10 October 2011

Baby Shark

"Shark, Momma!" Keane excitedly calls out as he watches his Animal app. on my iPad.

There are a few consonant sounds missing from the exclamation, but I get his excitement, nonetheless.  Keane is easily incited, and excited.

I'm excited too.

One month from today, a little song writing event is going to take place all over the internet.  7 in 7.  I've already told John, that THAT is what I'll be doing the week of November 10th-16th, just a heads up ;) (he was fine with it).  I'll have to do my cleaning ahead of time. On the day that I have a lot to do (Thursday) it's going to be interesting.

There is some prepping to do.  I don't mean songwriting (the idea is to write a complete song, start to finish in one day).  I need to pray.  I've roughly decided to use the first 7 books of the Bible as inspiration, since that is what I'm reading now.  "Why?" you may ask.  "Why not?"  I may respond.

My song writing process usually goes something like this.  I read a passage in the Bible, or a circumstance has caught my attention, or sometimes I'm so burdened about something, I need to write about it.  (Honestly, though, sometimes the things I am most burdened about, when put to lyrics and a tune just come out funny sounding to me, they usually get tossed.  For example, trafficking.  I've tried to write about it....the sentiment is real, the anger is real, the injustice of the situation is real, but somehow my song doesn't end up sounding real.  Maybe because I've never been there. Maybe it's something that is a burden because I need to pray about it, not write a song about it.)

Quite often, I can write a song in a day, if I have the time. My songs might sound like they've been written in a day :P (decide for yourself) .  Now that I have kids and I've been able to focus on songwriting a little more, I find that it takes a little more time. When Carly came over last week, we sat down a couple of times to "write."  I was really interested in her musical background, and I wanted to embolden her in her songwriting. She had an idea of what she wanted to write about, so we started with a scattergram-  a list of thoughts and ideas about the subject.

Usually in a scattergram you can find a phrase or a thought that sounds good with music, maybe it's the chorus, or the first verse.  Pick up your instrument and play, just play.  Suddenly a phrase will fit, or a tune will come at you. Hum, and sing, and don't get frustrated that it's not all lining out right away.  In fact, if you do find yourself frustrated, put it down and go do the dishes or something and try later. Always track your progress with chords or a simple recording or repetition. 

Of course I had ideas about Carly's song, but it was Carly's song. When she wanted my two cents, I was pretty tongue tied. First, you can't write a song, a good one (not talking about boy band material), disconnected from it.  The same thing happened recently when I tried to help someone else. If I applied myself to the meaning and leaned hard on involving myself, the input wasn't really accepted, why?  It wasn't MY song, it was theirs. They didn't want honesty, they wanted affirmation, I quickly learned (not Carly), and I just couldn't embrace it, lyrics and all.  So, moral of the story, don't ask someone to write a song for you, unless you've learned the art of collaboration, which means, give and take.  Also, and this may sound funny, it has to be someone you respect.

I remember I was in a temporary band before my senior year of high school.  All a part of an expo thing.  They set you up with a band after an audition and then there was a competition at the end of the summer, etc.  What a joke!  Let me paint a picture.  Primus, Metallica, Rosanne Cash, mad skills pianist, and Thumper (that's what I'll call the drummer- she tried). The electric guitarist insisted on power chords and implementing the two notes he could play as a solo into a song that HAD to resemble Metallica's (of course).  The bassist, you guessed it, Primus (I don't need to say more). I have a low voice, that doesn't resemble Jimmy's or Les's.  I preferred blues, or folk, or country, even, just couldn't do the metal or the monotone half rap stuff.  All that to say.  The one song I could sing in the set of three and had some sort of melody, was the one the audience received (I'm just saying).

Anywho....think about it, are you going to accept the input of someone you don't think is spiritually mature? or has musical tastes that you can't get your mind around? or is even, in your mind, a little strange? No. It's not going to happen.  Songs are an extension of us, we have to fully trust and respect the person we are song writing with.  There have been a couple of people I've worked with, that it worked.

Keep at it.  It's your passion isn't it?  The gift God has given you (make sure of this). I recently went to a Paul Baloche seminar where he talked about songwriting. He was such a blessing because he affirmed everything I haphazardly figured out over the years about song writing.  Grant it, there are leaps and bounds between us.  He is famous, I am not. However, people have been blessed in my little sphere.  It doesn't matter how big it isIt matters how big God is made out to be.

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