Archive for February, 2012

Songwriting Challenge: Week 1

Posted in Songwriting, Songwriting Challenge 2012 with tags , , , , , , , on February 27, 2012 by Gideon K

 

Note: This is actually a week late but I wrote this when I had finished that week.

I think I’ve done it. I think I’ve finished a song I had about ‘Bad Girls’ as much as possible right now. As in, finished in the way that I won’t really know if it’s done until I start to play it live and so forth. I’ve made a tentative demo of it with vocals and guitar. The thing I can finish now is the outro.

 

Anyway, I’ve kind of done it. It feels a little hollow. It feels good, definitely, but I’m not relaxed about it. Just thinking about the next one. I’m not concerned about running out of stuff to work on, because I have a huge list of works in progress that are up for examination and being blown out.

 

Shit is gonna come out how it’s going to come out so I’m not going to try and control it to much right now, I’m just trying to tap into the wave of momentum and get as much done in as many ways as possible. As many different types of songs and find out what my voice really is. I know I’ve only hinted at it up to now, and in many respects only shown a few sides of me. I’m looking forward to being able to unbutton my personality and loosen up completely.

 

I think my goals are reasonable, and entirely doable. My anxiety, excitement and fear comes from the reaslisation that it’s only a case of showing up and letting the monsters out, however they want to land, and trying to make sense of that. I’ve felt that in trying to write poetry – I don’t have the technical skills or ability to breakdown which bits are weak or strong, and then DO something about them, fix them.

 

I do know that about songs though. I want to experiment with more melody, with more accessibility. I’m not looking to pander to anyone or dilute anything, but rather to make sure I’m not purposefully cutting myself off from things as a defence mechanism because I’m scared of exposing something. I want to make mature works, not childish pieces that pretend that they don’t care what anyone thinks. My desire is to make world-class pieces that stand up to anyone in any walk of life. One of my tasks on the challenge will be to write songs aimed at certain target demographics I usually alienate – I want to write for the ‘straight’ world, I want to write a song for young kids that would grab them, really grab them and stand up to my needs at the same time.

 

A lot to do, and a lot to look forward to. But I do so, somewhat tensely, tentatively, nervously. I’m warming up.

 

 

Songwriting Challenge – 52 Songs, 52 Weeks

Posted in Songwriting, Songwriting Challenge 2012 with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2012 by Gideon K

I’ve decided to do a songwriting challenge. Why would I do such a thing?

 

I love missions.

 

Since doing the artist’s way, I’ve gotten somewhat hooked on the feeling of growth and measuring progress, and more to the point, it seems to work for me. As I was coming to the end of the 90 day post-course agreement I was considering what to do next. I hadn’t managed to meet all of my targets and personal goals and was frankly a little worn out with everything.

 

During the last 6 months, I did not get as much songwriting done as I had either intended to or hoped for and thought that this should be top of my priorities. Incidentally, I spotted several mentions of people who were doing them and how it is a way of forcing yourself to learn and grow a lot in a relatively short space of time. What could be better?

 

I’ve tried doing songwriting challenges before, one not even that long ago. But none of them went well. The last one I tried for instance was 30 songs in 30 days – one per day. I was setting myself up for failure. Firstly real life and work etc do not allow one with that luxury everyday (at least not me,) and even when they did I often ended up writing throwaway stuff that was slight in all areas. The time frame was way to narrow considering I have certain songs of mine that have taken a year to write, another took about 2 years from start to finish.

Secondly, I was starting from scratch each time, which was silly considering how much raw material I already have stashed away, and what a backlog I have of started pieces to work from. So it did not last more than 3-4 days before I kicked that one in the head.

 

This time I thought I might research other challenges that other people have done, and make my mind up after I’d researched it. But nothing was happening that way, and I still haven’t researched them that thoroughly. Instead I realised that I just need to start doing it, and everything will sort itself out as I go along, as and when needed.

 

So, starting the week of Sunday 12th February 2012 I’ve started a new challenge. For the next 52 weeks I will be setting myself the target of finishing one song per week. I knew it was the right thing to do when the prospect of it filled me with raw excitement and fear.

 

Luckily, I have lots of work to choose from. If I finish exactly 52 songs, I’ll still have many unfinished pieces, scraps, and ideas to work through. I’ve often heard artists say how they always feel that they are playing ‘catch-up’ with themselves, and always lagging behind. I don’t doubt that for a moment or think it is a different feeling for anyone. It gives me hope and encouragement in fact as there is always something to do.

 

I can’t wait.

 

The Guidelines of my challenge are as follows:

–          Complete one song by the end of each week.

 

–          Each completed song should be demoed in some rough manner – ie voice and accompaniment on guitar, bass, keys or whatever, even acappella, full arrangement or a live band take, so long as the song is documented being played from beginning to end.

 

–          The songs can be anything at all as long as I have learned something by doing them.

 

–          One pavlovian reward to be used the next week after each week completing a song, for each completed piece.

 

–          I should, and will, look for challenges from old ideas, other songwriters and other challenges

 

–          Stay inspired and invigorated by researching the subject and investigating, by allowing a constant stream of good music, reading, and exercise.

 

–          Nothing should stop me from writing and pursuing my art and using this quest as a means or source of self-discovery, learning, enlightenment, meditation, prayer, self-therapy, sharing, spreading love, and giving thanks to creation for the spot I’ve been allowed to hold in it.

 

I’ll let you know how it goes.