SESSION 1 Course: Music Theory for Songwriters: Rhythm

Rhythmic motifs - Disclosure

Never Really Over by Katy Perry - Hook Theory’s analysis of the chorus

Clave: The Secret to Pop Rhythm

Tresillo - the “Dembow” Rhythm


Songwriting Tutorial Video

5 Day Singing Challenge

Hook Theory

  • Intelligent software that helps you create chord progressions and melodies

  • Best selling books that teach how to write chords and melody like the pros

  • Playable melody and chord progressions from 8000+ songs

  • Listen to a melody and chords and try to guess what they are

Producer Dojo Workshop

Ear Training - Interval Cheat Sheet

Practice Log

Berklee Videos


  • Analyze 5 songs - scale degrees, patterns & motifs

  • Lyric challenge

  • Song submission deadlines


Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way, Jeremy P. Tarcher/Putnam. Classic guide to the creative process. Also an online course.

Robin Frederick, Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting and Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film and TV, Taxi Music Books. Commercial, pop-oriented approach to writing songs.

Pat Pattison, Writing Better LyricsWriter’s Digest Books. Authoritative handbook on the lyrical craft.

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, Songwriting Basics for Guitarists, Stringletter. Multimedia guide with tab and video (includes guitar-specific presentations of some of the material in The Complete Singer-Songwriter).

Rikky Rooksby, How to Write Songs on Guitar, Backbeat Books. Detailed theory-based instruction on melody, harmony, rhythm, and chord progressions.

Jimmy Webb, Tunesmith: Inside the Art of SongwritingHyperion. A deep dive into one songwriter’s process.


Peter Blood and Annie Patterson, eds., Rise Up Singing: The Group Singing Sourcebook, Hal Leonard. Lyrics and chords to 1,200 songs, from folk ballads to ’70s rock. The sequel, Rise Again Songbook (published in 2015), adds nearly 1,200 more songs, including some more recent pop.

Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, Rock Troubadours, Stringletter. Interviews with James Taylor, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Dave Matthews, and more.

Paul Zollo, Songwriters On Songwriting, Da Capo. Massive collection of craft-oriented interviews. New in 2016: a follow-up volume, More Songwriters on Songwriting.


Annie Dillard, The Writing Life, Harper Perennial. An intense and poetic exploration of the creative process.

Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and LifeAnchor. A funny, smart, and encouraging book by a novelist and nonfiction writer.

William Strunk Jr. and E. B. White, The Elements of Style, Allyn and Bacon. The classic guide to clear and concise writing.


B-Rhymes. Website and apps for finding near rhymes.

Chorderator. One of many online tools (and apps) for naming chords based on a guitar fingering, or finding a fingering based on a chord name, in standard tuning or any alternate tuning.

Lyricist, Virtual Studio Systems. Software for creating lyric sheets and chord charts.

MasterWriter. A writer’s tool especially for brainstorming lyrics, using an extensive database of rhymes, phrases, alliterations, and pop culture references.

Rhyme Genie. Rhyming dictionary software.

RhymeZone. Free online rhyming dictionary.