Melody writing can be a make or break aspect of your songwriting. A weak lyric doesn’t seem to hold back a strong melody like a weak melody can hold back a strong lyric. Ideally you want both, plus a really strong harmonic progression together with an established song structure or form, to create a meaningful song. So if melody writing is that important and is arguably the most important aspect of your song, how do you learn it? And how do you become really good at it?
That’s a question I am asked over and over by students, at songwriting clubs, Guilds, Meetups, and Workshops, but before I answer it directly, I’d like to share with you an observation I’ve made over the years. The songwriters that I have met who’s greatest strength is their melody writing ability have almost all had extensive experience singing cover songs. Why do you think that might be? Well, it’s my belief that usually the kinds of songs that performers play at gigs are the ones their fans most want to hear. That means the songs cover singers sing tend to be the most popular songs in their genre. I also believe that there is a general correlation between a song being popular and it being well written. That means these cover song singers have spent an important part of their development singing the best written songs by the master songwriters of their generation.