Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter

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Music, Lyrics, and Life: A Field Guide for the Advancing Songwriter is the perfect how-to book on writing effective lyrics, creating memorable music, and achieving success in the music industry. Mike Errico, a songwriting professor at New York University, has not only mentored countless students in this topic but is also an accomplished songwriter and artist himself. As he states, the wisdom he presents in these pages is applicable to all areas of life, not just songwriting.

Mike teaches through this book by introducing four big themes and incorporating these ideas into lessons and stories on songwriting. My favorite theme to read about was journaling. Personally falling into Mike’s category of “those who have been journaling since the days of diaries with the lock that didn’t work and the key you lost anyway,” I had to smile at his humor. During this section, Mike references Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way to present the guidelines for one’s daily journal, including three full pages, topic ideas, and the importance of writing longhand. I found the way Mike described journaling so insightful and beautiful. Never before had I thought about journaling in the way he presented it, and I think aspiring and accomplished songwriters could benefit from a refresher on its importance.

Another thing I found especially helpful about Mike’s book was his chapter on silence. Silence, the universal language, is important in songs, although I initially thought otherwise. Mike expertly advises, “if you don’t have something to say that improves on silence, then don’t say it.” When I thought about this phrase as applied to songs and not just life, I found Mike was right; there have been many times I have thought songs were too long or overdone, when the artist could simply have chosen to omit the section. I think many writers could benefit from this reminder that silence is not always a bad thing, and it is better to end a song early than convolute it.

Throughout this guide, Mike tells many stories from his own experiences and from events in the media. All of these anecdotes were humorous, insightful, and really helped establish and supplement the overall point. He also inserts various interviews with a wide range of individuals, all of whom further help Mike prove to the reader that the ideas presented truly will help them become better writers.

Overall, I really enjoyed reading this guidebook and I think all song writers, seasoned and beginner, could benefit tremendously from Mike’s guidance on writing and song production.

Reviewed By:

Author Mike Errico
Star Count /5
Format Hard
Page Count 254 pages
Publisher Backbeat Books/Rowman & Littlefield
Publish Date 01-Nov-2021
ISBN 9781493059874 Buy this Book
Issue October 2021
Category Music & Movies