Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thinking as a songwriter

To get re-energized, I've started taking an on-line course at SongU titled "Thinking as a Songwriter." The course talks about being observant and using these observations to create a picture for your listener. One interesting thought was "Your ability to describe the world around you is as unique as your fingerprint."

An exercise from the class was to look around and describe what you see (objects, textures, colors ...). Then make up a story around each image: For example, some images I came up with are:

"Her dress lies crumpled up on the couch"
"Papers overflowing the trash can. "
"An old postcard tacked on the bulletin board."
"The briefcase by the front door"


While each one could become a song, I've started working with the old postcard image. Not quite sure what it will lead to, but that's half the fun of it....

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1 Comments:

At 10:31 PM, Blogger Rob said...

Sounds like you need to clean your house, Jeff. :)

But seriously... yes, poets and songwriters notice ordinary things and write about them. Natalie Goldberg and Ted Kooser talk about this in their books on writing.

Two years ago, I started walking around my neighborhood with a mini-cassette recorder and started recording simple observations. Later I transcribed those into a notebook. A few of those observations eventually made it into my songs.

For example, during the winter I noticed that, on the south side of east-west streets, the snow never melted, because it was in the shade all day. So I recorded "the shady side of the street" on my mini-cassette recorder and then into my notebook. Several months later, while working on a song, I was digging through my notebook for ideas, and found it. My song "Bipolar" begins, "Last week I was living / on the shady side of the street".

 

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