to change that.

  • Are you giving listeners enough lyric information and developing it in a way they can follow?
  • Is your melody memorable, fresh and compelling?
  • Are you using contrast to keep and hold attention?
  • Is there enough repetition to provide a sense of structure but not so much that listeners get bored?

Remember, a hit song is one that effectively communicates emotion to listeners. The tools of the song craft trade are there to help you do exactly that!


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