The Art and Skill of Writing a Song

6. Developing the idea.

Engaging the Left Brain

We now have enough material, whether it be from our cluster exercises or our journal, to start to organise into a song. Now might be a good time to pick up your guitar or sit down to your keyboard. Remember, we've put a certain amount of time aside to write a song and that's what we're going to do. We're going to finish this in one sitting. (It might not end up being the best song in the world but we're practising songwriting and learning to apply new techniques.) This is where we need our left brain to push on through and not let our imagination run away with us - we've done that bit.

Keys to Left Brain Thinking

If youíre narrating a story or event, donít over-describe. Use key words or concepts as quick steppingstones. Keep the same pace of narrative: if youíre writing about your wife and dog leaving you in one verse, donít spend two lines describing the empty dog kennel. Remember too that the listener doesnít have to understand what you mean, what they think it means may be even better!

Thereís nothing to say that you have to write a song first verse first. If itís not immediately obvious what comes next, try something that might come before. For example, make your first verse your second verse and write a new first one.

Donít ďcontriveĒ your rhyme. If it doesnít sound natural, donít use it just because it rhymes (left brain will want a good rhyme, and want to explain why itís a good rhyme). Similarly, donít feel the melody has to be exactly the same in the second verse as in the first if the words donít allow for it.

Sing it the way you say it. Be careful of putting the emPHAsis on the wrong sylLAble (not never, just hardly ever). Also, make sure the key word is in the right beat of the bar where it gets the proper focus.

Move on. Donít get bogged down in bits you think could be better. We are going to have some work done, some tangible results by the end of our songwriting session even if itís not perfect. Remember: If you want to write one good song, be prepared to write ten bad ones.

Next: The Home Stretch: Completion Phase





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