Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wrap up for songwriting boot camp

What an interesting and transparent summer I've had!  I decided this spring to set aside 4 weeks to really concentrate on writing music.  I feel really good about what I was able to accomplish even though things have turned out differently than I expected. 

Right away I got two songs fully drafted that are the type of music I feel most comfortable writing.  Simple solo songs for female singers.  I got them fully notated and currently editing them based on feedback.

From the moment I finished the second song I realized that I was so happy with the work I had done that I was finding it difficult to WANT to write anything else.  Nevertheless, I continued to write song "doodles" in hopes of coming up with an idea that would turn into a full song.  The upside of this is that I've gotten so much better at the basic skills of notation.... Finally, after years of trying I really can sit down somewhere and just notate something in my head with MUCH more accuracy than ever before.  I have also been writing more slowly because the more I write the more choral I have become in what I hear. 

The problem with writing anything for more than one voice is that it increases the difficulty of getting "scratch" recordings made.  Also, writing choral music requires a higher level of care when I notate something because I'm no longer just writing a "cheat" sheet for myself, but actually for someone else to read.  I've also slowed in my process of writing because I didn't expect to head down a choral path in my writing this summer. 

In my mind I had imagined working toward the type of concert that I did a few years ago, where the songs were just for one person and an instrumentalist to perform.  However, if I write choral music than the number of people involved is multiplied exponentially. 

Then I realized that when I did the concert a few years ago I took ten years to write all of that music.... I did have a dedicated summer of sorts, but the bulk of the music was written over a long period of time. 

In the midst of all of this, my biggest foe to writing good music has been myself.  Developing the discipline of creativity and the discipline of editing and finishing music that I no longer find intriguing is a skill that I hope will continue to grow. 

One of the most useful things that I did this summer was to go through my old notebooks of song "doodles" to see if any new ideas came up.  I have one melody that I really like that I'm hoping to find the right words for which really is quite opposite from the way I usually write, but I'm excited.... we'll see if it turns in to anything good. 

My goals for the remaining time this summer is to see if I can't get reasonable scratch recordings of the work I have done and then place them on songcloud so that I can share them with people for feedback. 

My plan is to continue to write as often as I can through the next year so that maybe in about a year I'll have enough new material to merit a performance of some sort.