Hello musicians and musicians in the making!
We had a wonderful songwriting group Sept 12 at the studio! 6 of us shared our goals, work thus far, tips, and got started on the group prompts. We workshopped an amazing song by Dylan (pictured at right) – very fun and engaging for everyone.
The prompts are assignments we all do and the results are always really fun and inspiring to others. These serve a couple purposes:
- The prompts are songwriting exercises, so the pressure is off. Having a place to start means you don’t tie yourself in knots trying to write The Great Song. As a result, things flow and often surprising things come out of it – like melodies, lyrics, or even whole songs you can use.
- When everyone writes from the same starting point, every result is different. You get to see what other people in the group did with the same prompt (chords, lyrics, or more to start from) and those things you didn’t think of inform your writing next time.
The prompts that are “due” next time are listed at the bottom. Ask if you have questions or need help – no experience is required here!
Next class: Saturday October 3, 3-4:30pm. Space is limited – please RSVP at Facebook; class is usually 5-8 people and consists of a group chat about progress and roadblocks; advice and technique; sharing recordings / playing songs on guitar or piano (past work is great, or new songs since last time); and looking at the prompts / group exercises, which Bobby creates and shares with you.
First class: FREE / $20 donation after. Snacks and swimming provided after! RSVP on Facebook please! >>
OCTOBER PROMPTS: Your choices are 2 or more of the following:
- INDEX CARD BLIND CO-WRITING. Write an original lyric on an index card (single side only, the quicker the better) and as soon as you’ve written it down, take a picture or type of the lyrics and email them to Bobby; set it to music, it should be less than 120 seconds long. Record your song quickly without editing and share it with me. Bobby will trade lyrics with a partner, who will make a new song from your lyrics without hearing your recorded version or knowing who wrote it. You’ll make a new song from that person (or another’s) lyrics. We’ll share both recorded versions of yours and your partners’ songs at group class, when you’ll find out who was your partner.
- OPTIONAL: LYRIC-FIRST WRITING WITH A LYRIC EVERYONE KNOWS – ‘Stand By Me’: Last time, we took the lyrics for Yesterday by the Beatles and everyone had very different, beautiful results! For October write a new song with the lyrics from Stand By Me with different chords and melody and even instrumentation. This is a challenge because you’ll hear the original melody in your head. Change to minor key, come up with chords first, or hum a melody into your phone’s recorder. Improv is key or start with a stock progression (a good idea for songwriting any day) using Autochords or a similar app. Another tip: try altering the pacing of the lyrics; don’t pause in the same places. You can expand the lyrics as well – add a verse!
- OPTIONAL: CHORDS-FIRST WRITING in Eb. Write a song of any length based on these chords. Try improv on it. They can be the only chords, or they can be a verse with different chords in a chorus, or vice-versa. They just have to be present somehow. Eb, F7, Ab add 9; optional 4th chord (every time, or here and there: Bb sus4). Need chord help?
That’s it! Thanks, and don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook, thanks!