What happens when this guy puts an iPhone inside his guitar?
Scientists watched brain activity using FMRI and PET scanners. Multiple areas of the brain light up when the subject is listening to music. Even more so for a musician playing music. While playing, musicans’ brains are “simultaneously processing different information in intricate, interrelated and astonishingly fast sequences” according to neuro-scientists.
To watch the whole 4 minute Ted video, click here.
Last week I happened on to an interesting niche of songwriting. I saw a fb post wherein a casual friend mentioned she needs a theme song for her life. This was part of a longer post, but something in me clicked when I read the bit about a theme song.
I immediately offered to write her theme song, if she was serious. I know her well enough to guess what she was after: something uplifting, empowering, maybe like a rock anthem or a mantra set to music (a chant?), but with a good beat that makes you want to move. It turns out I was pretty close. She was into it. I didn’t charge anything, I just kinda wanted to see if I could do it.
Somehow it all just flowed easily and a week later I had a complete song, based on my knowledge of my friend, my intuition and some ideas she gave me.
I was surprised how fast it came together and very happy with it musically and lyrically. And, fortunately, my friend loves it! That’s a win/win. Because I don’t refer to her by name in the song, I have been able to use it, singing it a live shows and it’s going over well. I always tell the story, giving her credit for the idea and for providing me with some pithy lyrics (which became the heart of the chorus).
The last time I sang it, someone came up afterward and asked if I would writer her theme song. She said I should market this and she called it branding.
Have you ever heard of anyone doing this? Let me know if you’ve done it or know someone who does.
The only similar thing I’ve ever done is a song I co-wrote one time, years ago. A reader of this blog contacted me. He had written a poem for his fiance that he read during their wedding ceremony and he wanted to hire me to put it to music for their 10th anniversary. That long distance collaboration worked out well, too.
I’ll keep you posted on my progress and after I get permission, I’ll post some of the music.
I found this entertaining song genre graphic at Wrong Hands
Please check out their website for more like this.
It’s all well and good to write a serious introspective song that moves people at a soul level. It’s also commendable to write a righteous protest song that people can rally around. But what about a silly, even meaningless song? Can you release the ‘serious songwriter’ burden once in a while and write a funny song? Call it a kids song (for kids of all ages). Whatever you call it, if you make people laugh, that’s another way to reach them with your music.
So take a break from the deep thoughts and let a silly song spill out. Songwriter is supposed to be fun. If nothing else, it’s a palate cleanser, clearing your mind for your next serious song.
A great songwriting teacher once said ‘don’t fall in love with your songs too soon.’ In the early stages of writing a song, stay open – open to fixing a line, improving a melody or re-engineering a rhyme.
It’s not baked yet, so give yourself the freedom to play with it, experiment, improvise. Give it time to percolate. Sleep on it. Find the weakest part of the song and improve just that bit.
Eventually, the song will be completed and that’s the perfect time to fall in love with it. If we fall in love too early, it becomes precious and we miss out on the better song we could have written.
We fall in love with our creations, true. And our songs are our babies. Just don’t be too quick to put them up on a pedestal.
Everywhere I read about the music industry (blogs, tweets, magazines and newspapers) pundits have been saying the album is dying. This guy says it’s dead.
In a few straight-forward statements, Bob Lefsetz lays it out. In a Variety article, he uses sales data from the recent releases by Katy Perry, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, Paul McCartney, Lorde and others to make the point that people don’t care about concept albums anymore. And if your album is just a collection of unrelated songs, they care even less. People want a hit song. If you give them one, they’ll ask for another one, not a throwaway cut from the same album.
No one had more hype than Miley Cyrus, but “Bangerz” didn’t even sell 45,000 copies in its fourth week of release. She can go on “SNL,” tweet her life away, but it’s not moving the needle. Lorde is selling as much as Miley without the benefit of scorched earth, proving quality music is as good as hype. But Lorde isn’t burning up the chart either.
We’ve turned into a nation of grazers. And the artist’s job is to constantly be at the smorgasbord. Not to deliver one big meal that is picked at and thrown away, but to constantly provide tantalizing bites to the public.