Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter

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Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter is a wonderfully written book that will inspire songwriters to be themselves while writing song content. The author, Mike Errico, is able to give advice to his students without restricting them in their creative avenues. The book has several Q & A sections in which Errico interviews professionals from all walks of life, from a mechanical engineer who works on tire design to a fly fishing business owner, and connects these sessions to the different aspects of songwriting. He also starts the book with a list of “Ten Rules for Students and Teachers”. These ten rules set the tone for the book and from there, the ideas can flow freely.

One of the interesting points that Errico makes is the difference between the definition of a “hit” song. There is the industry definition and the workable writer definition. Writing for the hit charts versus writing to expand your circle of people who love your work are two separate things.

The tools that Errico gives his readers are definitely the most appealing part of this book. Many people may not know where to start or what to write about or they may overthink what they are doing and think that what they are writing is trash, thus not finishing the song or dismissing it before others can even have an opinion about it. One tip that seems so simple is to journal and write at least three pages. Or write about something for ten minutes. Errico teaches his reader that content ideas can come from just about anywhere and by journalling, you never know what thoughts could become your next song. There are also questions that you can ask yourself to prompt ideas. One of my favorite ideas that Errico suggests is to write as if you are someone who has a “brand” as a writer but also had a pseudonym no one could ever trace back to you. He asks “what would that alter ego look like?”.

Errico fine-tunes the songwriter’s works by giving tips on things that one might never think about. Subjects such as silence, the way the brain works, are you writing with a call-to-action, about a person, place, or thing? What are you trying to evoke in your listeners?

Overall, Errico does a fantastic job of giving his readers much to think about when writing a song. Not everything is as clear-cut as it seems. I recommend this book to anyone who is or wants to write creatively. It will spark some great ideas and thoughts.

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Star Count 4/5
Format Hard
Page Count 254 pages
Publisher Backbeat Books/Rowman & Littlefield
Publish Date 01-Nov-2021
ISBN 978149305987 Buy this Book
Issue October 2021
Category Music & Movies