Doing the Work

Now we're in the trenches. There are so many things to think about, to learn about and to work on. What's your rhyme scheme? Is your point of view consistent? Is your melodic journey going to keep the listener interested all the way to the end of the song? What about "setting" issues? How closely have you looked at "phrasing?" The list goes on and on, and so do the videos that will give you some tools to help you "do the work" on your songs.

Doing the Work

Video Lectures

Lyric Writing

Prosody Part 1: Introducing Prosody
Prosody Lecture Part 1: Supporting the song's intent using the five elements of lyric structure.
Writing Lyrics
The most important aspect of a great lyric is probably getting the right combination of imagery and emotion.

Song Form and Structure

Prosody Part 2: Length of Lines
Discover how to create emotional impact by experimenting with the length of lines.
Sections of Songs
In this video we focus on form, covering all the choices you have.

Songwriting Techniques

Writing Outside the Box
Here we explore specific ways to make your songs unique and less predictable.
Writing the Big Chorus: Delayed Gratification and the Power of One: Part 1
Write those "knock-it-out-of-the-park" choruses!
Writing the Big Chorus: Delayed Gratification and the Power of One: Part 2
Write those "knock-it-out-of-the-park" choruses!
Point of View with Steve Seskin
How to find the most powerful way to tell any story.
Writing Emotional Songs, Part 3: Chords
In this video Bonnie Hayes shows you ways to combine your chords and melody notes to bring out more or less emotion.
Writing Emotional Songs: Part 2: Notes
Choose notes that make moments in your songs feel more emotional.
Writing Emotional Songs: Part 1: Lyrics
There's a knack to writing songs that matter to people. Bonnie shares her secrets.
Prosody: Part 3: Rhythm of Lines
Prosody Lecture Part 3
Using Humor in Songs That Aren't Funny
Even songs that aren't meant to be funny can find ways to occasionally and intentionally inject some humor to help offset the weightiness of the emotion.
Prosody (Seskin)
Examples where lyrics and music are a perfect marriage and the whole song works together
Rhyme Types
Rhyme works like harmony. It can be used to make your lines feel stable or unstable.
Rule of Twos
If you do something twice in a song, don't do it again until you've done something else.
The Fabulous AABA Song
The AABA song is a wonderful and old song form that might just be underused these days. Take a look.
Phrasing, Part 3: Number of Bars
See how the number of bars in a section -- a third level of phrasing -- can affect the emotion of the lyric!
Phrasing, Part 1: Front-Heavy, Back-Heavy Lines
Where you put your lines in the musical bar makes all the difference in the emotion of the song.
Phrasing, Part 2: Strong-Bar, Weak-Bar
In this segment of the "Phrasing" series, Pat shows the emotional consequences of starting your lyric phrase in either the strong bar or the weak bar.

Inspiration and Creativity

Using Chords
Profound examples of how experimenting with the chord beneath important melody notes can affect the emotional impact of a song.
Surprises in Songs
Join Steve Seskin in taking a look at songs that become really memorable because of their surprises.
The Curse of the Second Verse
So, you've got verse 1 and you've got a great chorus - now what?


The difference between the free-flowing first draft of a song, and the more analytical tweaking that's required for rewriting.
Quick Tips
The Bridge
This Quick Tip covers the most important questions you should ask yourself when you're wondering if you should write a bridge or not and if so, where to go with it. What is a bridge? Where does it typically happen in a song? What's the function of a bridge, exactly?
Quick Tip: Inversions And Magic Chords
Use chords with base notes other than the root of the chord as a way to get root movement and cool sounding chords.
Quick Tip: What Kind of Writer Are You
What kind of writer are you? What are you trying to accomplish with your writing right now? Bonnie and Steve talk about approaching songwriting with an understanding of what your individuality brings to the table -- and a reminder to have fun.

Songwriting Techniques

Quick Tip: The Pre Chorus
What is the pre-chorus? What is its job? How long should it be? Everything you ever wanted to know about the pre-chorus in under 10 minutes.

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