You’ve written a song. You’re pretty happy with it as is but here are a few things that you can do to improve what you have. Now you can’t really be taught to write songs. I tell people that and I stand by it. The initial idea has to come from you. However, here are some ideas so that you can take what you have a make it just that little bit more appealing. First off you need to work out this one very important thing. Do you actually WANT to improve you song? That may seem like a stupid question but some songwriters know that their songs are a bit rambling and too long and not catchy but they’re happy for them to stay that way. They’re written a ‘story’ and feel that it would lose something to cull and edit their song. However, if you DO want to spruce your song up a bit here are a couple of easy tips that may work. In my last post about songwriting I mentioned Led Zeppelins Stairway To Heaven. I use this as an example because even though it’s an old song, most songwriters are aware of it and it can be used for a variety of reasons to illustrate many points. So, first off, your intro. Now, unless you have a KILLER intro like Stairway To Heaven, keep your intro short. I recently had someone play me one of their original songs for feedback and the intro to their song was at least twice as long as it should have been. The intro to Stairway to Heaven is long, but absolutely iconic. Otherwise, really be objective. An 8 bar intro is perfect even if you have a really great hooky riff. That’s the first thing. Secondly, don’t wait too long to bring in any other hooks. If you have a great chorus, bring it in as early as possible. Anyone listening to your song for the first time won’t have the patience to ‘wait for the good bits’. The exception to this rule is if you have a really compelling verse eg. Gotye ‘Somebody that I Use to Know’. Now in that song Gotye has a rather long but distinct intro and there is quite alot going on. The intro itself is very hooky. You DON’T want to sit there strumming G C AND D on your acoustic guitar for 16 bars. You’ll empty the room that way. So, if you want a long intro like Gotye’s big hit, make sure it’s riddled with hooks , otherwise keep it short and get to the song. Gotye also has a ‘double verse’ at the start of the song after the intro. Again, I advise against this unless it’s really strong and can keep people listening! And then he backs all that build up with a killer chorus. So, be objective and edit your song. Three minutes is a great length. I hear songs that go for 5 minutes or more all the time, and honestly, the song does not warrant that. So, shorten the intro, and tighten the whole arrangement up and the more hooks the better!