Songwriting in Practice

Notebooks, Journals, Logs, Lists

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  • Suggested Retail Price: $16.99
  • Format: Book
  • Pages: 224
  • Dimensions: 5.75x9
  • ISBN: 9780876391907
  • SKU: 00244545
  • Publication Date: October 23, 2018

Related Online Courses & Programs

Bachelor of Professional Studies: Songwriting

Learn techniques for writing original songs in a variety of musical styles—techniques that have propelled Berklee alumni to write number one songs and win Grammy Awards. In this program, you will develop skills to create song structures, harmonies, melodies, and lyrics that support and enhance the ideas that you want to express.

Professional Songwriting Certificate Program

Whether you’re a new or experienced songwriter and whether your goal is to write a chart-topper or to pack a more emotionally powerful punch with your songs, this program will not allow you to settle for anything less than your very best work.

Commercial Songwriting Techniques

Learn to write for commercial success by reproducing the time-tested characteristics of hit songs while maintaining your own unique voice.

Specialist Songwriting Certificate Program

Studying with Berklee’s accomplished songwriting faculty, you'll delve into lyric writing, melody, harmony, theory, arranging, and strategies employed by some of the all-time great songwriters.

Songwriting: Writing Hit Songs

Learn to make the most effective settings for your melodic, harmonic and lyrical ideas. Move your listeners and express yourself more effectively by crafting song sections and complete songs the way hit writers do.

Become a more productive songwriter! Learn to organize the full range of your creative content, from starting inspirations to finished songs. This book offers pragmatic tools, resources, practices, and principles for managing the many kinds of creative materials gathered or generated across a song’s life cycle. Organize your ideas and sources of inspiration, sketches and drafts, versions and revisions, to streamline your songwriting process. Create and use “song seed” notebooks and lists, song journals, and writing and co-writing session logs, as you develop your overall song catalog.

You will learn to:

  • Capture and access inspirations of all types—lyric, melodic, chordal, rhythmic, or concept—in songwriting notebooks, journals, and lists
  • Energize and improve your creative work writing by organizing all your song ideas for easy access at every stage of songwriting
  • Manage the full lifecycle of your songs, from sketches and drafts, through versions and revisions, to “fair copies” and demos
  • Develop an efficient songwriting workflow that connects inspirations to opportunities and projects
  • Rapidly access your strongest creative material in high-stakes, deadline-driven writing and co-writing sessions
  • Develop your song catalogue to support publishing, administration, and licensing
  • Use the organizing process to gain insights for advancing your craft and range as a writer

“With Songwriting in Practice, Mark Simos demonstrates that his grasp of the ‘back room’ elements of the craft is as great as his mastery on the creative side. There are few one-size-fits-all practices, but Mark has offered—and explained—so many productive options and outlooks that every serious songwriter is likely to find more than enough to take into consideration. By doing so, he’s done us all a great service.”

—Jon Weisberger, songwriter, 2012 IBMA Songwriter of the Year

“Every songwriter needs a guidebook like this—for motivation, for learning, for examples that give usable knowledge. Songwriting in Practice is one the best. I’ve always admired Mark Simos’ clear imagery in his songs, and he puts that kind of quality insight into practical lessons that will improve your craft as a songwriter.”

—Ellis Paul, award-winning performing songwriter, illustrator, educator, author, and speaker; founder of the New England Songwriters Retreat (NESR)

“While studying with him at Berklee, Mark opened my eyes to whole new ways of writing songs through his detailed and enlightening analysis of the creative process. With Songwriting in Practice, he takes that same meticulous look at parts of songwriting that are often neglected by creative types but are equally important to ensuring that creativity blossoms. Mark’s generous explanations of his own methods of organization, book-keeping, and productivity will prove essential to anyone with the ambition to become the best writer they can be, and to navigate the sometimes-confusing world of songwriting.”

—Molly Tuttle, songwriter, 2017 IBMA Guitar Player of the Year

“As a songwriter, I used to spend a lot of time fumbling through piles of scrap paper looking for lost lyrics. Working with ‘The Prof’ (as Mark Simos is known around Australia), I learned that being prepared for the moments when inspiration grabs you is as important as the inspiration itself. Now, I know exactly where I have written something down and can find it, when the time comes for it to be woven into a song. In this book, ‘The Prof’ lays out some basic ground rules to help you be ready for that inspiration—wherever and whenever it comes.”

—Jimmy Barnes, Australian singer, songwriter, and author

“Mark Simos is a master teacher. The language of inspiration and the language of songwriting can be delicate and mysterious. Mark’s intuitive and open-minded listening and communication have a way of elevating any individual writer’s confidence and unique voice, and his teaching is so compassionate and sincere. It is exciting to see Mark transform his dynamic and responsive style into book form, so that his perspectives and practices and wisdom can be passed around widely, between the songwriting-obsessed and the songwriting-curious!”

—Maya de Vitry, songwriter


Mark Simos

Mark Simos, an Assistant Professor in the Songwriting department at Berklee College of Music, has built a reputation as one…