Better Songwriting Tips from MusicRow411


It’s that time of year, the time when it seems like everyone is singing!  We gather with friends and family, at houses of worship, at parties and gatherings. Eventually someone breaks into song, with others joyfully joining in.

Holiday songs are learned at a young age and part of the lexicon of American celebration.  School programs, choral concerts, every elevator and mall in America is playing seasonal songs.  Music is everywhere!

Are you singing? Alot?  You should be!  This is the time to exercise those pipes and celebrate the season.  What is your favorite holiday song or version of a traditional song done by one of your favorite artists or groups.  Just about everyone who records or plays music has a repertoire of Christmas or Hanukah songs.  I have never heard Kwanza songs but I am sure they exist.

Since most Christmas music is happy, why not find a Pandora or Spotify station full of rockin’ tunes?  You can get almost anything done and dance around the house singing!

And Christmas songs can be mega money makers. The example below is unusual but, remember how long Little Brenda Lee’s ‘Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree’ or “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” have been around.

The $60 Million Song

Yes, there is a holiday song that has earned the writer and singer an estimated $60 million dollars in royalties.  Obviously it is one of the all time favorites of listeners throughout the land, and the world!

When did it appear on radio? 1994.  Know what it is?  This song is the 11th best selling single of all time. Pretty cool for a seasonal song right?  Everybody loves singing this song and there are always tons of selfie IG stories and YouTube videos of people singing it.

Who are the writers of this iconic song? Mega producer Walter Afanasieff and songbird extraordinaire Mariah Carey.

Yep, you guessed it.  The song we’re talking about is “All I Want for Christmas Is You”.

Go ahead and have a listen, it will put you in the holiday spirit instantly.  And, there’s nothing that says you can’t listen to it all year long either!



Is Music Your Passion?

Start Somewhere….It’s All Good!

Writing songs can be frustrating, whether you’re a newbie or seasoned pro.  The scariest thing for all of us who like to write is facing the blank page.

But if you just start somewhere, with your pencil or pen (or tablet, voice memo whatever you like to write with) and put something down, you are starting the process, and songwriting is a process!

Maybe you have an idea for a song.  “I’m going to tell you what I think about you”, “love is unfair” ,”it’s Saturday night, let’s party!”. Whatever…  Write that down at the top of the page.  

Maybe you thought of a really cool title.  Write that down. Maybe you have a cool phrase or lyric line, write that down.

The point is to just start somewhere! You’d be surprised how many hit songs began the exact same way, with an idea, a title, a phrase or something the writer(s) wanted to say, to get across to a listener.

See, that wasn’t so hard was it?

Now what do you do?

Determine where you are and what you need

Ok next steps.  The first thing you need to do, is to determine where you are on the skill level.

For example….

– I am a really good writer, but have never written a song

– I write poetry and I really love music and think I could be a songwriter

– I have no clue how to get started but I want to try to write songs

You could fit anywhere on this sliding scale of ability, or you could be a new songwriter who has tried their hand at writing songs but always get confused or frustrated with the way the turn out.

So for the minute, let’s assume you are a brand new wannabe songwriter. Ok , the following things may seem overly simplistic but they are essential to becoming a songwriter and becoming a better songwriter.  And they apply to EVERYONE!

Songwriters are Storytellers first and foremost

Songs are stories, maybe only 3 minute stories, but they are stories. So first thing, do you know how to tell a story? Of course you do! We all tell stories everyday – to our friends, to our colleagues, to our family, on social media.  Life is stories!

But great and good stories all have the same fundamental things in common. And these things don’t change, and haven’t over time.

  • Songs need to have a beginning, a middle, and an end 
  • They have to have interest for the listener
  • There has to be a ‘hook’  that pulls it all together 


Songwriter Mike Farris

Nicole Galyon at The Bluebird Cafe

Street Musician in New Orleans

Great songwriters know how to tell great stories.  And a great story takes time to craft.

Feeling a bit overwhelmed?  No worries!  All you need are the right tools and the right mindset, and then you’re on your way!

Here at MR411 we have what you need to start learning how to get better.  We’ve taken the foundational information about songwriting and broken it into easily digestable and understandable sections that you can watch and learn from.

We want you to get better, because you will feel more confident as you begin to learn and do things the right way.  By starting with the basics and building upon each block of learning, you will become a better songwriter.  At your own pace, in your own time.  Everybody needs the right information to move forward. Without hype, without expensive add ons and phony promises.

You deserve to feel better, and take your dreams to the next level, whatever level you wish to aspire to.  That means different things to different people. You might want to work really really hard and get to the place that you want to see if other people want to sing and record your songs.  You might want to write and sing your songs,  you might want to be the best songwriter in your town or area, or you might have dreams of taking it all the way to the top.

Everyone starts somewhere. And with the right information and way to go about the process you CAN succeed! It’s up to you to decide what you want, where you want to take it and how hard you want to work.

Go ahead and stick your toes in the water,  you’ll get the hang of it. And if you stick to it, you will save yourself lots of time on the learning curve and prevent yourself from making a ton of mistakes that hold you back.  We believe in you, so you should too!