Friday, January 25, 2008

YouTube Video - A Song for Julie

We just posted our first YouTube video at,

The song was inspired after I received an e-mail from Paul Reisler and Julie Portman. Paul and Julie are teachers at Song School who I have learned tons from. Julie has been fighting cancer and has just started chemotherapy. In the e-mail they informed their friends, asked us to picture Julie every night at 9 p.m. ET wearing persian blue in the year 2019, and included a recent song posted on YouTube.

After seeing their video, it took all of about three hours for the song to be written. The hard part was finding a video camera and then figuring out how to load it onto YouTube.

Updates on Julie can be found at Caring Bridge

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Monday, January 21, 2008

Songwriting cycles

I had a conversation with Rob Roper in which I expressed not writing songs while working on my CD. He remarked that many songwriters worked in cycles, a prolific phase of writing, a following by playing out, then recording, then writing again.

This makes perfect sense. I just hope I'm entering a prolific writing phase again.

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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Memorable melodies

We were listening to some local songwriters last night. While all were good, Julie and I agreed that two of them could be great, not just good. However, there was something missing. It took the whole ride home but eventually the question was asked, did you remember any of their songs? The answer was no, OK maybe one funny one. We remembered the stories that were told to introduce the songs and their performance, but not the songs themselves. To go from good to great, their songs need to be more memorable.

This morning we listen to their CD's and have a few suggestions for them. We asked, how can we tell if we are creating memorable songs. Some of the ideas we came up are:

- Melody - Is there a melody that lives on without the lyrics or guitar? Chords are not a melody. A great tip is to sing the lyrics without the guitar. Is there a melody?

- Rhythm or groove - Are feet in the audience moving in time to the beat? When you play to a metronome, does it feel natural? Can you stop playing and still feel the groove?

- Lyrics - What is the hook or the lines that people will remember? Is it sung clearly? Does the music lead you to this line? Is there anything musically that stands out when you sing this line?

- Dynamics - Does the music and lyrics move in a direction? Is there a peak or valley? Do these coincide with the hook?

These are a few that came immediately to mind. If you have other suggestions, let us know.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Catching up

It's been quite a while since my last update. I got away from songwriting the last few months. I was working on the CD, starting a new business, and for fun finishing the basement. Needless to say, my focus was on things other than songwriting. It wasn't hard getting out of the songwriting flow, what's going to be hard is to get back into it.

I did write my first song in a while last week. I even went to the Denver Songwriters group again. I've a lot to write about, but for now I'm just going to bed.

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