Mainly Piano – Kathy Parsons (11/22/2019)
The Professional Songwriter is a very complete and easy-to-understand handbook/textbook intended for those who aspire to become professional songwriters (as opposed to hobbyists, although there is plenty of valuable information for them, too!). Written by Dr. Louis Anthony deLise, an award-winning composer, record producer, arranger and conductor, the book covers everything from basic music theory to monetizing your music to working with publishers. With a lifetime of experience in the music industry, deLise’s writing comes from one who has been “in the trenches” and has first-hand knowledge of how the industry works – as well as pitfalls to avoid. deLise has worked with artists in virtually every genre of music (including Carlos Santana, Patti LaBelle, Wynonna Judd, Paul Shaffer and many others) in addition to composing and publishing his own music. He has also served on the Theory and Composition Faculties of the Boyer College of Music and Dance, and Rowen University.
The eleven chapters in the book include “Melody, Rhythm and Harmony,” “Song Forms,” “The Blues Form,” “Verse/Chorus Form,” “Lyrics,” “Reasons to Write, Methods to Monetize” and a glossary of terms. That may sound kind of dry, but deLise’s writing is engaging and he frequently uses wit to get his points across. There are many samples of well-known songs to illustrate his points and deLise also makes frequent use of side-bars to add information about the subject-at-hand. Most of the chapters end with suggested exercises to try out the knowledge you have gained from the chapter. One such exercise is “Create an 8-measure chord progression using two of the 4-measure chord progressions presented in this chapter. Next, create a melody that works (and sings) well over your new 8-measure progression.” Great exercises!
One of the things I found fascinating about deLise’s approach to the book is that songwriting is a craft. One doesn’t need to be constantly inspired to write good songs. Regular, consistent practice is the key, not a lightning bolt from the heavens!
So, if you are interested in what makes a good song good as well as getting tips about how to create them, The Professional Songwriter is a great source! It is available from www.LouisAnthonydeLise.com and Amazon. Highly recommended!