Archive for September, 2009

Sound Connections

September 29, 2009

I just got back from Sound Connections New Thought Music Conference and I’m reminded of how much you can learn (about songwriting) in a short period of time, when the conditions are right. I like to attend songwriting workshops, seminars and conventions and other music gatherings. I can often get more out of a weekend seminar that it could take all year to learn otherwise.

Half of what you learn at these things is from peers, people who may not be as experienced as the paid presenters, but who often have that one bit of info, that missing piece that is just what you needed to learn. Likewise, you share what you know with them.

So it pays to network. Some people say they aren’t good at networking. Don’t think of networking as schmoozing over drinks with strangers, although that works for some. My definition of networking is nothing more than meeting people like yourself, who also may think they’re no good at networking.

Networking starts as idle conversation. Don’t start with ‘what can you do for me?’ In fact, it’s more effective to ask, ‘what can I do for you?’ But to start, it’s just anything that gets you into a conversation.

We all have to eat, so never eat alone at a music conference. Tag along with a group and keep your ears open. Nod your head, take notes. Ask questions. Now you’re networking. If appropriate, get a business card and/or demo from everyone at the table and give yours to them.

The hardest networking conversation for me to start is one-on-one. But you can break the ice by asking ‘what type of music do you write?’ That should be enough to get any songwriter talking.

Most of us can’t afford to go to a songwriting conference more than once or twice a year. What can you do to network the rest of the time? That’s where the Songwriter’s Tip Jar shines. It’s like a songwriter convention 365 days a year.

Leave a comment or question on any post, and the community of readers (your songwriting peers) will answer you from their varied perspectives. You’ll get lots of different answers, reflecting different points of view. It’s not about right or wrong answers, it’s about what you can learn that applies to you (or that you can adapt to your situation) and about what you can teach.

Brush up your networking skills by connecting online. Get invaluable tips and advice from your STJ peers and those anonymous members who happen to be industry heavies. And don’t forget to give back.

Feed me

September 25, 2009

If you find our blog helpful and would like to continue to visit, try an RSS feed. It’s free.

The main benefit of RSS is that you save time. You avoid checking blogs only to find there is nothing new. If you haven’t tried RSS before, here’s a 3 minute video that explains it in plain English.

Of course, you can use RSS for any number of other blogs and news sites, not just ours.

The World Needs You to Do What You Love

September 13, 2009

If you want to make a difference in the world, the single most important thing you can do is consciously and deliberately choose to do work that you are passionate about.

Check out this zenhabits post.

Play time

September 11, 2009

As a songwriter or lyricist, you may think of yourself as a wordsmith. The written word is a powerful tool. And even more powerful are words and music together.

To increase your word power (resulting in improved songwriting), you probably read a lot of books. You may also read poetry and study the great writers. And for an avid wordsmith, this is all fun.

On a lighter note, I suggest you also play Scrabble and other word games. It may be rest and relaxation, but it also keeps your mind sharp and develops that part of your brain that deals with words.

The making of a Steinway concert grand

September 10, 2009


Note By Note: The Making Of Steinway L1037 is a film airing on PBS that follows the creation of a Steinway concert grand – L1037 – from forest floor to first performance.

From the factory floor in Queens to Steinway Hall in Manhattan, each piano’s journey is complex — spanning 12 months, 12,000 parts, 450 craftsmen, and countless hours of fine-tuned labor. Filmed in key Steinway locations — the factory, Steinway’s reserved “Bank,” and private auditions — Note By Note is a loving celebration of not only craftsmanship, but also a dying breed of person who is deeply connected to working by hand.