Songwriting Lessons from the Experts: Q&A with author Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers

photo-originalLooking to take your craft and career as a performing singer-songwriter to the next level? Sometimes the right book can help you do just that.

I recently had a chat with my friend Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, whose critically-acclaimed book The Complete Singer-Songwriter: A Troubadour’s Guide to Writing, Recording, Performing and Business just came out in paperback. This updated and expanded second edition features songwriting tips and techniques from more than 100 artists, including Joni Mitchell, John Mayer, Paul Simon, Rosanne Cash, Jewel, Jeff Tweedy, Ani DiFranco, James Taylor, John Fogerty, Brandi Carlile, Richard Thompson, Jason Mraz, Rodney Crowell, Jerry Garcia, Dar Williams, and more.

Rodgers is the real deal: He is a grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, a contributor to NPR’s All Things Considered, and founding editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine.

Here are some highlights from our talk:

Q: What made you want to write The Complete Singer-Songwriter years ago? Why bring it now to paperback — how has the world of the performing singer-songwriter changed?

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How to Add “Finishing Touches” to Your Songs

A Christmas gift box with closed lid wrapped in silver paper and tied to a bow with a red satin ribbon. Placed on a weathered old wooden table with copy space to left and above. Vintage style.

This is a guest post by Paul Harrison

“Finishing touches” are options you can use to enhance the intended impact of a song and keep your listeners interested.  Keep in mind, there are many unconscious decisions when creating songs, like the pace of a song, how you strum or pick (for guitarists), the way you voice your chords, when to sing or play or when to be silent.  The Finishing Touches workshops I’ve facilitated have encouraged writers to become more aware of their options and to consider alternatives.

Finishing touches are like digital photography

Think of a song’s finishing touches like digital photography. With photography, capturing an image is the core of the creative effort but presenting it with maximum impact might mean intensifying or removing a color, reframing, or using other editing techniques.  Similarly, musical finishing touches don’t focus on modifying your lyrics and music but improve the creative package and improve how the listener hears your song.

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