I Use These 5 Exercises To Write A New Song | Songwriting Experiments

A collaboration with Keppie Coutts

Nicole Stella
The Independent Musician Academy
4 min readNov 23, 2021


Songwriting is hard.
Not only it requires quite a big set of skills. It also involves a certain degree of self-study and self-awareness.
It can be so easy to tangle up in one’s own little world, forgetting about external ideas and inspirations. And a good technique, too!

When you face a big challenge, such as the project I now have in the works, a change of perspective is often essential.

Luckily, I found Keppie Coutts and her YouTube videos on songwriting.

In one of her videos, in particular, I found the perfect plan to sit down and write the first song for my new concept album.

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

The importance of senses

It all starts with five songwriting exercises:

  1. object writing
  2. no rhyme lyrics
  3. 2-chords structure
  4. AABA song form
  5. verbs upgrade

Some of these exercises, numbers 1 and 5 in particular, can also be applied to other forms of writing or storytelling in general.

While listening to Keppie discuss how object writing can help you write better lyrics, I was suddenly reminded of Screenwriting 101.

When you decide to write your story for the screen, there is a non-negotiable rule to respect: show, don’t tell.

Great songwriters, such as Bob Dylan, Tom Waits, or Joni Mitchell, applied this rule to the song form with great results. Why shouldn’t we?

The first exercise presented by Keppie can be a great method to apply that golden rule to our songs.

Object writing forces you to describe a certain thing or situation focusing on the senses, not on the feelings nor the inner dialogue that thing or situation triggers. It’s a subtle, but essential difference.

Even when the object is a sentiment, rather than a physical thing, you can describe it through your senses rather than your feelings.



Nicole Stella
The Independent Musician Academy

Independent singer and songwriter, movie and TV series addicted, chai tea lover. Listen to my music here: www.nicolestella.com