SAC – Week #4, Songwriting Challenge

Hmm, find an unfinished song and put it together with some spare parts in order to have one completed song … finding an unfinished song is not a problem!

I had two verses with refrain lines in Making A Mark – I created a third verse from some notes I had made and then pulled some words from notes I’d made taking an online songwriting class ( Berklee) for a bridge… and then added some lines to complete things. This did show me that the idea for this week’s challenge was a very practical one. It also illustrated the importance of hanging on to scrap notes, jottings, bedside scribbles, cell phone notes and then being able to retrieve them.

Thanks to SAC, Regina Regional Writers Group of the SAC, and to those creating the weekly challenges and those providing feedback to all of us.

SAC 2016 Week 3 Challenge

I really enjoyed working with Scott Anthony Andrews on this challenge. Scott has many years experience as a singer and songwriter and he has keyboard and guitar skills, too. I am a relative newbie to songwriting and my interest is more on the lyric side of things. Scott and I both contributed to the words in this week’s effort.

I learned that it takes time to create the melody – I have been assuming that once someone had a few lines of lyrics, the natural sound of the language would help them create the melody. Not so fast! Chords and notes are played around with to get the right feel and a host of other reasons.

Things I learned this week – collaborating is thrilling – it is great to work with others to help generate ideas and to get second opinions. It was also great to enjoy the beautiful outdoors on a prairie evening on Scott’s back deck. I am learning that it is important not to throw out any ideas too quickly – sometimes these things can become key components on something else you are working on or these things can help you come up with ideas later that are better than what you have right now.

If we had started earlier, things would likely have been better served, but we will run with what we generated and will do more with our song in later summer or early fall.


SAC Week 3

I have a feeling of pride as I have completed the lyrics for my first song … ever! Yup, just a minute and a half creation … after some blood, sweat and tears, as we’ve been working on the background music that could be used in an advertisement that shows children having fun. No need to create a 3 minute and 30 second version of a song.

I came close to collaborating with a few different `challenge members’, but we couldn’t quite work things out with our different schedules. I received some feedback from Robert Campbell that was helpful. Comments from Heather Meori, James Linderman, and Kathryn Berry-Sauvageau were encouraging to me. Douglas Haynes provided the music and vocals for my lyrics to Criss Cross Applesauce.

Something I am experiencing is that when I see creative song titles and song ideas and creative expression of music, vocals, and production from other challenge members, it really stimulates my mind with thoughts about creative things I could do or it just helps me be open to creative ideas that dance or fly by. I would like to see some of these ideas come to life in the next few weeks by working with a vocalist, a musician and a production person as part of a challenge.

I really appreciate the positive and helpful approach that challenge members are showing each other. I also appreciate the time and effort that the SAC folks are providing us with, too.

SAC Challenge – Week 2

I have been fortunate to connect with many of the other Six Songs in Six Weeks challenge takers. I am sure that some of these relationships will turn into having life long friends. It is encouraging to learn from others and to be motivated by the efforts that others are making. It’s fun, too, just to listen to works that others are creating or have already created along the way.

Some early plans to write the lyrics to existing music from another participant didn’t quite work out. The bigger challenge I have had is finding out how much work it takes to write the words for a song in an area that you aren’t really familiar with. I do think I can do this, but I am running out of time for completing lyrics for a song, let alone also getting the lyrics to another participant in the challenge. What I’ve done so far – following Pat Pattison’s approach to songwriting from the book “Writing Better Lyrics” …  I have a song that is like three boxes with the ideas in each box getting bigger as you move from one to the next. I have created a worksheet that has a list of key ideas for the song and a list of rhymes for each idea. By following Robin Frederick’s “Shortcuts to Hit Songwriting”, I have taken the title for one song and tried to answer the questions that you might ask about the title. I have also created a list of words, phrases and images suggested or related to the title. The Robin Frederick approach helped show me that my one work, “A Pretty Strong Maybe” wasn’t going to work for the goals of this challenge – connecting with females ages thirteen to eighteen. A new title, “Possibilities” seems to be working for me now, but I need one more verse and do need a really strong chorus still.

I have learned quite a bit in this past week. I will approach the next challenge by working on two or three songs and making sure I meet the weekly deadline.

SAC Songwriting & Blogging Challenge, Week 1

My membership in the Songwriters Association of Canada delivers great value from the association website ańd other activities. I am excited to be investing time and effort in blogging and working on the  ‘six songs in six weeks’ challenges for 2015. This is a great learning opportunity linked to a chance to collaborate with 116 other participants from across Canada.

I am already learning from other SAC challenge goers who have singing, musical and music production skills. Mentors and coaches are available to help us out in our quest, too. How about this for the Week 1 challenge … we are creating a song which established Canadian artist Matt Dusk could include on an album he has in process! Matt Dusk has moved away from his crooner background to a more contemporary sound. I hope to use some of my lyric writing skills as I work with other challenge participants on this opportunity.

Thanks to the S.A.C. for hosting this songwriting and blogging challenge.