How to Write a Song: Use Imagery and Small Moments | Part 1/9 | Andrea Stolpe | American Songwriter

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As a songwriter, you engage more with your listener if you employ the practice of “show, don’t tell” with your lyrics. In this video, songwriter and Berklee Online course author Andrea Stolpe shows why it’s important to use imagery in the verses of your song. She encourages you to think of your song as a conversation with a good friend: When you open up to that friend, you likely start by summarizing what’s going on, and then you quickly delve into greater detail with colorful anecdotes. Learn how to tailor your lyrics after this type of conversation, by starting on the surface, and then digging down to show what you’ve discovered. Focusing on imagery will make your lyrics stronger, and paint a more vivid image for your listeners.

Watch all the videos in this series:
How to Write a Song: Verses Carry the Story, Chorus Carries the Message:
How to Write a Song: Tips to Generate Imagery for Lyrics:
How to Write a Song: Focus on Weight and Pace of Moments:
How to Write a Song: Use Melody to Build Your Verse Lyrics:
How to Write a Song: Use Toggling in Your Lyrics:
How to Write a Song: Write Lyrics Through a Lens:
How to Write a Song: Imagery Tips for the Second Verse:
How to Write a Song: 5 Polishing Techniques for Lyrics:

About Andrea Stolpe:
Andrea Stolpe is a multiplatinum songwriter, performing artist, and educator. Her songs have been recorded by Faith Hill, Julianne Hough, Jimmy Wayne, and more. She has worked as a staff writer for EMI, Almo-Irving, and Universal Music Publishing. Her books, Popular Songwriting: 10 Steps to Effective Storytelling and Beginning Songwriting: Writing Your Own Lyrics, Melodies, and Chords detail a unique process for uniting your artistic voice with the commercial market. Andrea has taught melody, harmony, and lyric writing courses for Berklee Online for more than a decade. She authored the Berklee Online course Commercial Songwriting Techniques, which she teaches. She also teaches Lyric Writing: Writing from the Title, and Lyric Writing: Writing Lyrics to Music for Berklee Online.

About Berklee Online:

Berklee Online is the continuing education division of Berklee College of Music, delivering online access to Berklee’s acclaimed curriculum from anywhere in the world, offering online courses, certificate programs, and degree programs. Contact an Academic Advisor today:
1-866-BERKLEE (US)
1-617-747-2146 (international callers)

Andrea Stolpe | Songwriting Tips | Free Songwriting Lesson | Online Songwriting Lesson | Songwriting Tutorial | American Songwriter | I Create Music | Berklee | Berklee Online | Berklee College of Music


Qin Mus. says:

Loving the series!

J Michael says:

WOW Andrea is beautifully intoxicating… She was PERFECT this morning… She's awesome now… What sounds comes to mind? The late Eddie Money's 'Think I'm in Love' haha or Foreigner's "She's the woman every woman wants to be…that Woman In Black…got a hold on me… Won't let me be…" Andrea is like magic! How can you not love her? Moths to the flame!!!

Ian Webster says:

SO much cleared up here. I've heard Pat Pattison say the same things but Andrea communicates it just right. I've been doing Object writing (from Pat's Songwriting W/o Boundaries) for about 2 weeks. Daily, 6am, grab a brew and do some writing. Object writing was really difficult because I often ended up using too much narrative and not enough sense-bound writing. It definitely helped me to write but it wasn't targetting the right muscles (to stretch an exercise analogy).

Andrea comes at us with this video and CLICK. It's not about good grammar or cogeant narrative. It's about sticking to the senses and not diluting it with watery language. For example, telling the reader that the tramp on the park bench in the city needs to run for cover from the rain isn't the point. The point is the splash of the rain drop on the hood of the coat. The saturation of the furry lining of the parka's hood, dampening the hair of the park-bench sitter, with his weather-chisselled visage from scores of winters on the street.

So cheers for that, Andrea, you might have just taught me to write! Whatever Berklee are paying you, add a zero at the end.

Brian Gorman says:

there are a LOT of struggling writers, song or otherwise, that have no idea this video series is exactly what they're looking for. This deserves way more attention!

Edu Cabrera says:

I may have just fall in love

DJ BMurda says:

This was fascinating to watch.

Fikri Fadzil says:

Loving the series!

abcdefg hijklmnop says:

That was a great example. moving.

Caligas Cabron says:

Andrea you're always the best! thanks!

downhill2400 says:


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