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Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting: 126 Proven Techniques for Writing Songs That Sell Paperback – October 1, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"For people serious about writing great songs, it's got it all!" ~ Kara DioGuardi, BMI "Songwriter of the Year"  

"Concrete tools to kickstart your songwriting. Should be in every songwriter's arsenal." ~Jason Blume, author, hit songwriter

"An excellent road map for writers at all levels. This is the songwriter's GPS!" ~ Ralph Murphy, V.P. ASCAP, Nashville

About the Author

Robin Frederick has written more than 500 songs for television, records, theater, and audio products. She is a former Director of A&R for Rhino Records, Executive Producer of over 60 albums, and the author of "Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting" and "Shortcuts to Songwriting for Film & TV." Robin currently oversees the A&R Team for TAXI, the world's leading independent A&R company.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: TAXI Music Books (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982004001
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982004005
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of songwriting books and I learned more in this one than all the other ones combined. The author has a knack for explaining things really clearly, and she breaks down the craft of songwriting into digestible "shortcuts." What really sets this songwriting book apart are the "Do it Now" exercises at the end of each section, where you get to try a real hands-on application of what you just read. It's a fun read too...the author manages to be entertaining and funny while teaching you everything you need to know to write a hit song. If you're a songwriter or want to be one, this is a must-read!
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A Kid's Review on August 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
So before I write a review, a little about me, because whenever you read a review for an music product, whether a $5,000 Gibson guitar, or a $20 sustain pedal for a keyboard, you need to know your source. I've been playing guitar for a long time, but not seriously (currently in my late 20s). I've written my own songs, but for fun. I can play lots of chords, but can't play a solo or scale to save my soul. I know a bit about music theory, but can't site read or anything fancy.

Summary:
Good Points:
* Book is concise.
* Easy read for beginners.
* Requires no knowledge of music theory.
* Uses examples of contemporary songs across multiple genres for examples of good songwriting.
* Provides only the most the basic theory necessary to write songs, so as not to intimidate rookie songwriters.

Weak Points:
- Can be repetitive (although for some, this can actually be a good thing, because it is purposeful repetition)
- Needs a chapter that breaks down the song structure, lyrics and melodies endemic to individual genres
- It could do a better job for those with knowledge of intermediate music theory. Perhaps a sequel? ;)

Overall, I would say the book is a must read for someone just getting their feet into the world of songwriting. If you think you have some innate talent for writing melodies, lyrics, chord progression or entire songs, then as you flip through the pages of this book it will seem to tie together thoughts and elements that you had some ethereal grasp of, but never quite codified in your mind.

Along those same lines, the book will also help you begin to think critically about the music to which you are currently listening.
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Format: Paperback
I don't have a huge problem with this book if it's useful to you and you have some fun playing with it. The real problem I have with it is that it sweeps under the rug the realities of the current state of the major labels and radio. Both are dying industries that are on life support because they've long ignored the needs and desires of their audience. They've evolved from being businesses built by music people for music fans into corporations run by accountants and lawyers for stockholders, where the "product" is treated no differently than mass-produced widgets.

Books like this are all about pleasing the accountants and lawyers who pay off radio conglomerates to play whatever they're peddling this minute, and not pleasing the real audience who hungers for quality music of the kind they're not getting from the rusty dinosaurs who run the traditional music business. You have other options now. If you write great songs and you can get them in front of audiences, no matter how small you start out, you can make a living in music without ever getting on the radio. Thousands of people are doing it. Only a few are doing it the old-fashioned, traditional way that's being described in this book and other books like it. And if country or pre-adolescent pop isn't your genre, your chances of being a "hit" songwriter with a sustainable career in the traditional music business is worse than your chance of being hit by lightning.

I'm not here to rain on anyone's dream. Just the opposite. I'm telling you there are actually more ways to make a living writing music now than there were when the corporate gatekeepers held all the cards. If you're reading this book to "get rich" in songwriting, you're barking up the wrong tree. Concentrate on writing great songs, not "hit" songs.
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Format: Paperback
Here's a good question: why buy a book on songwriting? I'm willing to bet that most of your answers will fall into one of two categories: 1) you're a beginner who wants to learn where to start, or 2) you are a songwriter who strives to improve their craft. Regardless of your answer, this book is for you! With 126 practical songwriting tips and loads of valuable exercises, Robin Frederick has succeeded in creating a powerful book designed to help you achieve your songwriting goals.

This inspiring and informative book is not meant to stay on the bookshelf. It is an efficient, fun to use tool that is meant to be used-used-used! You'll learn techniques used by successful songwriters, and Robin's writing style is so enthusiastic you'll believe you can do it too. What's more, throughout the book you'll be encouraged to "Do It Now"!

A unique feature of the book is that it can be read in any order. Reading forward, backward, or inside out, you can quickly find something to improve and energize your songwriting skills. This book was truly written and organized with the creative mind in mind.

Because the information is so on-the-mark, it is easy to feel confident that Robin Frederick knows what she's talking about, and this trust factor really helps the learning process. And speaking of easy: I tell my friends this book is so user-friendly you can feel the life jumping off the page! I predict that it'll be hard to resist the urge to write a song after holding this book in your hands for only a few minutes.

I can't speak more highly of this honest, straight-shooting book. If you dive in with real determination, you'll come out soaked with all the ideas, skills, and energy you need to take your songs to the next level.
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