A delightful artist from the Bay Area, Caren Armstrong (www.carenarmstrong.com) put me in contact with Rick Jamison (www.rickjamison.com) , also a singer songwriter and we emailed and I checked out his blog, which I believe to be very valuable for songwriters, so I’ve taken one of his posts to share with you. All of the contact info is at the bottom of the page, after you’ve checked out this article.
Here is a blurb about the blog:
"On Songwriting" is a blog/forum where I and other songwriters converge to share ideas, experiences and insights about the personal — and often lonely — endeavor of creating original music. The site features a combination of artist profiles (helps introduce ourselves to each other and others who may be interested), links to MP3s and URLs (hear what others are doing and fast-track to other songwriting sites/online resources) and songwriting hints and tips (can be helpful when you're staring at a blank sheet of paper and forget how to start).
And here is his article:
I was asked to teach a couple of workshops on songwriting a few years back at some of my all-time favorite California bluegrass festivals, including the CBA Father’s Day Festival in Grass Valley, Bluegrassin’ in the Foothills in Plymouth and the Mid-state Bluegrass Festival in Paso Robles.
In preparation for those workshops, I put together the following notes that I thought might be useful to ponder and chat about, sitting in the grass in the shade of tall trees. Nothing like an acoustic guitar, kindred friends / musicians / songwriters and a shady spot to stretch out on a warm summer day.
Before you begin…
· What inspires you to want to write a song?
· What do you want to say that’s unique? Expressive? Thoughtful?
· Write about a topic that you personally care about
· Listen often to other artists you enjoy
· Study the songwriting styles of other artists who inspire you
· Be ready to answer the call of the muse—whenever and however it happens—with pen and paper, tape recorder and/or your instrument
· Remember: every song ever written was built on the same limited palette of notes that is available to every songwriter
Writing the song…
· Possible starting points: an inspirational topic, a memorable phrase, a story you want to tell, a chord progression, a cool riff, a melody line, a chorus, free-form experimentation
· Be open minded about where your first idea may ultimately lead you
· When writing lyrics, establish a logical pattern of meter and rhyme
· Avoid sounding contrived in melody and verse. In other words, just because you can doesn’t mean you should
· In writing words and melodies, simpler is often better
· Be specific about how the melody is supposed to go
· The memorability test: Is the melody one that you can hum or whistle?
· Vowel sounds are easier to sing than hard consonants
Putting it all together…
· Ask someone else to perform your song so you can listen to it objectively
· Evaluate the continuity of the entire song once you’ve developed it
· Don’t be reluctant to edit the song, even after you’ve decided it’s done
· It helps to lay a finished song aside and return to it later with a fresh ear
· Don’t let the opinions of others derail you
· Like any other worthwhile pursuit—don’t give up, be persistent, be prolific
"On Songwriting" blog: http://www.onsongwriting.com
"On Songwriting" social networking site: http://onsongwriting.ning.com/
Personal website: http://www.rjamison.com
Give Rick a shout out if you like what he has to say…
On Monday, I’ll give you another story from the road. This weekend I am performing a CD Release Concert for New Traces of the Old Road in Tehachapi, California. Have a great weekend and come to the show if you’re near there. Details at the JLS Site or on the appearance tab on this page.