Learn how chords work to improve songwriting

The Songwriting Series ‘Understanding Chords’ teaches you how music is structured. To makes songwriting easier, faster and more intuitive.

This is one of the parts of my job that I love to be a part of. Someone calls or messages and says, “I wrote a song”. It’s like, WTF, OMG and all those other acronyms that I don’t really know what they mean so I won’t write them here. It’s like someone discovered that they could speak a different language all of a sudden. The most exciting part is that this is something that is unique to this person. Yes, there may be similar lyrics, similar melodies and similar chord patterns, but there is one big difference, ‘YOU’. The big difference is ‘YOU’.

I remember being very frustrated doing pub gigs, playing the same songs for ten years. Khe Sanh, The Gambler and those other songs that people would always request. It got me thinking, ‘why’? Why am I doing this, why not put on a CD and just hit play? Then it suddenly occurred to me that the difference between a CD playing Khe Sanh or me playing Khe Sanh was ME. Suddenly it all made sense, now I enjoyed playing covers again. I was the difference. I AM the difference. From then on I started changing how I played the cover songs. Instead of trying so hard to sound like the original, I was making the songs have my sound. It’s me that is the difference.

I was the difference. I AM the difference.

When you write your own song, it is extremely personal and often I get to hear songs that have never been heard before, new, original and unique. It is extremely exciting.

I have a friend that was sending me a song every week. Getting that email and listening to these songs was the best experience.

For someone starting out with their very first song, there are a mixture of fears. The number one fear is that people might not like the song, let’s get this out straight away. There will be people that won’t like your song, but there will be people that do and luckily, you wrote this song for them.

The second big fear is that someone will steal your song. By Australian law, you own it just because you wrote it, but I would encourage every songwriter to register with an organisation like APRA/AMCOS.


Become a full writer member and register your songs. Yes, someone could possibly steal your song, that can happen on rare occasions, but remember you wrote this song to share with people. If you wrote the song to say something, then say it.

The next biggest issue people have is what do I do with my new song. Simple answer, it depends.

Here are some options.

  • If you sing, record it on your phone and post it on YouTube.
  • Send it to an artist that you think could perform your song really well.
  • Play it to some friends to see what they think.
  • Record it in a home studio.
  • Pay a producer to record the song for you.
  • Organise a gig and play your new song as well as some covers.
  • Record in a studio and put it on itunes.

The exciting part is that this is ‘Your Song’ so you can do whatever you like with it.

There is no wrong answer to what you do with your new song, but if you do write a song, write some more. From my experience, songwriters get better at writing with every new song.

You are the unique part of what makes your music valuable. Never be afraid of being You-nique.

Chris Richter


Start your own music tutoring business

Many musicians NEED a steady consistent income while they build their music career. This program will get you on the road to earning extra income each week from the skills you already have.

Start your own music tutoring business

Many musicians NEED a steady consistent income while they build their music career. This program will get you on the road to earning extra income each week from the skills you already have.

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