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Vertical Songwriting

Jon Nicol By Jon Nicol

© 2003-2004, Jon Nicol. All Rights Reserved. Used By Permission.

Please note: Jon is no longer able to continue this column due to time constraints. But he's put a lot of effort into his participation here and those efforts have been greatly appreciated. Hopefully, he'll have time to continue at a later date. Thanks again, Jon!

At least three times in the Book of Psalms, the psalmist instructs the people to "sing to the Lord a new song." So it has been the work of the songwriter for thousands of years to write the new song that God’s people will sing. In the last ten to fifteen years, the world has seen an outpouring of "new songs" to the extent that even media giants like Time Warner can’t ignore. From the local Christian bookstore to Wal-Mart to TimeLife television commercials, "praise and worship music" has become a force and industry all its own. And with any genre of music, it would have no life without the songwriter.

If you are endeavoring to set your craft "on things above" (Col 3: 1,2), you are a "vertical songwriter," and this column is for YOU! Together we’ll explore the unique challenges of writing songs for and about the highest audience: God. There’s plenty of great instruction on how to write songs (some of the best is right here on The Muse’s Muse!), so I won’t try to reinvent the wheel. The focus will be to take those tried and true (as well as some of the unorthodox and unconventional) techniques in songwriting and apply them to praise and worship music. We’ll also look elements in great worship songs in order to figure out what made them "great." My hope for this column is two-fold: 1) To equip "vertical" songwriters (including myself) to move to a higher level of excellence in writing; and 2) to gather together an online community of praise and worship songwriters for collaboration, encouragement and networking.

Welcome to Vertical Songwriting!

Further up and further in! --Jon

A short bio


A short bio:
Jon Nicol is an independent artist and songwriter from Tiffin, OH. He is the worship leader and youth pastor at his church, Tiffin Alliance Church. He is married to an incredible woman named Shannon. Presently, their only dependent is a Jack Russell terrier named Tillie. You can hear samples of Jon's CD, "St. Laundromat" at and

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