Listen to better music


Maybe this sounds obvious, but to become a better songwriter, listen to better music. OK, who defines better? Reply to this post if you want to take a crack at that.

At least listen to a wider variety of music. If you only listen to classic rock, try a little classical orchestral music or some unfamiliar folk music from another country.

If you only listen to top 40 radio, try changing the station.

If your favorite artist lists Bruce Springstein as an influence, listen to the Boss.

Back to the question of who defines ‘better.’ I don’t claim to be an expert, but I’ll list some acknowledged great songwriters below (I know there are many many more). If you haven’t studied their music, you might want give it a listen, as part of your musical education.

I’m not trying to convert fans for these songwriters, they certainly have plenty already. I am suggesting you can learn something from their music that could help make you a better and more well-rounded songwriter.

In no particular order: Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Antonio Carlos Jobim, Lennon and McCartney, Holland-Dozier-Holland, Lieber and Stoller, Quincy Jones, Lionel Ritchie, Cole Porter, Duke Ellington, George and Ira Gershwin, Stevie Wonder, Jimmy Webb, Johnny Mercer, Brian Wilson, Hal David, Burt Bacharach, Randy Newman, Michael Jackson, Elton John, Billy Joel, James Taylor, Nickolas Ashford, Valerie Simpson,
Hank Williams Sr., Smokey Robinson, Paul Simon, Robbie Robertson, Harold Arlen, Carole King, Laura Nyro, Bono, Sting, Roy Orbison, Van Morrison, Don McClean, Nancy Griffith, Woody Guthrie, Tom Paxton, Diane Warren, Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Richard Rogers, Lorenz Hart, Oscar Hammerstein, Patti Larkin, Ray Charles, Jacques Brel, Henry
Mancini and you can probably name dozens I overlooked. Again, reply to this post to slam me about obvious ones I overlooked.

Have fun listening.


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