Starting Point: Musician

Next stop: artist

Destination:
world builder
(through your Music, Lyrics & image)

Let me show you how a handful of great artists manage to appear larger-than-life. How, exactly, they take over a special, unique place in our lives. 


And let us apply that knowledge to build your artist identity & world, win you loyal fans who love supporting your music (and music career) and write your best music and lyrics ever.

Published in American Songwriter

Professor at ArtEZ University Netherlands

best-selling author on amazon

YouTube Content Creator Award
(400.000+ subscribers)

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Starting Point:
Musician
Next Stop:

Artist

Destination: 
WORLD builder
(through your Music, Lyrics & image)

Let me show you how a handful of great artists manage to appear larger-than-life. How, exactly, they take over a special, unique place in our lives. 


And let us apply that knowledge to build your artist identity & world, win you loyal fans who love supporting your music (and music career) and write your best music and lyrics ever.

Published in American Songwriter

Professor at ArtEZ University Netherlands

best-selling author on amazon

YouTube Content Creator Award
(400.000+ subscribers)

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what do "they" do differently?

What's their secret sauce? What is the difference between a songwriter-producer, performer, band VS a "real" artist?


And then (next level alert) - once we know the answer - what is the difference between "just" an artist... and a music legend?


Let's get more specific:

  • How does Ed Sheeran make his fans feel like he's their best friend?

  • Why is "Queen" such a fitting title for Beyoncé? (It's no accident)

  • How did Marilyn Manson manage to practically own his corner of the music world?

We all have a clear picture in our head when we think of these artists. Their identity is clear to us.


But how did they create this clear identity? What is it that distinguishes them from 99% of all songwriters, producers and artists out there?


And, much, much more importantly


What About you

What would your life be like, if...?

Before we explore their secrets, let me ask you a question first:


What would life be like if your artist persona and music had a clear, unique and unmistakable identity that stood out?


Most musicians don't even consider the value in this and only think about the results they crave...

"

Going through HSA has been so, so useful for my career. I now get regular theater-contracts to write [music].  HSA has been life-changing for me, for sure.


Nigel aka Kobby Taylor composer, songwriter-producer, rapper

what (nearly) all songwriter-producers want

#1 make consistent and productive progress towards mastery

That feeling when we notice:

 

"WOW, look how far I've come. A year ago, I couldn't have done anything near this."


Progressing towards a meaningful goal, showing up daily, growing as a human and musician and getting projects completed along the way is one of the best feelings. 


Especially if we also produce many great (and finished) songs.


This is how we go from amateurs to pros. And then from pros to masters.


#2 express ourselves authentically - with great music

Our music is meaningful to us.


All musicians I've talked to have experienced music helping them through really dark times. 


And, of course, the right songs can perfect a great moment.


All songwriter-producers have these kind of songs in them (as well as many other types) to share with the world.


Bringing them out, expressing them in their best version is the real challenge. 


#3 build a loyal fanbase... and earn money

How awesome is it, when people you like come to your concerts, share your music on social and buy your merch?


When they love hearing you've got a new release coming?


We release our music for it to be heard. And we want to build a community around this music. 


As fans, we also belong to certain communities. The artists who manage to build these, also earn money and have turned their music into a career.

#4 Get respect from great musicians

Don't you also love these videos?


The famous breakthrough artist-of-the-year is standing next to an established legend and the newcomer is beaming, with this "I-can't-believe-I'm-hanging-out-with-Pharrell" look on their face.


On some level, we all want to know we are respected and accepted by our peers... and maybe even our "musical ancestors". After all, this is our lineage. This is where we belong.


#5 collaborate with masters

Sometimes all we need to get inspired seems totally random:

 

The rhythm of a beat-up car chugging by triggers a groove-idea. An unwashed, drunk slob at the supermarket checkout yells an outrageous(ly funny) phrase and a lyrical idea is born.


But surrounded by master musicians in a studio or jam session takes inspired moments - and the commitment to follow-through - to completely new heights.


#6 be heard, get on playlists & radio

We don't release music for it to be ignored.


Nothing is as rewarding as knowing some people actually listen and love your music.


As most people listen to music on the radio and Spotify and co, that's where we want to reach them.


We want to land on the playlists and get our music, into which we poured our entire selves, to as many listeners as possible.

the reality is different though

Eventhough none of these are crazy out-of-this-world goals and ambitions, the reality for most musicians I know looks very different.


Many of them struggle.


And the reasons for their struggle are always the same:

NO TIME

Life tends to get in the way of our plans. Right now, things are busy, sure. But, aren't they always?


And aren't times busy for the people who manage to balance work, life and creative pursuits? 


This is a bleak outlook, because we don't think we'll ever find the time. Or we keep up the wishful thinking that in some vague future we'll suddenly have all the time in the world. Neither is helpful. Neither is really true, right? But why then does it feel true to us?

NO TIME 


Life tends to get in the way of our plans. 


Right now, things are busy, sure. But, isn't it always busy?


And aren't times busy for the people who manage to balance work, life and creative pursuits? 


This is a bleak outlook, because we doubt we'll ever find the time. Or we keep up the wishful thinking that in some vague future we'll suddenly have all the time in the world. 


Neither is helpful. Neither is really true, right? 


But why then does it feel true to us?

NO MONEY

NO MONEY

Even if we make music simply because we love it and it's our calling, let's face it:


Making music costs money. The equipment doesn't fall in our laps for free. Producers and engineers want - and need - to be paid for their service. 


And the better we become, the harder it is to find instructors that benefit us. The best piano teacher in out town won't teach us how to write, produce and perform a radio-ready song. 


Suddenly, we're faced with considering going to Berklee or similar colleges where the cost of attendance is in the $60.000-$75.000 range

Learning to make great music from experts can be very expensive - This is Berklee's cost of attendance

CONFUSION, OVERWHELM &
UNFINISHED PROJECTS

CONFUSION & OVERWHELM &
UNFINISHED PROJECTS

I'm sorry to break it to you, but a patchwork of YouTube playlists isn't exactly the way to gain clarity, if you're serious about bringing your best music into the world.


It's like your collection of ideas that you can't bring together. And I'm not blaming you, because it is super tricky to figure out. Why follow one approach and not another?


Because we can't answer that question we dabble here, try out this and get nowhere. We start projects, but don't finish them.


This is incredibly frustrating, saps all of our energy and leads to the next harsh reality I see musicians fall into.

DOUBT

DOUBT

It's hard to keep at it, when you've spent many years pursuing a heartfelt, dearly protected dream and get nowhere.


Your friends and family don't get it why you don't just "face reality". At times you don't get it.


Heck, I know musicians who have totally lost their joy for music. This is heart-breaking.


And I totally know the feeling.


When you can't get yourself to give it another go. When you simply can't muster the energy to have hope for your music to go anywhere. When it becomes too painful.


Let me be upfront with you: Some issues can't be solved by music. Some issues go even deeper than that (which, to me, is about as deep as it can get). 


But a huge amount of despair or simple lack of motivation has to do with confusion & overwhelm. 


You see, we feel joy, when we make progress towards our goals.

The doubt doesn't weigh so heavy anymore.


We come alive when we grow. But if we lack clarity on our goals or how to get there, that's when progress is stalled. Luckily, this is a problem we can easily solve...

SO MUCH HYPE

TOO MUCH HYPE

We listen to the charts and scratch our heads. Sure, they all - technically - sound good. But... really? Is this the best music out there?


Or is something else being rewarded?


Does the music itself still actually matter? Or is it just about eyeballs, twerking, internet-beef and gossip?


Why does it seem that those get all the rewards, while great songs get unproportionally fewer clicks?


Is music still relevant? Our personal feelings aside, is music even essential in... the music industry?

yes, your music is essential... but...

Let's get the elephant out of the room right now.


Yes, making great music is essential


All of our favorite artists and biggest stars tick that box:


They all have evergreen, immortal songs. Songs so good, we can't ignore them.


Sure, other people land in the charts with songs we all have completely forgotten a minute later. 


But that only goes to show how important it is to have great music. "Only" good music, we nearly instantly forget.


And as a fan of music, you know the value of music:

Music has been with you through some of your toughest times in your life. And also been there for you, during your highest highs.


Your favorite songs will live in your heart forever.


As a songwriter-producer, you also have those kind of songs in you which you can offer the world.


But not if no one ever discovers it. Not, if no one ever listens. 

However...

your music isn't everything

(if you want people to actually listen to it)

Good music is essential. But the fact remains: Good music is actually just the minimum requirement.


A hard-drive full of masterpieces isn't going to do much by itself. And even if you complete your songs, master and release them - which is already a real achievement - it's still not enough. 


Not for you, nor your potential fans. Not, if you want your music to be heard.


For your music to be heard, appreciated and loved, we need to do more:


We need to communicate what we have created and produced - our product, so to speak - to the world... In a way the world wants to listen.


In order to do that, this is what they say:

If you want your music to be heard, you need to do marketing.

They tell you you have to "market" your music

Imagine you've completed a project. The song is ready to be released. 


What does everybody tell you? 


"You NEED to post on social!"

"You HAVE to contact blogs!"

"You MUST to get on playlists!"


In other words: After the process of creating music you love, now the marketing takes over.


Problem is, most musicians I know just straight out hate marketing. 


And that's totally understandable. For many reasons:

(Just a few) Reasons why we hate marketing

#1 Marketing feels fake and gross

Our music, on the other hand, comes straight from the heart. It means the world to us.

We pour ourselves and everything we have into our songs...


And then we are supposed to just hand them over to a bean-counting, sleezy used-car salesman to exploit our work of art?

No way, José.


#2 Marketing ruins great art(ists)

Who hasn't seen this? An artist drops a genre-defining debut, but the follow-up sucks.


The artist lost what made them unique.


And as fans, we can literally smell the influence of the record label and marketing department.  


And, to be frank, we hate that stench!


#3 Marketing distracts us

You make music, because it's meaningful to you.


But no one can know about your release, if you don't tell them. So you get on social and promote yourelf and your music to get gigs and get streams.


Suddenly, you find that you're spending more time on social than actually making music.

#4 Marketing is Basically Lying

We've all bought stuff we were hyped about.


But nearly always there is a gap between what we hoped for vs what really happened after our purchase.


But we want to be real with our audience, not lie to them. Is there a way to successfully market our music honestly?


#5 Marketing feels vain & egotistical

Many artists love the idea of the music speaking for itself. Countless musicians are sensitive and shy.


But, suddenly, when it comes to marketing it, the spotlight is shining brightly on you.


Is there a way to promote your music without becoming a self-obsessed egomaniac? 


#6 Marketing isn't creative

Marketers follow the dollars. Marketers follow the numbers.


How many clicks? How many likes? How many conversions?


But we are creatives, not numbers-driven people. And we all know the numbers will interfere with our creativity.

"

fbt

"I found myself in the studio with a famous techno/house producer, who put on a beat and asked me to write lyrics, right there, on the spot.

I was only used to writing lyrics in private. I felt totally put on the spot.


Thank God I'd gone through Friedemann's material on Lyric writing just before!


After overcoming my inital panic-attack, I remembered the techniques I'd learnt from Friedemann. That gave me the confidence to hammer out multiple versions. 


In the end, my lyrics made it on the track and the song was now licensed for GTA!"


chris lautemann songwriter-producer (and - full transparency - Holistic Songwriting team member)

psst...

Let me tell you a secret:

There's

a better way 

to get

your music

heard 


psst...

Let me tell you a secret:

Popcorn?

There's

a better way

to get

your music

heard 


good news: 

I'm not here to convince you to become great at marketing. Not even close.


You are a musician, you're a songwriter-producer, not a money-hungry business shark.


You have something special to share with the world.


Please, please, please: Stay that way! Don't let anyone talk you into "being more mainstream" or any crap like that, if your heart isn't in it.


Be the best artist only you can be.


But to make that happen, we need to think some things through.


the difference between
"just a musician" VS "a real artist"

I've worked with all types of musicians:


As a songwriting consultant, I work with Germany's biggest and most successful #1 Hit Songwriters. The types that write chart-topping songs regularly. 


As a professor at ArtEZ (Europe's most renowned Music University), I directly teach and educate the next generation:
This is Europe's elite. They blow me away every week with their skills and abilities.


As a coach, I work with songwriter and producers who work for Disney+, who write West-End & Broadway musicals and artists who have crushed millions of streams on Spotify... but I also work with complete beginners.


I've seen up close which musicians "make it"... and what they do differently.


Anyway, a few years back, a student asked me question that got me to think.


She asked:


"Friedemann, what exactly is the difference between someone who is just a musician versus a real artist?"


After intense thought and checking my theory in the real world, I now know the answer.


Can you spot the difference?


And can you imagine how this difference frees you of having to "market" yourself and your music?


before i tell you the difference, let me be very clear here

What I am saying here is not condescending. 


My life is full of musicians I love, appreciate and who live good lives. 


However, there is a clear difference between a musician and an artist.


All artists are also musicians.

But not all musicians are artists, far from it.


This is also independent of genius or creativity: I know totally boring artists and wildly creative musicians. 


This is why this distinction is just stating a fact and not a judgement.


The difference between musicians and artists is simple:

All (musical) Artists are musicians...
But not all musicians are artists

What I am saying here is not condescending. 


My life is full of musicians I love, appreciate and who live good lives. 


However, there is a clear difference between a musician and an artist.


All artists are also musicians.

But not all musicians are artists, far from it.


This is also independent of genius or creativity: I know totally boring artists and wildly creative musicians. 


This is why this distinction is just stating a fact and not a judgement.


The difference between musicians and artists is simple:

Artists are musicians with an image... 

and great Artists build worlds

Artists are musicians

with an image

 

and great Artists

build worlds

Here is the formula:


Musician + Image = Artist


But what exactly is your Image? Your Image is just your outward identity as an artist. 


And, here is the kicker:


Your identitiy is shaped by your story within your world.


So if you nail your image, you're well on your way to creating your own world.


Huh, wait. What?


Let me explain:

I'm talking about coherence and consistency.


Think about it:

  • If Harry Styles were to launch an alcoholic beverage, which would it be? An fashionable, chique champagne - or a sixpack of canned beer?
  • If Ariana Grande were to create her own clothes line, would it consist of baggy hoodies and jeans? Obviously not.

How come we immediately know the answer?


For all we know, Ariana might be a total slob at home and Harry Styles hates champagne. But that doesn't matter, because the human behind the artist is not identical to the artist persona.


And it's the persona that we get to access.


It's simple: These great artists have their image, their identity clear


In other words: They have created a specific world that is unique to them.


And as fans, we are invited to enter their world. 


And there are many ways how artists build and reveal their world:

Here is the formula:


Musician + Image = Artist


But what exactly is your Image? Your Image is just your outward identity as an artist. 


And, here is the kicker:


Your identitiy is shaped by your story within your world.


So if you nail your image, you're well on your way to creating your own world.


Huh, wait. What?


Let me explain:

I'm talking about coherence and consistency.


Think about it:

  • If Harry Styles were to launch an alcoholic beverage, which would it be? An fashionable, chique champagne - or a sixpack of canned beer?
  • If Ariana Grande were to create her own clothes line, would it consist of baggy hoodies and jeans? Obviously not.

How come we immediately know the answer?


For all we know, Ariana might be a total slob at home and Harry Styles hates champagne. But that doesn't matter, because the human behind the artist is not identical to the artist persona.


And it's the persona that we get to access.


It's simple: These great artists have their image, their identity clear. 


In other words: They have created a specific world that is unique to them.


And as fans, we are invited to enter their world. 


And there are many ways how artists build and reveal their world:

(Just A few ways) how artists reveal their world... and make it real

#1 Your music reveals your world

 I need to hammer this home: Your music is the backbone. The best image in the world won't save crap, boring and uninspired music.


With that out of the way:  

Your music is specific. You have your go to instruments. The type of chords you prefer. Your sound design. Your style of melodies.


Your music reveals a part of your world.


#2 your lyrics reveal your world

What do you sing or rap about?

Clubs and lamborghinis? Love? (Happy or sad love?) Depression? Spirituality? Politics? Friendship? 


In which style do you write those lyrics?

Direct? Flowery? In similies? In story form? Do you describe actions or speak abstractly?


Your lyrics reveal a part of your world.


#3 your Artwork reveals your world

Think of the covers of Adele's albums.


They reveal a part of her world (and if you look at them all, they reveal her story as well).


Anyone looking at those covers knows roughly what to expect - and what not to expect. 


Your artwork reveals a part of your world.

#4 Your photos reveal your world

You'll have to look long and hard to find pictures of Beyoncé looking up at you.

You will find those of Ed Sheeran nearly immediately.


Do you meet your fans on eye-level? If you don't, that's fine. But what fits your image and story?


What colors? What lighting? Alone or surrounded by people? Friends or strangers? 


Your pics reveal a part of your world.


#5 your interviews reveal your world

What do you talk about aside of your music?

 

Do you share your political opinions? Do you talk about sports? Do you reveal private details and show more of the person behind the image (that's also part of your image)?


How do you talk about your topics? Are you clear and blunt or vague and leave a lot of room for interpretation?

Are you shy in interviews or aggressive?


Your interviews reveal a part of your world.


#6 Your live show reveals your world

Imagine Rammstein going on stage with just a candle and wearing jeans and hoodies.


Imagine Celine Dion singing in your local bar, twerking on the counter in a bikini.


None of this fits, because their images are clear. 


I know: Your live-budget is less than Rammsteins' pyro-expenses. Still, put some thought into it, because: 

Your liveshow reveals a part of your world.

And, yes: There are many more ways to reveal parts of your world:

  • Your social media (Which do you choose? How do you use it?)

  • Your music videos (Realistic or surreal? Which colors? Do you perform in it or have actors play out a story?)

  • Your props (Parrot on your shoulder? Bling-bling chains and grillz? Sunglasses and dyed hair? Prayer-beads?)

  • Your clothes (Casual? Artsy? Elegant? Trashy?)

  • Your products (If you sing about Dragonball Z, why not release your own animé comic and figurines?)

  • Your collaborations and beefs: Whose world does your world touch? Think of Marvel and DC. Think of East-Coast vs West-Coast.


and many more, depending on your Artist Identity and Image.


See how World building is so much more
fun and creative than "marketing"?

Do you see the difference?


Do you see how building your world is a creative extension of your music - and not a limitation and a time-sucking hassle?


You're creative - so have fun and play to your strengths!


Sure, some people could consider a photo-shoot a necessity for marketing your record. But isn't it way more exciting, if it becomes a further part, a further gateway into your artist personas world?


Suddenly, you're not just thinking in separate categories: It plays hand in hand.


And think about your favorite artists: 

Don't they manage to do just the same for you? Don't they invite you into their world and you make you feel understood? 


Now you know why: It's not because they are great at marketing - it is that they have a clear image of the world they are building. 

who should become an artist - and who shouldn't

So the question might arise:


Should every musician strive to be an artist?


In my opinion, it's not actually as clear cut as it often appears.


I'll give you an example: Is SIA a musician or an artist?


Well, according to our formula (musician + image = artist, you remember, right?) she obviously is an artist.


And that's 100% true.



Sia Kate Isobelle Furler + Image = SIA

But SIA also writes for many other artists.


In that role as a ghostwriter, she acts more like a musician, than an artist. Same goes for producers like Pharrell or Timbaland, when they work on other artists' projects.


However, what these producers and songwriters also bring to the table besides their musical ability, is their deep understanding of image, artist identity and how it connects to the music.


And so my best attempt to answer the question goes something like this:

Not every musician has to become an artist. If they don't want to build an outward image to the world, that's totally fine.


But I still encourage every musician to deeply understand what makes an artist. How identity is formed. For a few reasons:

Why every musician & songwriter-producer
should be able to think like an artist
(Even if you hate the spotlight)

What if you're not interested in the spotlight? What if you prefer working in the studio and have zero desire to give interviews and become known? 


Why should you bother thinking about image and artist identity and all that "extra-musical stuff"?


First off: You don't have to. Of course not. If you're not even slightly curious about world-building, then maybe your time is best invested in quadrupling down on a highly specific skill.


But if you are interested to ghostwrite, produce or collaborate on artists' projects, understanding how the music and identity connect will exponentially increase your value to the music industry.


If you get the artist's world even better than they do, they'll want to work with you again.


And, funnily enough, you'll start earning a reputation within the music industry.

Equipped with the right tools, you can use and consciously shape this reputation and develop your image within the industry.

And don't forget artists like Burial or Daft Punk. They more-or-less gave zero interviews and didn't go to any red carpets.


You don't need to like the limelight to use image for your music

For all we know they might have never even played their live-shows themselves and were happily drinking a cup of tea in their garden and some other guy put on a helmet and did their work for them.

Daft Punk used their image as a shield: Their public persona made it unnecessary for them to be in the limelight.

You don't need to like the limelight to use image for your music

And, funnily enough, you'll start earning a reputation within the music industry.

Equipped with the right tools, you can use and consciously shape this reputation and develop your image within the industry.

And don't forget artists like Burial or Daft Punk. They more-or-less gave zero interviews and didn't go to any red carpets.

For all we know they might have never even played their live-shows themselves and were happily drinking a cup of tea in their garden and some other guy put on a helmet and did their work for them.

Daft Punk used their image as a shield: Their public persona made it unnecessary for them to be in the limelight.

would you rather be an artist or "just" a musician?

#1 artists stand out

Who do you think has more opportunities and more creative freedom?


Some singer or The Weekend?


The singer has no image. The Weekend has a story that pulls us in. 


A regular singer can touch us, definitely. But The Weekend captivates his fans' minds long after the song has stopped.


To his die-hard fans, he occupies a category of one. He is unmistakable, unique and irreplaceable. 


#2 artists have more control

Talking about artists: Who do you think has more control over their work?


Some rapper or Kendrick Lamar?


Kendrick has leverage. He can work in the studio he pleases. He can collaborate with the world's best producers and musicians.


Through creating a one-of-a-kind image (in harmony with his music), Kendrick has created a situation where no-one dictates his next creative decisions.


He's in control.


#3 artists get more recognition

But not just the artist gets more recognition.


Also the art that is produced. Think about it:


Which songs do people rave about, listen to on repeat and play at their weddings or loved ones' funerals?


Those are songs that move us deeply. Part of that is capturing the minds of our listeners. In other words: 


These special songs are (nearly always) reserved exclusively for artists we connect with, not some random musician.


and the most important reason:
Your artist identity
frees you up musically and lyrically

All of these extra-musical parts of your world are great... but at the end of the day I'm first-and-foremost a songwriting coach. 


I want to support you to write a lifetime's worth of world-class level songs, consistently.


Of course you want to get your songs heard.


But even more important - to me - is that you write songs that make you proud.


And this is what gets me excited:


Your Artist Identity and World will hyper-charge your songwriting-process, helping you make the right musical and lyrical choices, so that you make more and better songs.

All of this is great... but at the end of the day I'm a songwriting coach. 


I want to support you to write a lifetime's worth of world-class level songs, consistently.


Of course you want to get your songs heard.


But even more important - to me - is that you write songs that make you proud.


And this is what gets me excited:


Your Artist Identity and World will hyper-charge your songwriting-process, helping you make the right musical and lyrical choices, so that you make more and better songs.

But how do i make it all fit?

this all sounds awesome... and overwhelming

In songwriting itself, no instrument exists in isolation. Everything is connected in a complex web of rhythm, pitch and meaning. 


And teaching someone how to navigate a web is hard. Very hard.


For example:

I can’t tell you to put the kick on the downbeat every time because what if there’s a snare there? What if you’re in a pre-chorus and you want to build tension? What if you’re in bar 2 of a 4 bar phrase?


Now imagine that not just regarding your music, but world building.


Everything is connected and interacts.


I can’t JUST teach you how to write for, say, a chord progression that fits to your identity, but neglect the instrumentation or the lyrics.

 

This was my biggest struggle as a teacher. For years, I searched and searched for a solution. I desparately wanted to find one. 


But there wasn't one "out there". Which is why I forced myself to come up with a solution myself.  


After about 5 years of refining, experimenting and testing countless approaches, I had a moment where suddenly everything changed. I had found a solution for my problem:


Instead of just teaching each subject in isolation, I realized I should talk about the connections BETWEEN subjects.


That's when I came up with the Holistic Songwriting Circle:

how the songwriting cirlce destroys overwhelm

The Songwriting Circle shows you the main connectors between the different parts of your song.


See what it says on the left? "Singer", meaning you, the artist. That's what we've been talking about all the time here.


You're starting to get a sense of how we can go into great detail building that unshakable foundation and unique image, right?


Once that is built, we can zoom out and look up to the next point in the Songwriting Circle: "Lyrics".


You can see your Attitude acts as a connector between Lyrics and Singer.


Through building your Artist Identity, your Attitude becomes clear. So already tons of questions regarding your lyrics are automatically answered, freeing up creative energy and giving you clarity and focus. 


Then comes the next point: Melody.


Your lyrics connect to your melodies through phrases, which becomes clear when we've dived deep into your lyrics. 


Going back to "Singer", do you see how, in the other direction, through your development, a story arc emerges? 


The Songwriting Circle offers us both:

  • Focus, so we can work on the 9 elements of Songwriting in isolation AND 
  • Orientation, so we can make our new-won skills connect in the 9 ways they overlap.


That was a personal breakthrough for me, because all of a sudden, I had a concrete plan, a step-by-step approach I can actually teach you. 


This allows me to go deep into the topics individually, without getting lost in the weeds or overlooking how they connect. 


With this foundation, I was able to develop the what I'd always wanted to see in the world, but couldn't find anywhere.


A one-stop solution for everything a serious songwriter-producer and artist needs to build a lifetime's work of world-level songs that are unique to you. 

Songs that engage the whole humen: mind, body and soul.


I call it „Holistic Songwriting Academy“.


This is the ultimate, university-level and results-oriented Songwriting Program that will have you writing musical, commercial songs, while building your artist identity and world within a year. 


HSA offers the biggest collection of practical techniques that make songs addictive - and how to make them unique to you.

HOLISTIC SONGWRITING ACADEMY

HOLISTIC SONG-WRITING ACADEMY

Trimester 3: STORY

Trimester 3: STORY

Go from „good“ to „great“ by developing the skills of the world’s top Artists & songwriters -
and gain an instant edge in the music industry.

GROOVE

Move the body 

12 masterclasses in how to write a rhythm section (yep, that’s not just the drums!) that makes individuals and crowds want to move (more here).

PITCH

Touch the heart

How to write fresh, catchy melodies over lush chord progressions, hard-hitting riffs and funky bass lines.

In other words: Master expressing emotions musically (more here).

STORY

Captivate the mind

Create your authentic Artist Identity & World in IMAGE, hypercharge your lyrical content & style in LYRICS and become a master Musical Storyteller in ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0.
All included in STORY. 

Here's what you'll learn this trimester...

story

Unlike our other Trimesters, STORY isn't divided into modules, but into three distinct parts: 
IMAGE, LYRICS and ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0. 


Every part consists of videos and exercises that guide you through the process.
Easy to follow, incredibly powerful and also a lot of fun.


But be warned: This is a roller-coaster ride. 
You will be challenged and experience some resistance - and grow.


However, you will stick with it and you will come out rewarded and victorious! 

1

IMAGE: build your
Artist identity & World

IMAGE: build your
Artist identity & World

Create your world & artist persona /
Build your idea machine & overcome dependence on inspiration / 
Clearly communicate your uniqueness /

Make people care and become loyal fans

Create your world & artist persona /
Build your idea machine & overcome dependence on inspiration / 
Clearly communicate your uniqueness /

Make people care and become loyal fans

IMAGE is a university level, one-of-a-kind workshop, an interactive process. Whether you're just starting out or already have hundreds of thousands of followers and a distinct style: 


Going through IMAGE will help you clearly communicate what makes you one-of-a-kind.


This clarity feeds your idea-generating machine (we also build within the IMAGE process), helping you overcome dependency on inspiration to be creative. 


IMAGE will give you orientation. It will help you focus your energy and break through mental blocks, lack of motivation and aimless meandering.


Becoming clear on your artist persona will give you and your more music a clear identity that your listeners recognize. Once they recognize your style, you will get the recognition your music deserves.

2

Lyrics: content, style, melody

Lyrics: content, style, melody

Write great lyrics that are authentic to you /
Overcome writer's block & have fun hammering out killer lines / 
Captivate and deeply engage your listeners' minds /
Make your lyrics stick 

Write great lyrics that are authentic to you /
Overcome writer's block & have fun hammering out killer lines / 
Captivate and deeply engage your listeners' minds /
Make your lyrics stick 

Once you've gone through IMAGE, you know your world and identity, so churning out great lyrics become much clearer and easier.


Still, many new questions arise: How do you make lyrics stick? How could you go about talking about common topics such as love in a new and unique way? How do you paint vivid pictures in your listeners inner eye?

 

Also, how do you fit a melody to your lyrics? Or your lyrics to your melody?


No matter if you're a seasoned lyrical veteran or feel completely overwhelmed putting into words what you feel inside - LYRICS will get you expressing yourself with impact and leveling up again and again.

IMPORTANT: LYRICS is still in production and won't be available until February 2023 (but that's good news for you! More on the steep discount you get for joining now, below).

IMPORTANT: LYRICS is still in production and won't be available until February 2023 (but that's good news for you... more on that further below).

3

addiction formuala 2.0

addiction formuala 2.0

Level up your musical storytelling skillset / 
Gain, keep and reward your listeners' attention /

Turn a basic song-idea into a captivating, beautiful ride /

Hook your listeners to keep them coming back for more

Level up your musical storytelling skillset / 
Gain, keep and reward your listeners' attention /

Turn a basic song-idea into a captivating, beautiful ride /

Hook your listeners to keep them coming back for more

As songwriters, you are telling stories non-stop. It's your job to make them worth listening to. Part of that is the development throughout your song.


Musical Storytelling is the ability to tell a story in such a way that the listener keeps their attention on the piece of music. If you've read my Amazon Bestseller with the same title, then you've got a good idea already (eventhough I promise you countless more insights).


But how do we gain, keep and reward the attention musically? Through mastering Energy Curves of a song with the tools of Implied Tension, Harmony, Rhythm, Instruments and Production.

IMPORTANT: ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0 is still in development and won't be available until later in 2023 (again, that's good news for you, as you'll soon see...).

IMPORTANT: ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0 is still in development and won't be available until later in 2023 (again, that's good news for you, as you'll now receive a steep discount for joining).

GROOVE: Topics Covered List

  • The 7 guiding rules I set myself that instantly transformed me into a better songwriter
  • Make any section feel timeless
  • Program realistic drum grooves within seconds
  • How to use the way live drummers play to your advantage
  • Find out why and how groove moves us and how to control this movement with laser precision.
  • How to write a song that perfectly flows from one section to the next.
  • Find the perfect tempo for your groove and add that magic „bounce“ to your songs
  • Microrhythm - does it even matter?
  • The magic of subdivisions, and how to do more with less
  • The Subdivision Gap: Avoid this mistake when writing your rhythm section
  • How „Redundant Rhythms“ are KILLING your grooves
  • How to make anything groove using Groove Weight
  • Do Shuffle & Swing make a difference?
  • Have a groove? Here’s how to write another part to it
  • How and why to write realistic ghost notes 
  • Tricks for building a section’s energy level
  • Different patterns for the kick, snare and hihat
  • How to let a loop tell a dynamic story
  • How to syncopate like a pro
  • Working with Melodic Kicks, Hihats and Toms
  • Writing Robotic Hihats for EDM. Making it groove when you only have one velocity level available
  • Create momentum using the Hanging Hihat
  • How to fluently switch to double or half time naturally without throwing people off
  • Programming drums so realistic even drummers won’t be able to tell the difference
  • Hits: The most exciting thing you can do for your songs
  • Underlining and picking up rhythmic ideas for maximum vocal impact
  • How to make something complex without overwhelming your listener
  • How to write a groove if the music has a lot of space
  • Writing kick-ass fills that transition you anywhere you want
  • Crank up the complexity using odd time signatures, Polyrhythms, polymeters and drunk playing.
  • How to write an entire rhythm section that moves as one
  • Understanding the functions of arrangement: plucks, pads, accents and motor
  • Writing vocals that stand out using Melodic Weight & Contrast
  • Switching Melodic Weight like a pro using the Light & Heavy Switch

PITCH: Topics Covered List

We will cover the following topics and answer these questions:


The Fundamentals:

  • What are the 3 Dimensions of Sound?
  • Recording & Mixing Spaces: How do you make the most of them? The No-Gos and the Musts covered for the exact sound you want.
  • What types of sound are there? Which sounds to combine and how to combine them...
  • What is the purpose of Music Production?


The Nuts & Bolts of Music Production:

  • Arrangement: How to arrange your song, so it mixes well
  • Recording: Should you use effects while recording? How do record (and edit) the perfect take? 
  • Mixing: How do you place your takes in the mix? 
  • Vocal Chains: The most important vocal chains for songwriting
  • Picking Sounds: How do you know whether a sound is good?
  • How to make your own Sounds
  • Performance: How to get the most out of your (or your artist's) performance?
  • Editing: How to save time and have an optimal workflow.


The science of Emotions:

  • What purpose do emotions serve? 
  • How to control emotions?
  • How do emotions and the Harmony Triangle relate?
  • What do intervals, lawnmowers and emotions share?


Tension/Resolution:

  • How do tense notes resolve? Why? 
  • How can you imply chords with melody alone?


Harmonies, Chords and Scales:

  • Avoid Notes: Are there wrong notes (knowing the avoid notes will save you tons of headaches)
  • How do you write a chord progression so it sounds good?
  • How do you connect two chords logically? How exactly do you write a chord progression?
  • How can you make your chord progressions sound less plain and cliché?
  • How can you add more chords to a chord progression?
  • What does the bass do during all of this?
  • What about non-tertiary chords?
  • In which order do you arrange the notes in your chords?
  • What are some easy tricks to make a chord progression more recognizable?
  • Voice leading: How to use it and what to be wary of.
  • How can I simplify a part?
  • How can I make a part stand out more?
  • What different types of harmonic rhythms are there? How do I use them?
  • How do I turn an idea into a full arrangement? 
  • What does a chord feel like?
  • How does the key influence the emotional perception of a chord?
  • What non-diatonic chords are there? What to use them for?
  • How to incorporate non-diatonic chords without making your music weird (or jazzy)
  • How to write a melody over non-diatonic chords (including a technique Billie Eilish uses)?
  • How to use suspended, diminished, augmented and minmaj7 chords?
  • How can you add more notes to a chord?
  • How can you do this in a way that sounds simple and is easy for you to play?
  • How can you do it with only triads?
  • How do you write for power chords?
  • How do you write the most magical chord progressions in music?


Melodies:

  • How to set yourself up for success when writing a melody?
  • What is a Hook and how do you write one?
  • How can you make your melodies more memorable and singable?
  • What kinds of melodic approaches are there?
  • How do you write a satisfying melody?
  • How can you add intensity to your melodies?
  • How to avoid notes work when writing a melody?
  • What types of melodic approaches are there?
  • How do you spin a melody into any emotional direction?
  • Can you use melody to justify non-diatonic material?
  • How do you arrange a melody for maximum impact?
  • The technique I use to test whether a part really sounds good - or if I’ve just heard it too often


Backing Vocals:

  • How do you create and write backing vocals?
  • How can you use backings to spin a melody in a new emotional direction?
  • How do you write backing choirs and what are they used for?
  • What approaches for backings are there and how do we use them?

STORY: Topics Covered List

During our process together of creating your Artist Identity, we will cover the following topics:


Part 1: IMAGE

  • The Mystery List
  • Finding traits
  • Finding the flaw
  • Your shard of glass
  • Revealing character
  • Challenging the medium
  • Warhol's questions
  • S is for Social
  • A is for Appearance
  • Positions that fit your character
  • Camera placements that work with your character
  • Lenses that help tell your story
  • Lighting that brings out your character
  • Colors that help express your world
  • Products that fit
  • L is for Live
  • E is for Electronics

Part 2: LYRICS (COMING FEB 2023)

We will be covering all the ground to get you clear on

  • your lyrical content
  • your lyrical style
  • how to fit lyrics to melody
  • how to fit melody to lyrics

For that to work we will cover a ton of useful exercises, principles and frameworks you can use to hammer out brillant and unique lyrics that only you could have penned. The final list will be revealed in February, when LYRICS is accessible and complete.


Part 3: ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0 (COMING autumn 2023)

You will learn the storytelling techniques that Hollywood uses to get and keep our attention - and how to apply these to your music.

Musical storytelling is all about getting, keeping and rewarding your listeners' attention. I wrote my bestseller book on the topic. 

Now, finally, I get to release the version I dreamed of making back in 2014/2015 when I wrote it.  


We will go deep into

  • energy curves
  • creating hype
  • implied tension
  • instrumentation
  • arrangement

Again, the final list of exercises will be revealed, when ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0 is accessible and complete.

Holistic Songwriting Academy is for you if...

Is HSA for you? Check the following list:

Pros

  • You’re sick of blindly fiddling around with your songs in the hopes of striking gold
  • You recognize that the way you've written songs in the past may need to change if you want to write better songs
  • You’ve gotten as far as you can on your own, but you know „what got you here won’t get you there“ - and you’re open to getting an extra push across the bridge of becoming a professional songwriter
  • You’re focused on the long term - you understand that it takes a while to learn a skill as complex as songwriting, and you understand there will always be ups and downs, but that you can make HUGE gains by acting smarter
  • You’ve tried music theory and other songwriting classes and none of it worked
  • You’ve been writing for years but now you’ve hit a plateau and would like to get to the next level

Holistic Songwriting Academy is NOT for you if...

Please make sure none of these apply before enrolling in the course:

Cons

  • You’re only in it for the information, and you’re not willing to do the exercises. Doing your exercises is NOT optional. This is a holistic experience that requires you to get your hands dirty, the whole Academy is built around it
  • You’re not motivated to learn something new or to sit down once a week to watch the new module and do your assignments
  • You’re not willing to take a deep dive into songwriting science. If you’re writing music ONLY for therapeutic or artistic purposes, I wish you well, but this course is targeted specifically at writers who want to bring their music to a larger audience
  • You have a favorite genre and all other genres suck. We will look at a wide range of genres in this course, and we will learn from all of them. Our assumption will be: As long as it has found an enthusiastic audience, it’s good enough for us to study
  • You’re going into the experience knowing you’ll get a refund. That’s usually not a problem for me, but only a very small number of students gets to enroll each year, and it wouldn’t be fair to the other applicants. Obviously, if it turns out the course isn’t for you, I’ll happily give you a refund.

behind-the-scenes & some learnings

Breakthrough concepts, insights and principles by themselves don't do much.


Even when well articulated, salespeople all know just hearing something is not enough: Show, don't tell.


As a teacher, it is my responsibility to convey my information to you in a way that sticks - in a way you get it.


That's why for this Trimester, we leveled up the production quality 10x.

This isn't because I like pretty videos (even though I do, I mean, who doesn't, right?)


I leveled up the production quality, because I want to fully engage your mind, while I am teaching you to do the same for your audience.


Here's a little behind-the-scenes look of the different locations we shot STORY at.

an honest conversation about "image"
(pt. 1 of story)

Who will get the most out of HSA?

  • Songwriters

  • Producers

  • Artists & Bands

  • Musicians

You selected...

Songwriter

Songwriting has changed big time. It's no longer enough to write a bunch of chords, lyrics and a melody. That was the 60s.
This is now: More than one million songs are released every year! That's not counting those "THIKK BEATZ" your brother-in-law uploads to Soundcloud every week. 


The competition is HUGE and everyone and their neighbor wants to quit their job to go on tour with their band. 
If you want to be taken seriously as a songwriter today, you can't just write a lead sheet - you need to be able to arrange and produce demos. And in this sentence, "demo" means "99% finished product". 


As a songwriter, you're in charge of making sure that your song sounds great in its entirety. That means you need to understand what each band member is doing and how it contributes to the whole. 


You're person with the vision! You're the one who makes sure each band member gets to shine in their own way.


But you're also the only one who knows what's in your head. And so if you instruct your drummer to play a fat beat over a guitar part, there is a slim chance he'll do exactly what you had in mind. In most cases, he'll play something completely different. 


It's your musicians' job to sound great. It's your job to make sure they sound good together and that they actually have something meaningful to say.


Can I ask you a question that might hurt a little bit?


When you listen to a song, how much of the emotional experience is because of the words, the chords or the melody...


...and how much is because of the way the band grooves together, because of the way those chords morph with the bass in the most satisfying way, because of the way the vocals break at just the right moment?


Too many great songs have been ruined by shitty performances, arrangements and productions. Let me make sure that doesn't happen to your songs.


I will give you access to ALL the buttons and levers in your songwriting cockpit, not just to chords, melody and lyrics but to groove, part-writing, arrangement, performance, production and many more.


Take full control of your songs and write the music you've always wanted to write that sounds exactly like you've always wanted it to sound.

actually write songs instead of just daydreaming of it

beret roots -

Writer

Friedemann Findeisens Holistic Songwriting has given me the courage to actually write songs instead of just daydreaming of it. He makes songwriting easy and accessible. Especially his advice, that you can even write good songs on crappy instruments, was very helpful. He has also shown me that you don't have to become a professional musician in order to write songs. He has a great ear for giving feedback on song submissions.

a deep analytical thinker

sam strohbehn - 

Writer

Friedemann is an outstanding teacher. He is a deeply analytical thinker who can break down all elements of songwriting to reveal the patterns and building blocks anyone can use to improve their music while simultaneously never losing focus on the immediacy and emotion of a song. Most importantly he is a truly generous person, with his time, his work, and his art.

my single has gained over 500K streams

eric ryan -

recording artist

Thanks to holistic songwriting, the tools I learned helped me structure & arrange all of my music including my single „Soleil“ which has gained over 500K streams/plays across all my platforms combined!!


[UPDATE: 1.7million streams in October 2022]

broke me out of the box I was in for 20 years

ehrich weiss -

writer

I'm a hobbyist songwriter and musician of over 30 years looking to improve my skills in writing lyrics, melody and rhythms for my songs. Holistic Songwriting has broken me out of the little box I had been occupying in my musical journey and given me a new direction for my ideas, and especially one I've had for almost 20 years but was going nowhere.

any time a song of mine moved someone, it's because of these insights

heitor Leal Farnese 

writer

I'm a hobbyist that aspires to earn money through music in the long run, and Friedemann is, in every sense, a great companion to have in this journey. I think any time a song of mine moved someone, I owe that to Friedemann and his insights on hype and tension. He's fun, very intelligent, friendly and has a nerd soul. This is the type of teacher that is never entirely satisfied with just showing you examples of what works and what doesn't. He goes the extra mile in order to figure out and teach you the underlying rules that allow things to work.

I can speak the language and ask better questions

keith m - 

writer

I'm a professional software engineer.  I was working on a section of software that required understanding chord progressions and the basic structure of a musical score.  After a number of searches, I came across "The Addiction Formula" and since then it has become my bible. Immediately, I integrated the sections on musical energy and tension into the software design.  Now I'm able to not only understand the concepts but I can speak the language and ask better questions.  On a personal level, I'm enjoying music more than ever since I'm able to "predict" where the score is moving and why.  Of course it helps that Mr. Findeisen is not only brilliant but a dynamic teacher.

I got offers to 5 universities

reuben andrews -

writer

Friedemann's courses have been invaluable in the evolution of my approach to music as a Musician, Songwriter, and  Producer. His methods of explaining concepts are both practical and applicable to the real world, not to mention he's genuinely engaging and is always looking to help fellow songwriters however he can. The knowledge I have gained from his content also enabled me to write songs that I used to get offers to 5 Universities to further study Music and Sound Production. Stay gefährlich!

turning pro is no longer a dream

adrian eiteneuer -

writer

Friedemann Findeisen and Holistic Songwriting did not only help me take my commercial songwriting skills to next level, but thanks to him my latest single was aired on German Radio and Germany's biggest music blog wrote about me as an artist (I am a small independent artist): "a voice you should have heard of". Because of Friedemann, quitting my dayjob and turning pro as an artist is no longer a dream, but actual reality.

This will save you two decades of hard work, trying to figure out what works and what doesn't.

Holistic Songwriting Academy is an online course that gives you the tools you need to crack the mental blocks that have been holding you back for years.


This is specific - every lesson comes with definitions, examples and exceptions. 


This is practical - if you’ve already tried the treadmill of random songwriting apps and hacks, and you want to go beyond symptoms to focus on what truly works, Holistic Songwriting Academy gives you the precise, actionable steps to not just improve, but take full control of your songwriting. 


This is a proven process - go through it and you will come out transformed.

About The Teacher,
Friedemann Findeisen

Friedemann Findeisen (*1989, BMus) is a creator, songwriting coach, university professor at ArtEZ and international public speaker.




His book "The Addiction Formula" topped multiple best-seller lists.


Today he is best known for his YouTube channel "Holistic Songwriting" and for creating Holistic Songwriting Academy, which has already helped hundreds of students.


To this point, his YouTube channel has gathered over 400.000 subscribers and a total of 15M+ views.


Holistic Songwriting is one of the biggest songwriting channels in the world.


Friedemann is also a regular consultant for #1-Hit Songwriters. As an artist he released his debut album "Subface" in 2020, which he released under his moniker "Canohead". It has been labeled the "Album of the Year" by the Nu Metal scene. 


Friedemann lives in Cologne, Germany, with his wife Joanna, their son Milo and their cat Lyric.

Meet your Teacher,

Friedemann Findeisen

Friedemann Findeisen (*1989, BMus) is a creator, songwriting coach and international public speaker.


His book "The Addiction Formula" topped multiple best-seller lists. Today he is best known for his YouTube channel "Holistic Songwriting" and for creating Holistic Songwriting Academy


Today he is best known for his YouTube channel "Holistic Songwriting" and for creating Holistic Songwriting Academy, which has already helped hundreds of students.


To this point, his YouTube channel has gathered over 400.000 subscribers and a total of 15M+ views.


Holistic Songwriting is one of the biggest songwriting channels in the world.


Friedemann is also a regular consultant for #1-Hit Songwriters. As an artist he released his debut album "Subface" in 2020, which he released under his moniker "Canohead". It has been labeled the "Album of the Year" by the Nu Metal scene. 


Friedemann lives in Cologne, Germany, with his wife Joanna, their son Milo and their cat Lyric.


1

Become a Max Martin level songwriter, producer and arranger.

Whether your idols are John Mayer, Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Corey Taylor, Beyonce, Dave Grohl, Billie Eilish, Timbaland, Taylor Swift or Ryan Tedder - I will show you how to take any song from good to great - you will HEAR and FEEL the difference - regardless of the style!

2

Write life-changing music that moves listeners to (happy) tears.

Write music that people not just WANT to listen to, write music that is downright ADDICTIVE.

3

Prep for the big leagues and write music that sells.

Great music doesn't just market itself, it attracts other creative minds. Learn what it takes to write songs that sell, and how to write for other artists and producers.

4

Turn those unfinished ideas into finished songs anywhere, anytime.

Holistic Songwriting Accademy is the ONLY course in the world that gives you easy-to-follow, step-by-step formulas to follow to take your unique idea to finished song in just a matter of hours.

Bonus

Holistic Songwriting Academy also comes with...

Bonus 1

WEEKLY LIVESTREAMS

Every week, we get together and listen to the songs you and your fellow students send in.


(If you can't make it live, you can just listen to your feedback on replay.)


You receive highly actionable, specific feedback to help you level up your songs, week after week.


Me and the HSA coaches are in your corner and have your back.


Regardless of what you're going for artistically: We want you to succeed in bringing your musical idea to life in its best form.

Bonus 2

COMMUNITY

Join our community of songwriters from all around the world.


This alone can be a game-changer.

 
Many of us are not surrounded by other serious songwriters, producers, musicians and artists.

To be frank, many non-musician people in our lives, family and friends, don't even get our relationship with music. That's fine.

In the HSA community, we get it.


A thriving, motivated surrounding can make all the difference for you and your music... And you're invited!

Bonus 3

CO-WRITING

One major benefit of being part of a community of like-minded musicians, is you get to collaborate with fascinating people you'd never have met otherwise.

Through our co-writing sessions you get to work with other musicians from virtually every continent in a safe space, enhancing your skills and being inspired.


Use these sessions to learn different approaches, how to collaborate, to focus on improving specific skills, to be inspired, connect with brillant minds and get more songs done!


Bonus 4

CHALLENGES

If you find your productivity needs a little boost, consider joining our challenges. 


Whether you need to just get back into creating, or if you need to finally complete songs, we've got the right challenge waiting for you. 


An HSA coach will keep you accountable and you'll be accompanying other HSA students, cheering each other on, while you churn out new song after new song.

Bonus 5

PERSONAL SUPPORT

What if any follow-up questions on the covered material in course arise? Do we just leave you to figure it out by yourself?


Of course not. We're here for you!


Just reach out, whether per email or in the Discord. 


Your fellow students and the HSA coaches will help you break through barriers and overcome any hurdles that life throws at you.

Bonus 6

EXERCISES

The concepts you'll learn in HSA are unique and powerful.

But as the old saying goes:


"Knowledge by itself isn't power. Applied knowledge is power."

That's why there are countless exercises waiting for you in HSA.

Each exercise is specifically designed to help you go from theory to practice and from practice to mastery.

everything is starting to make sense

kim caldas

writer

What I like the most about your approach is that it's opened for everyone, no matter the level they're in, either if they know music theory or not. After a few years of studying this, I'm finally  able to mix my animation and music and everything is starting to make sense!

Thank you for all the help!

changed my life and it's thanks to your education

asia ward -

Writer

My name is Asia Ward and I graduated last May with a degree in musical theatre, but nowadays, I produce, write, and sing songs for myself and other people. The only way that transition was possible was because of your courses. I started making music for fun after musical theatre didn't work out, but had no direction on where to start. With your guidance, my older songs were selected to win a slot in Tayla Parx's songwriting/production camp in NYC with people like Tommy Brown, Sarah Hudson, Ali Thompson, Normani, and more were in attendance. It changed my life and it's thanks to your education. You are able to break down giant ideas into a language I understand.

isn't afraid to tell you how it is

grayson erhard - singer/songwriter

Friedemann isn't afraid to tell you how it is. I’ve sent him over ten songs at this point and I learn something every single time he gives me feedback. He dives into every aspect of the music and provides helpful insight that’s supported by his wealth of experience. I’m incredibly grateful for the feedback he’s provided, the time he takes to meticulously study music, and the methods he uses to deliver a valuable education. I believe Holistic Songwriting has led me to become much more aware of the choices I’m making within my music. 

it's a fun and rewarding puzzle to put together

Jessica manske -

dj / songwriter / producer

I am a DJ and turning into a songwriter/ producer.  I love how Friedemann gives the breakdown of popular artists and their formula both on YouTube and in his book. He puts everything together in an enjoyable way so that songwriting isn't a complicated chore, it's a fun and rewarding puzzle to put together.  He helps you exercise that creative muscle and also borrow themes from pop music so that you can make your own songs and be proud of them! I love how he focuses on the groove and simplifies topics that could be daunting to beginning songwriters with no formal music training

ideas that work

johnny mabie -  

artist

atlantic records

Writing alone or with Grammy-nominated writers, Friedemann's ideas about arrangement, energy, and melodic rhythm always work. He helped me understand that shaping a song is less like a stroke of genius and more like making a sandwich. A really, really awesome sandwich. 

taught me that I too can find my own voice with confidence

Weslay hibberd - writer

Having failed many times at writing a song I am happy with I have found that perseverance and sound guidance from Friedemann has reconfigured my approach and led me to achieve results I love. I enjoy the songwriting process, and Friedemann has taught me that the methods adopted by many great songwriters I admire are not transcendent and I too can find my own voice with confidence. Friedemann inspired me to use songwriting methods as tools rather than blueprints to communicate mine.

AN UNBEATABLE GUARANTEE

We’ve packed a lot into Holistic Songwriting Academy, and I want to make sure that you not only get all that content before you fully commit to this - I want to give you 30 days to let it digest, integrate it into your daily songwriting and make sure this is really working for you. 


In these 30 days, you can try the first 3 modules (about 9 hours of material). That should be more than enough to figure out whether this course is for you. If you don’t LOVE it, I insist that you get 100% of your money back. I’ll even eat the credit-card processing fees.


It’s simple: Join the program and try it for yourself. If the formulas and tools don’t help improve your songwriting in 30 days, I want you to email me. Show me you did the exercises, and I’ll give you all your money back. 


This guarantee lasts 30 days, which covers the first 3 modules. That means you can try a THIRD of the entire course and then decide if it’s not right for you.



Please Note:

HSA consists of three individual Trimesters, which can be purchased as a bundle or individually.

HSA STORY (Trimester 3) itself consists of 3 parts: IMAGE, LYRICS and ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0. After enrolling you will gain access to IMAGE on 4th November (but don't wait - seats are limited). You will have access to LYRICS in February and to ADDICTION FORMULA in autumn 2023. All parts are included in STORY - and as a thank you for your patience, we have heavily discounted STORY.

HS ACADEMY

Trimester 3: STORY

Instead of $1997

Now only $1247 (Save $750)

Or get all trimesters
and save $2995

HSA complete includes

Normally $1997

GROOVE

Move the body 

12 masterclasses in how to write a rhythm section (yep, that’s not just the drums!) that makes individuals, groups and large crowds want to move as one with your music.

Normally $1997

PITCH

Touch the heart

How to write fresh, catchy melodies over lush chord progressions, hard-hitting riffs and funky bass lines.

In other words: Master expressing emotions musically.

Normally $1997

STORY

Captivate the mind

Create your authentic Artist Identity & World in IMAGE, hypercharge your lyrical content & style in LYRICS and become a master Musical Storyteller in ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0.
All included in STORY. 

Normally $1997

GROOVE

Move the body 

12 masterclasses in how to write a rhythm section (yep, that’s not just the drums!) that makes individuals, groups and large crowds want to move as one with your music.

Normally $1997

PITCH

Touch the heart

How to write fresh, catchy melodies over lush chord progressions, hard-hitting riffs and funky bass lines.

In other words: Master expressing emotions musically.


Normally $1997

story

Captivate the mind

Create your authentic Artist Identity & World in IMAGE, hypercharge your lyrical content & style in LYRICS and become a master Musical Storyteller in ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0.
All included in STORY. 

Bonus

The Bundle includes the Course

"BY THE END OF THIS COURSE
YOU WILL KNOW MUSIC THEORY"

From zero music theory, to solid understanding in one day /
Speak "musician" fluently /
Be taken seriously by other musicians /
Broaden your toolkit to express YOUR ideas

Frequently Asked Questions

"How much time do I need to plan for HSA?"

That depends on a number of things like your current skill level, how quickly you want to advance, how thorough you want to be, how fast you work & learn, etc. 

From surveying my past students, it seems about 10 hours a week is a reasonable number. You can expect this number to be higher if you've never written, performed or produced a song before. You can expect it to be lower if you have been making music for a long time.

For those among you who are going all in on this: If you want to do nothing else, and just focus on HSA for four months, you can! There are definitely enough material and exercises to keep you engaged.

„How do I know whether I will learn anything new?“

I can guarantee that you will learn something new in this course because I started it from scratch. Holistic Songwriting Academy is the result of analyzing thousands of hit songs and teaching you what I’ve learned. It is not a summary of other books or courses on the matter.

I started songwriting when I was 15 years old, I have a Bachelor of Music and even I learned a ton putting this course together. I’m not holding back, either. You’re getting all of my key insights into what makes great songs tick.

„What if I fall behind?“

I'll be honest - it's not great. You should plan for at least a few hours a week on HSA. 

Let me explain what the course actually looks like: Every week, you unlock about 1.5 hours of new video content, as well as exercises for the rest of the week. Every week, we do two livestreams meetings. In the first, I answer any questions you may have about the videos, in the second, I answer questions that came up while doing the exercises. 

These livestreams are the crucial element in this discussions. You'll want to be up to speed for them. 

So what happens if something unexpected happens and you can't invest the time necessary? The course material will be accessible for years to come, so you can always catch up. Unfortunately, the ability to ask questions will be gone. 

I have marked all exercises that I consider crucial with an exclamation mark, so if you really have no time, just do those. Naturally, it is recommended that you come back for the rest.

„How is this different than your other courses?“

In short, this is my Magnum Opus. The one to rule them all. Get this one, and you won’t need any of my other stuff*. I’ve refined and updated a lot of content from my Master Files and they have become the basis for Holistic Songwriting Academy, but this is about 90% new stuff. Yes, it’s a big ass course.

*although there is no overlap of this and "Getting Things Made" and "The Songwriting Decks", so you can get those in addition to this course. 

„Do I need to know music theory?"

In short, no. It might help you in some ways because it can give you another perspective, and it might hinder you in others because it will guide your thinking in a specific way. But all three trimesters have been designed so they don’t require any previous knowledge except basics such as: 

You should know the names of all the instruments on the drums and you should know what a measure is. 

You will learn how to read music in the course - this is an unfortunate necessity for communicating the techniques you will learn. And we will cover some very basic music theory in the second trimester. As a bonus for joining PITCH you will also receive the beginner course "By the end of this course you will know music theory". But theory is not our focus.

Not including music theory was actually one of my biggest personal breakthroughs as a teacher, when I realized that explaining upper structures and dominant substitutes don't actually matter very much in practice. 

It took a lot of confidence to decide against music theory for this course. It is, after all, my magnum opus and it should teach you everything I know. 

However, I realized that I learned how to write songs without being able to read music, and that almost all the hit songwriters I know don't read music either. 

So will that make the course less in-depth, less hardcore, less professional? I like to think the opposite - that thinking outside of music theory opens up a whole new world of teaching. 

I don't want to spend 4 modules explaining music theory to you, when in the end, you won't be using it very much. You might understand some things a little better, but honestly, it doesn't matter. Says me, Bachelor of Music and huge music theory nerd. 

„How long will this course take?“

Holistic Songwriting Academy takes place over one year, split into three trimesters. 

Each trimester is four months, with one new module each week. We take a break every four weeks (as requested by our alumni) - you can use this week off to digest the material so far, review modules, and do the assignments you didn't have time for. Each module ranges from 1-3 hours, and is packed full of short and focused information. I recommend you watch each new module as it comes out, and with lifetime access you can revisit them whenever you like.

Each trimester is an individual purchase, so it is possible to wait a year before you continue with the next trimester. 

"Is there a discount for buying all trimesters together?"

Yes! You can enroll in HSA Complete at a huge discount. Usually, our individual Trimesters cost $1997 each, adding up to the total price of $5991.
As a thank you for your patience regarding the release of parts 2 & 3 of STORY we have decided to HEAVILY discount both the individual Trimesters ($1250 each) and give an even steeper 50% discount on the bundle, saving you $2995.

"Can I take the trimesters out of order?"

I originally designed the trimesters to be consumed in the order GROOVE first, then PITCH and then STORY.


But now, I've changed my mind on this. Starting with your artist identity can be a great place to start, just as starting to write grooves. It all comes back to the Songwriting Circle: To write Holistic Songs (songs that speak to the body, the heart and the mind), we need to go deep into all three topics. 


BUT, let me say it again: I believe each trimester to be vital and you will miss out if you don't take all three. We discuss writing groovier melodies in the Groove trimester. We talk about storytelling on drums in the Story trimester. And we talk about strumming patterns in the Pitch trimester. Writing a song is writing a web of interconnected elements, so naturally, there is some overlap between the courses. 


So, to answer your question: You can take the Trimesters in any order, but make sure to take them!

"Do I need to record myself / produce music?"

Yes - some of the exercises require you to send in a recorded song. If you have no experience recording music or programming MIDI, we can help you set that up. You will need to purchase a DAW and a few sound libraries. For the libraries, we recommend getting Native Instruments' basic Komplete bundle. It's an industry standard used by thousands of songwriters and producers world-wide.

Do you need the sound libraries? If you play drums, bass and guitar/piano, and you have a way of recording yourself, then no, you won't need to buy libraries. 

If you really don't want to learn how to produce music, you can also work with notation programs such as Sibelius, Finale, Notion or Guitar Pro, but we do NOT recommend it, as you won't have enough control over the sounds.

As a rule, we'll try to make due with whatever your limitations are, but the better prepared you come into this course, the more you'll get out of it.

"Do I need to be able to play an instrument?"

No, none of the exercises require you to be able to play an instrument.

However, while not needed for this course, if you want to become a songwriter, playing either the guitar or the piano is HUGE! You don't need to be a great player and you don't need to be fast or overly technical, but you should be able to play chords at the very least. Knowing how to sing and produce music also helps immensely. 

„I’m already an established artist - can I still learn something here?“

Yes, I’ve designed this course for all levels of artists. I estimate that, even if you're a professional musician, about 40% of this course will still be news to you. 

Plus, building a content machine for non-stop ideas and inspiration will be of immediate value to you, as you can monetize that faster than other musicians who haven't yet built a platform like you.

"What kind of music do you make?"

My favorite music to write is anything melodic and heavy. My debut album "Subface" from 2020 shows my style well. It was written, performed and recorded in its entirety by myself.*

I've written over a thousand songs in my life, and in a lot of different styles, including Pop, EDM, Trip Hop, Hip Hop, Film Music, Folk, Country, Rock and Indie. To hear some of these styles and more, click here.

*only exception: drum recordings and performances by Marco Meyer.

opened a new world for me

steve b -

writer

Friedemann opened a new world for me with his approach to songwriting and singing the initial lyrics. Skeptical at first, not really a singer. I tried it and was amazed at the increased production and improvement in my songs. And, many of his tools are also very helpful and time savers too. Now the band is heading to the studio to record enough for a first EP. I couldn't have done it without his guidance.

helped me expand beyond being a rap artist

moreno muanza -

rapper

I started rapping when I was fourteen and today I'm twenty one. I left College 2-3 years ago to pursue music full time. I had the confidence and vision to become a professional artist but there were skills and information I KNEW I was missing. I read every and any songwriting book I can get my hands on and any music theory book I can find. I've been going to music conventions for years... to become a professional,  I knew I needed guidance or a coach. Holistic Songwriting helped me expand beyond being a rap artist. I studied and bought every product holistic songwriting has ever created. My testimonial for holistic songwriting is me releasing three EP'S and one twelve song mixtape. Holistic songwriting gave me the perspective and creativity to make four musical projects & SIX music video's. My goal is to be a platinum selling artist and I know holistic songwriting can make me that Artist.

obtained a traineeship in one of Australia's best recording studios

joshua starkey

writer

Holistic Songwriting helped change the course of my life. I've always loved playing music, as a drummer. I liked the idea of writing songs, but I just couldn't grasp a lot of the concepts.

But your YouTube channel, Podcasts, and Bundles have expanded my knowledge to the point where I obtained a traineeship in one of Australia's best recording studios - The Grove.

I get to work with amazing Australian artists like Violent Soho, Birds of Tokyo, The Dune Rats, Ocean Alley and so many more.

I recommend you to anyone I know who has an interest in music, 10/10.

I see the matrix now

john toelaer - 

writer

The addiction formula has changed not only the way that I produce music and think about music, but also the way that I perceive and experience it. After reading, it was like the first time someone points out a bass guitar part and your eyes/ears are opened, except on a much larger scale. I see the matrix now. 

will get you out of any creative rut

gerben nieuwenhuis 

writer

Friedemann, team holistic songwriting and community are your BEST AUDIENCE as an aspiring songwriter. The human touch and warm professional feedback will get you out of any creative rut or pitfall. There is attention to details (because the devil 's in the details) and you will get support on ANY level of songwriting, if you just a starter with a campfire guitar of a full blown pro.

P.S.

This is not just some stuff I've cobbled together from a bunch of YouTube videos.


This course was built from the ground up. My information does NOT come from other songwriting coaches, books, YouTube videos and the like. All my research is based on popular songs from different styles, not on other people's findings. And yes, that does mean I take a completely unique approach to Songwriting and Music Production.


Making the complex sound ELEGANT.

"Oooh, he's playing a 7/8!", "Is that a locrian scale I'm hearing?", "I wrote a polyrhythmic song once, too!"

Who talks like that? I'll tell you who: Professional musicians. And who else? Nobody. Because nobody cares that you can fit a 13/16 groove into your song if it doesn't sound good.

Best case scenario: They'll think you're a musical genius and that your music is way beyond them... and they'll never listen to your music again.  

Yes, we'll talk about odd time signatures and complex harmony, but our goal is NEVER to show off. It's to write great fucking music, period.


Inspiration is overrated.


Have you ever listened to your favorite song and thought "man, that's so good! I wish I had had that idea!" Next time you say something like that, try this: Take any part of that song and change it. Play a different bass line, change the lyrics, add some kick drums and see what happens. The first time I did this I was astonished: Anything I tried made the song worse, it fell apart in front of my eyes. The idea was the same, but I had messed up the execution. 


That's what you'll learn in this course: How to execute your ideas well. How to frame your ideas correctly. How to balance out all the instruments to make your song shine. 

Please Note:

HSA consists of three individual Trimesters, which can be purchased as a bundle or individually.

HSA STORY (Trimester 3) consist itself of 3 parts: 
IMAGE, LYRICS and ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0. 
After enrolling you will gain access to IMAGE on 4th November (but don't wait - seats are limited).
You will have access to LYRICS in February and to ADDICTION FORMULA in autumn 2023. All parts are included in STORY - and as a thank you for your patience, we have heavily discounted STORY.

HS ACADEMY

Trimester 3: STORY

Instead of $1997

Now only $1247 (Save $750)

Or get the bundle and save $2995

The bundle includes

Normally $1997

GROOVE

Move the body 

12 masterclasses in how to write a rhythm section (yep, that’s not just the drums!) that makes individuals, groups and large crowds want to move as one with your music.

Normally $1997

PITCH

Touch the heart

How to write fresh, catchy melodies over lush chord progressions, hard-hitting riffs and funky bass lines.

In other words: Master expressing emotions musically.

Normally $1997

STORY

Captivate the mind

Create your authentic Artist Identity & World in IMAGE, hypercharge your lyrical content & style in LYRICS and become a master Musical Storyteller in ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0.
All included in STORY. 

Normally $1997

GROOVE

Move the body 

12 masterclasses in how to write a rhythm section (yep, that’s not just the drums!) that makes individuals, groups and large crowds want to move as one with your music.

Normally $1997

PITCH

Touch the heart

How to write fresh, catchy melodies over lush chord progressions, hard-hitting riffs and funky bass lines.

In other words: Master expressing emotions musically.


Normally $1997

story

Captivate the mind

Create your authentic Artist Identity & World in IMAGE, hypercharge your lyrical content & style in LYRICS and become a master Musical Storyteller in ADDICTION FORMULA 2.0.
All included in STORY. 

Bonus

The Bundle includes the Course

"BY THE END OF THIS COURSE
YOU WILL KNOW MUSIC THEORY"

From zero music theory, to solid understanding in one day /
Speak "musician" fluently /
Be taken seriously by other musicians /
Broaden your toolkit to express YOUR ideas

One more thing...

If you wanted to, you could probably figure out this stuff on your own. I know, because that's what I did. But it's cost me thousands of dollars and ten thousands of hours when I add up what I've invested, spent, tested, and WASTED figuring out the "good stuff" that actually works... and works consistently and predictably.


So you can invest a ton of money and time trying to figure out what works or you can short-circuit that whole process and do something of a "mind-meld" with me... and then you can be putting this material to work in your life tomorrow.

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