Songwriting Part 2

Last time I wrote a little bit about how overused or common phrases tend to lose power or potency. To this discussion I would like to add that any moron can tell you what’s wrong with something, but few can tell you how to make it better, and even fewer have the commitment to actually do it. Let me just say I don’t want to be that moron. Writing a song is hard. The easy part of this process is recognizing “dead” wording. The difficult part is finding new ways to say things that don’t just make sense but actually impact the listener.

I recently had a five-minute conversation about songwriting with one of my songwriting heroes, Kevin Prosch. (Kevin may be the greatest unsung hero of the worship movement. In my opinion he could be the most influential worship leader of the last 20 years. Pick any successful modern worship band and, 9 times out of 10, I can trace what they do back to Kevin. )

Kevin told me that whenever he sees a sentence, or any group of words weather it be on a sign, in a book, or on a magazine cover he’ll reorder them in as many ways possible to see how many new lines he can make with the same words.

This is a great exercise as a songwriter and is a good way to experiment with new ways to say things in a lyric or song. If your lyrics are boring, flip them around a little. See how many things you can say with some of the same words.

Want to see how a master does it? Watch Bob Dylan in this video.


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8 comments
  1. This new series on songwriting you're doing is really helpful in so many ways. Thanks, and keep them coming!

  2. My perception is that we in the worship movement can lean so completely on old familiar cliches that we come across as plastic saints spinning cracked records; our sound just bounces off most people. Thanks for helping make worship unsafe again, John.And by the way, I agree, Kevin is an unknown genius.

  3. "Those records were extremely hard to find…they were like hen's teeth. If you came across them—somebody like myself who was a musical expeditionary—you would, uh, have to immerse yourself in them."

  4. Time last I wrote a little bit how common phrases potency overused tend to lose power. To this discussion I would like to add that any few and fewer can tell you what's wrong with something, you too tell how to make it but better, commitment actually can even do it. Let me have the moron just say I don't want to be that. Song writing is hard as @#*%! part recognizing "dead" processes is The easy of wording this. Finding new ways that make sense is the difficult part. Don't just say things but actually impact the listener.How was that? Was that how? That was how!

  5. Hey John, your songs have actually inspired me a lot man! And this posts about songwriting are so helpful! Thanks twice brother! Could i try to suggest a continuation to this sequence? Could you tell us about the next step on making a song: Fitting it to a series of musical notes and giving cool harmony to it? Bless the Lord 4 ur life! Thankx for worshiping HIM and to share this with us all.MATHEUS FREITAS.COMBelo Horizonte – Brazil

  6. Danielle said:

    Loving these posts!

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