Songwriting for Geniuses
Songwriting for Geniuses
25 Tips for the Genius in Everyone
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In Songwriting For Geniuses, singer/songwriter Gene Burnett offers 25 tips to aspiring songwriters for writing better, more satisfying songs. The author's contention is that within each of us is a place that knows when a song works and when it does not. This place of knowing is called many things: intuition, spirit, the unconscious. Burnett calls it your "genius," and it is to this inner genius that this book is addressed. A song that works, claims Burnett, is one that releases a "charge," first for the writer and then for the listener. With Burnett's simple and practical tips, you will learn to recognize this release as a guiding and shaping force in the songwriting process.

This little book is entitled Songwriting For Geniuses and is comprised of various “tips” that will hopefully help you write better, more satisfying songs. Please understand that I’m not saying that you need to be a genius to use this book; I’m saying that these tips are for the genius in you, whoever you are. I believe and experience that we all have a wealth of intelligence, creativity, and genius that most of us only tap into accidentally, if at all. This wealth of intelligence is what I call your “Genius.” It is far more powerful and wise than your conscious mind. It is sometimes called “Spirit” or “Intuition” or “Higher Mind.” I call it “Genius” and I have no idea what it is or what it’s made of or where it comes from. It just is.

My genius speaks to me in the form of sudden inspirations, as well as “right” feelings and “wrong” feelings, feelings of “Yes!” and “No!”, that resonate throughout my body. I have learned, with many years of practice, to tune into and listen to these feelings; to go where the “Yes!” feeling is and to slow down or turn back where the “No!” feeling is. I do what feels most deeply right to me, and I keep checking to see if what felt right to me once, still feels right to me now. I live this way, but you don’t have to. You can apply these principles to specific activities, such as songwriting. In this book I’ll be specifically addressing people who write songs or who want to write songs, but you can apply these tips to all sorts of activities, as well as to any other art form.

My aim is not to help you write commercially successful songs. This book is not about song formulas or music theory. There are plenty of books and teachers out there who can help you with chord progressions, hooks, melodies, copyright law, publishing, and things like that. I know a bit about these things, but not enough to give you expert advice. What I do know about is how to write songs that are satisfying to me; songs that capture and express what I think, feel, and experience in my life. This is something I’ve been doing since 1975. I write primarily because I have to. Writing songs is just something I must do in order to feel like myself. Whether other people like them or not is out of my control.

The tips that follow will hopefully help you write songs that are satisfying to you, songs that will express your thoughts and feelings in ways that connect your life to the lives of those around you. Even if you choose not to share them with other people, my hope is that these tips will help you write songs that will be satisying to play for yourself.

I invite you to try out some of these tips and see if they feel right, see if you like the results you get. If they do not, let them go. If they feel right and you get results you like, try some more. Experiment, live, learn, keep writing, and your songs will improve.

Gene Burnett is a T'ai-Chi teacher and singer/songwriter based in Ashland, Oregon. He began writing songs in 1975 when he was a senior in high school and has written over 400 since. He has recorded many albums over the years, most of which are available at his web site: He is also the author of T'ai-Chi For Geniuses--A Practice Companion For The Genius In Everyone.

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