Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Songwriting For Singers (Part 1)

Notes From The Playground: Songwriting For Singers Part 1

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how creating the "right" material is essential in establishing an artist in the publics mind. Think of any of your favorite singers or bands and how you first heard of them and it will in fact be the song they are performing that brought them to your attention. The artist always needs an outstanding piece of material that catches the interest of the industry and the public (not always in that order these days)!
Sometimes an artist is a self contained writing unit, able to create words and music together that express all the lyrical, melodic and harmonic elements that make a top notch song. This is, however, rare. Usually a singer is co-creating their material with another musician, often a producer, who will help shape and craft the material into something that is closer to finished product. There is also the artist who does not participate in the writing of their own material, but in truth that is a rare situation. An artist who writes presents a larger and more varied money stream to the industry and that is why singers who write their own songs find themselves with greater professional opportunities.

Singers at the beginning of their careers often feel like they have songs inside them that they have yet to express. Usually they are letting a lack of musical knowledge or an inability to play an instrument stop them from exploring this potential goldmine. My job usually entails creating a safe environment for these fledgling songwriters to discover where their impulses and instincts might lead them.
Developing a sense of confidence about our own instincts also makes it more possible to jump into creative writing situations with other songwriters, thereby increasing our skill set and our chances of coming up with usable material. The idea isn't always to have complete mastery of the craft of songwriting, but a knowledge of what we do have already working for us and a willingness to commit to collaboration with other more experienced songwriters.
IF we are honest with ourselves we will be giving the creation of material top priority, whether we are learning to develop as writers on our own, learning how to co-write with other composers or becoming really good at finding extraordinary material to perform....

Stay Tuned for Songwriting Part 2 ..a look at the more practical aspects of getting started for the fledgling songwriter.

Micah Barnes coaches singers in Toronto, Los Angeles and New York and his popular Singers Playground workshops have helped thousands of singers to a new freedom in performance and liberation in their voice. His blog "Notes From The Playground" can be found at

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