As a result, these songs often are just like diary entries. They make the writer feel better but won’t mean much to anyone else. I’ve been fortunate over the years to have written with some amazing writers: Hall of Fame old-timers who have cranked out big song after big song just by working harder than everyone else. The one thing that all these writers have in common is they know what questions to ask while they are creating their art. They review the options and seem to select the right choice to solve the questions that arise during the writing process. They are not afraid to look at all the angles, knowing that a single subtle word change can drastically affect the impact of an entire song.
When I began teaching and mentoring writers, I realized that my approach to teaching would follow a different path than what a college professor might take. How could I not? Being a full-time songwriter makes my perspective different. No time for theory or cleverness. No, I have to be real. Be interesting. Impactful. When the rubber meets the road, I have to deliver. So, I wanted to teach what’s real and what’s going to help aspiring writers get better at writing!
So, I began teaching from Questions, because knowing what questions to ask while writing is Job #1. Job #2? Choosing from all the available options. Should this be 3 BPM’s faster? Should I change the third chord to a minor? Does this song need a bridge? How you answer hundreds of questions develops you into the writer you’re meant to be.