Saturday, March 21, 2009

Songwriting - You've got the music now what

I was working with a friend that has the music and melody for a number of songs, just no lyrics. He's has guitar skill that I wished I had. He made two comments that I hear a lot, "I really want the perfect lyrics for this song," and "I don't want my lyrics to sound ____ (childish, goofy, sappy, conceited ....)." These self judgments limit songwriters more than any negative feedback they will ever receive.

The best advice I ever got was, "to write crap." To write and write a lot is the key. Get yourself out of the way. Self judgement keeps your lyrics prisoner. Almost every writing class I've been in has some variation on free writing, where you write as fast as you can, whatever pops into your mind. If you wait for the perfect phrase, you end up with a blank sheet of paper or music and no lyrics.

Another comment I heard was "that if I actually finished this song, I would have to play it for someone and expose a part of me."

No doubt about it, singing your songs for other people is a scary thing. Face it! That's what's so cool when someone shares a song they wrote.

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StereoFidelics - Energizing

Needing to get reenergized about music, I went out with Rob Roper to listen to music at the Meadowlark, a place for up and coming songwriters. As usual, the first three acts were good. I was about to leave when I saw the last act walk in, the StereoFidelics. After setting up the drums, the drummer started tuning a violin and I thought this should be interesting. The guitarist had an electric and acoustic guitar. He also had way to play a base pad with this foot and an array of electronics. Sound interesting? It was!

I guess I would classify them as a jam band, for lack of a better term. What was amazing was the speed in which they played and the amount of music they were able to create. To tell you the truth, I couldn't remember one of their songs until I listened to their music today. But who cares, I remember the music, fast, clean, high energy... I could go on and on.

In a lot of discussion about songwriting, there's talk about structure, form, melody and lyrics. Seeing the StereoFidelics reminds me to throw all that out the window (on occassion). Could I tell you the form of their songs, no? Could I tell you what they are saying in the lyrics, no. Would I listen to them again, probably tonight if I can drag Julie out.

By the way, I will be performing a new song for kids at church on Sunday. Maybe I'll add in a few riffs (or maybe not).

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