Songwriting

Critique Your Own Songs: 6 Songwriting Questions That Can Teach You How!

by Marty Dodson
Jan 3, 2018

My #1 goal in doing mentoring sessions is to help people learn how to critique their own songs…

I’m trying to work my way out of a job, in a sense. If writers learn to critique their own work, then they don’t depend on me or anyone else to tell them when their songs are “good”. Here are 6 questions to ask yourself if you want to learn how to critique your own work.

Does every line in my lyric point to my title?

The lyric will be strongest if the answer is “yes”. If every line in your lyric points to the title, then you have likely set the title up well and stayed on topic.

Is my melody memorable?

If you keep forgetting what the melody is, that’s a bad sign. If you can’t get it out of your head, that’s a good one.

Can the listener keep up with my song chronologically?

If you jump back in forth in time, the song gets confusing. Make sure the listener can follow along with the timeline going on in the song if the song is not about one moment in time.

Are my pronouns clear?

This is one of the big mistakes I see. Make sure all of your pronouns are clear, especially if there are several “she’s” or “he’s” in the song.

Did I use “throw away lines” to get a rhyme?

This is the most common error I see. There will be a great line and the line that rhymes with it is horrible. Make sure your rhyming lines are as good as the line they rhyme WITH and you’ll make your song much stronger.

Are there any lines that make me cringe when I play the song for someone?

If you are honest with yourself, you know what the weak lines are in your song. Fix those and you’ll make your song better every time. Ask those simple questions after every write and you’ll be well on your way to learning to critique your own songs! Write on! Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

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