The Compositional Drummer

The Compositional Drummer

Information for the career minded drummer and musician

New Songwriters, tired of hitting the brick wall of writers block…

Effective music composition  (Part 1.)

In this segment, which is primarily aimed at beginners, I will discuss what you NEED to know in order to compose music effectively when you are feeling less inspired.


I used to think that great songs just were great “just because” of talent, luck, exceptional studio production or any combination of the three. However, after I began my studies in music school I learned that most composers of great music made “educated” choices while composing based on some very basic rules of harmony. For instance, many hits are written with the simple harmonic movement of (I-IV-V-I). Why, because that method has been time tested and is simple to understand from a listeners perspective. Remember, the overarching purpose of writing is to convey a creative musical thought to an audience.


Secondly, writing style is often dictated by ones level of compositional facility, creativity and ability. For the beginning writer, if you were like me in the beginning, you might say it doesn’t take all of that. But, it really does, especially when you hit the brick wall of writer’s block. Having a basic understanding of what is termed in academia as, “functional harmony” will open up options for you. As opposed to fiddling around on the piano or guitar fishing for your next idea you can make more intelligent musical choices based on those rules. Moreover, understanding basic rhythmic subdividing to the sixteenth note will aid in your ability to properly syllablize words in your lyric (melodic rhythm).


Finally, I know this information may seem daunting to you but it’s not. Learning is a process and if you are willing to dedicate a little bit of time and effort you can and will turn out great music. To aide in your remediation, learning and understanding you will need 1) a cheap keyboard instrument 2) A musicianship program like Musica Practica by Ars Nova or MacGamut 6 (I’ll add links to both on the bottom). 3) A music composition teacher **Hint, Hint**. The goal is to get your musicianship skills up so that when you are stuck in your writing your understanding will give you options. I’m available to talk via Skype or one on one if you are here in New York tristate area.


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