How Watching TV Can Help You Write Songs

How watching TV can make you a better #songwriter

Watching TV often feels like time wasted, doesn't it? If you're actively watching and listening (not multi-tasking like I do frequently), you're not getting anything "done." I want to get rid of this notion that watching TV is bad and show you how it can actually help your creativity. First, let's clear the notion that "wasting time" is even a thing. If you're enjoying your life, you're not wasting time! Could you be doing something else? Sure, always. You could literally always be doing something else, so why sleep? Why work? My point here is that spending[...]


Toplining – What it is (and Isn’t) and How to Become a Topliner

What is toplining and how to become a topliner

Toplining is a weird music term. Some musicians I've spoken with about songwriting had never heard of it. Others believed that songwriting and toplining were the same thing. I want to talk about exactly what it is and how you can become a topliner in the industry. What is toplining? Toplining is essentially writing a vocal part over a pre-made music bed. It *is* songwriting in the sense that you're writing a crucial part of the song, but it is *not* songwriting in that you're creating a new song from scratch. If someone hires you to do toplining, they've alr[...]


Soprano Session Singers: Where to Find Them and How to Become One

How to hire or be a soprano session singer

If you're reading this, you're probably either searching for a session singer or curious about becoming one. I'll start with the question I get frequently: "Are you a soprano session singer?" and my answer is always, "it depends." Let's explore what to ask when hiring a soprano session singer.   What to ask a soprano session singer A soprano is a singer who sings higher notes. However, the term "soprano" is very relative. Mariah Carey could be classified as a soprano, but she has a five-octave range, so she could very easily be considered an alto as[...]


The Coda: A Breakdown of a (Sometimes Tricky) Musical Symbol

What is a coda in sheet music?

The coda is another sheet music term, which again you don’t need to know if you’re a writer or musician who doesn’t read/write sheet music. If you do want to know though, the coda is an important part of letting the performer know where the song is going. When do I need to know about the coda? Sheet music is confusing enough, but then you add a bunch of weird symbols at the top of it and it's a nightmare. I get it! I've been reading sheet music since 5th grade so it was a while ago, but I remember being frustrated and confused. Here's a picture of the[...]


Bass and Treble Clef – Sheet Music’s Traffic Control

The bass and treble clef for sheet music

If you're a session singer (or any kind of singer), you'll probably have to read sheet music at some point in your career. If you've never done it before, it might freak you out. What are all of those weird symbols? What do they mean and what do you do with them? I'm going to focus on just two today: Bass and Treble clef. The two shapes above are clefs (the asterisk on the left isn’t part of it but it was part of the clip art, sorry). On the left is the Treble Clef, on the right is the Bass Clef. The treble goes on the top bar, bass on the bottom. They ba[...]


Chorus Confusion: Taking the Guesswork Out of Songwriting

The chorus, also called "hook" or "refrain," is, in my opinion, the easiest part of the song to write. I know you're thinking "what, why?? You're crazy!" and you're correct, but hear me out: You only have to write it once, and then a third of the song is done. The verses are where you tell the story and explain yourself. The chorus is where you hammer the main point home. Choruses can still be confusing, so let's talk about them a little more: First, what is a chorus? In my book, I talk about how the Chorus is the part of the song that has the same words a[...]