Songwriting Resources

Hello, all! This week I figured I would share a few of my favorite websites/resources that have helped me with my music throughout my own artistic journey. Hopefully they’ll be able to inspire/instruct a few people just as they inspired and instructed me.

The big one: Ultimate Guitar. This is the place I find the majority of my chord sheets for different songs I cover. Users are able to upload and edit chords and tabs, and each sheet is able to be rated by other users so you can see what kind of quality the particular version is.

Chordify is another cool site. It takes youtube videos and mp3 files and turns the audio into chords on the spot. It’s not always 100% accurate or reliable, but it’s definitely a cool idea, and I’d say it’s worth checking out.

For anyone who does any Christian religious music, SongSelect is my website of choice. This is a database of worship songs and other religious material which works great for printing out materials for church bands/worship nights/etc.

Musescore is a great resource but you do have to have an account to gain access to its full features. This is a database of PDFs and sheet music available to purchase or download. It also allows you to create your own sheet music. I don’t have a lot of experience with this particular resource, but I have friends who swear by it.

If you write music note by note on a staff, Noteflight is the place for you. I’ve used it mostly for arranging for a cappella ensembles in the past, but I know people who arrange/write for choirs, piano, orchestras, bands, etc. on this site. It’s easy to use for the most part, and really allows for you to create whatever you can possibly think up: an A+ resource in my opinion.


If you need an online guitar tuner, Fender has your back! I often forget my tuner when I bring one of my guitars somewhere, and this online tool has really helped me.

The Ultimate Guitar mobile app also has a built in chromatic tuner, brain tuner, metronome, chord library, chord progression database, and much more. Honestly just download it right now. I use it almost every day.

RhymeZone is another big one for me. When I’m writing lyrics I often find myself stuck in a situation where I have one super strong line and nothing to pair it with. RhymeZone allows you to search for perfect rhymes, near rhymes, synonyms, descriptive phrases, and much more, It also displays single word results and entire phrases that may match your rhyme scheme as well.

Bits and Pieces

I’ve had a rough week or so in terms of writing anything good enough to deem worthy of finishing. So instead of posting a full song this week, I’ve decided to post a few bits and pieces I’ve written down in the last few months.

Some are sad, some are happy. The styles are all different, and I’m not sure exactly what the tune to some of them are yet. But there is a certain beauty in an unfinished song. They’re in their ‘poetry’ stages. So, here you go:


#1: (a song for the seasons)

Wake up blanketed in white
stars like tiny twinkling lights
and I’m finally home
porch is dusty striped with snow
air is biting bitter cold
and I’m finally home

And I open shutters wide
should I run, should I hide
Is it finally time

It’s another barely merry Christmas


#2: (a song for fading feelings)

What do I say when the feelings all fade
But I promised you my forever
What do I do when I said I’d stay true
But in all my dreams I’m not tethered
You’re all I have, and I know that
What my heart wants, is what it once had
How do I stay when I feel I must stray
Is my only choice now or never

Every new night I add to my lies
And I weave a new stupid pattern
With every word sent and every word meant
My bond to you has but shattered
You’re who I’ve got I want whom you’re not
I need to hold on but everything’s wrong
What do I say when it all fades to gray
And everything’s gone that once mattered


#3: (A song for the towns we call home)

Small town small minds
Not too many passersby
Crazy girls simple lives
Its home
Big fields bigger dreams
Everything is as it seems
Stuck there till seventeen
That’s home
Then we leave and we see what the real world says
About us small town home grown women and men

You tell em where you’re from just by naming a state
All they’ll nod like they know but they don’t what to say
And everywhere you go everything is strange
Like what are you doing here?
You try your very best to be a part of this place
But in the end you’re 2000 miles away
And deep inside a part wishes you’d stayed
Home home.


#4: (a song for MY town I call home)

I was born in a town
where the greatest place around
was the Culvers on the side of highway sixty
And our idea of a getaway
Was a 40 minute drive away
To the shores of the Great Lake out in Milwaukee


#5: (religious, but my attempt at a song of lament)

Oh Father how I feel like old Jerusalem
Once full of people and the vibrant lives they shared
Now like that silent city I will weep away my sorrows
and it’s more than one small single soul can bear

The tears are streaming faster as I count the names of friends who’ve turned their backs as they have carried on their ways
Now like the silent city I will find no rest tonight
for my mortal heart is once again betrayed

What is a Hook?

This week’s post is going to be a bit more informational than creative. As I’ve been messing around with my own music in the past few months, I’ve been trying to experiment with a specific aspect of my songs: the hook. Though ‘the hook’ is usually singular when people talk about it in reference to songwriting, in all honesty a song can have one, three, four, or fifteen hooks depending on what the artist is going for.

But what does this term mean? Why is it so important?

Most people associate the hook with a song’s chorus. This can be true, but it isn’t always the case. Examples of hook-y choruses can be found in many modern pop songs–these are the ones you hear on the radio and for some reason can’t get that one line out of your head. Hint: that’s probably a hook. A classic for me growing up was “We are Never Ever Getting Back Together” ( ) by Taylor Swift. The “never ever ever ever”s repeat multiple times throughout the song and stick in your head for hours after listening to it. They’re interesting and memorable enough where the song becomes something you want to listen to again. They’re also relatable for many teenagers who’ve gone through similar situations to the one Swift is describing in her lyrics. This is crucial for a lyrical hook.

But hooks don’t have to be lyrical. There are musical and rhythmic hooks as well.

A great example of a musical/rhythmic hook is the classic Queen song “Another One Bites the Dust.” Though I could not repeat the lyrics back to you word for word, I can immediately identify this song if it comes on in a restaurant or supermarket or wherever else. The bass line is iconic and functions as a hook within itself. It is recognizable, reproducible, and helps a listener identify the song within seconds. ( ) Other examples of songs with rhythmic or musical hooks include: “Sweet Caroline,” (BUH BUH BUH) and “Mamma Mia.” These both have specific musical passages which are catchy and memorable.

Hooks can be produced with percussive beats as well. The best example I can think of off the top of my head is “We Will Rock You.” ( ) There’s a reason Queen is such a successful music group. Their hooks–lyrical, melodic, rhythmic–are all fire. Each song stands apart from the others in a good way and is interesting within itself.

Many record labels encourage artists to focus on adding multiple hooks to a song. Lyrical hooks are the first step–you need words which people will relate with and catch themselves singing on their way to work. But the other types of hooks are just as, if not more, important. They are the small musical passages which will have a song stuck in someone’s head even when they don’t know the words. They’re not quite sure when they even heard the song, but because of the different hooks at play, it will be hard for them to forget it.

Tape as Art

Tape. You’ve used it before. You’ve tested out all of the different kinds and found your favorite. You’ve duct taped the dent in your car or wrapped your throbbing toes with medical tape. You’ve attempted making a wallet back when duct tape wallets were cool and posted the Harry Potter book cover poster you got at the book release on your wall with shiny Scotch tape. Now that you’re older, you may have even tried Kim K’s breast taping secret trick or found one of your own. But did you know there’s more to tape than just sticking things together? Tape can be used for much more. It can be used as a medium to build and create beautiful works of art.

Now that tape is being made in a variety of colors and sizes, artists are finding new ways to get creative with the sticky substance. Some are taking colored tape and putting it in designs, shapes, or lines on walls, floors, windows, and gates as if tape is a new way of making graffiti or decorating a home. They’re taking traditional works of art and recreating them in tape form. They’re looking at a blank wall not as a soon-to-be-painted partition, but as a blank canvas ready for their tape art. Painting takes time; you have to wait for paint to dry. But, tape lets you get creative right away and keep changing a wall until the work of art in your mind becomes the work of art in your home.

Others tape artists are saying goodbye to tulle and satin and building dresses and suits out of this magical medium. They’re creating cool accessories to brighten up or add a personal taste to their outfits. They’re getting creative with what can be considered “prom formal” and finding a way to make that special night even more personal.

Can’t find the perfect design to use as your next tattoo? Tape artists have got you covered there, too. Tape is now the perfect way to create your own unique body art without the commitment of a life-long pattern. It’s also great for creating personalized jewelry that can change with each outfit so you never have to worry about wearing the same ensemble twice.

Even more tape artists are taking to their crafting tables to create anything from sculptures and lampshades, to hammocks and rugs, to candles and bookmarks. These people are starting small and slowly taking on new sticky adventures in tape art that continue to wow the world.

Don’t believe me? Just do a quick Google search of “tape as art” and you’ll find hundreds of creative people sharing their masterpieces. Need inspiration? Watch a few YouTube How-To videos or sign into that Pinterest account you forgot about for fun ideas that’ll remind you how creative the world can be with even the simplest of hardware store items. Or, if you’re not feeling it, just do what Kim does and tape up the girls for a fun night on the town. I’m not judging.