3 Common Sense Songwriting Tips
November 25, 2015
MaBinti Yillah in Advice, Hit Songs, Songwriting, Success, entertainment marketing, happy, hooks, music, song, song writing, songwriting


Songwriting can brutal for amateurs and even seasoned veterans. There’s the pressure of getting it right the first time. There are the long hours in the studio. There’s the fatigue, the anxiety and of course the pressure to create the song(s) to make or break your career. It’s a tough and thankless task because despite the hours and effort you put in a song’s creation, it may flop — it may flop badly. However, the following three tips will help you hit the mark more often than not.

Impress in the first 3–5 seconds 

According to data from the The Statistic Brain Institute, the average human attention span is a little over eight seconds. That’s hardly enough time to allow anything of substance to marinate. The best way to overcome attention deficits is to impress in the first 3–5 seconds of the song. You could open your song with a memorable opening accapella/vocal or open it with a simple but effective introductory riff. The Temptation’s “My Girl” and AC/DC’s “Back in Black” are two of the most recognizable songs ever thanks to their signature opening riffs. Make your mark early and you’ll have the listener’s ear at least until their attention starts to wan. 


Melody is everything: Perfect it

And I mean everything. The average listener hardly listens or even remembers most song lyrics but listeners always remember melodies. A catchy melody will have a listener humming a song mindlessly for days. How else can you explain why Pharrell’s “Happy” was such an international smash hit? The lyrics are simple enough but its simply melody makes the song infectious and irresistible. Anybody can sing “Happy” whether you speak English or not. A simple melody is key to creating a song with universal appeal.


So is a memorable hook: Make it count

Do you know all of the verses of “Iris” or even “American Pie ?” Of course, you don’t and why would you? The verses aren’t their selling points — their hooks are. Hooks should be simple, enticing and it should summarzie the song. You want your hook to grab the most reluctant listener.

Remember, don’t overthink it but keep all of these tips in mind the next time you’re in the studio.

MaBinti is founder of DC based marketing firm, MSYMGMT and a long time music journalist and radio producer. Prior to starting MSYMGMT, she worked as an editor for Voice of America and a radio producer at WPFW. MaBinti can be found on twitter and medium. 





Article originally appeared on Music Think Tank (http://www.musicthinktank.com/).
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