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Advanced Songcraft Tools for Professional Songwriters, Part IV

Guest post by Billy Seidman – Founder, Song Arts Academy & Songwriting Faculty Member, NYU & The New School

Are you on top of your songwriting game? Training for songwriter gold!

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Like winning a Gold medal represents the pinnacle of an athlete’s body’s performance, writing a chart-topping song represents the pinnacle of a songwriter’s communication performance!

The Olympics in Rio reminded me how an athlete’s success is based on the training and support they receive from a routine and a team of specialists.

Unlike athletes, songwriters build perception; perception is our muscle.

So how perceptive are you about your songwriting game? What’s strong about it, what needs improvement? Below is a quick quiz to find out if you’re a Gold, Silver, or Bronze contender!

Like any other serious professional we should be training just as hard for success if not harder than most professionals. Our training gear is songcraft; the use of songcraft in the writing of many, many songs builds deeper perception and understanding (muscle) of the communication opportunity in our ideas, music, lyrics, and tracks: writing what we need to say and what an audience wants to hear.

Athletes use a variety of coaches, apparatus, drills, diets, and mental conditioning to prep for performance. What are you using in terms of songcraft, the songwriting training equivalent to compete in a world just as challenging as the top performing athletes? Let’s find out:

  1. Choose your BEST SONG, OR A SONG YOU CURRENTLY LOVE.
  2. Listen to your song while reading the APPARATUS CHECK LIST below and fill in your score honestly for each:
    10 = Yes, Extremely Well
    5 = Somewhat, but could be better
    1 = No, wasn’t thinking about that while writing the song
  3. Add up your score and we’ll review what it means at the end of the post!

TRAINING STATIONS FOR SONGWRITERS:

APPARATUS 1: COMMUNICATION

Does the song let the audience know what it’s about in 5-10 seconds?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 2: INTENTION

Before you started writing your song or after you finished it and were reviewing it, did you know exactly why you wrote it and what you wanted the audience to “take away” from it?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 3: KEY EMOTION

Songs typically have one basic emotion at their heart: hope, loss, regret, reassurance, empowerment, or grief for example.  Did you know which emotion was driving your song before or during the time you wrote it?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 4: SONG CATEGORY

Did you recognize what type of song you were writing?  Was it devotional love, coming of age, a make-up, a break-up, party, empowerment, or other?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 5: REAL LIFE EVENT

Did you base your song on an event that actually happened, whether in your own life or the life of a friend or loved one?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 6: RELATABILITY

Can your audience see their life and experiences in your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 7: SONGCRAFT TOOLS

Did you use the songcraft tools of opportunity, perspective, momentum, and contrast to build your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 8: MUSICAL & LYRICAL GRAMMAR

Did you use musical grammar (a consistent song form) and lyrical grammar (a logical flow of what needs to be said in each line) when writing your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 9: MIRROR WRITING

Did you mirror write, or use “reverse song engineering” of a major hit to write your song?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

APPARATUS 10: K.I.S.S.

Did you keep the song simple and direct?

10___                                        5___                                        1___

 

SCORING TOTALS:
GOLD: 80-100
SILVER: 50-79
BRONZE: 29-40

Songwriters are my favorite people because creatively we are some of the bravest; we face a blank page and are expected to bring excellence every time.  If you need or want to improve your game, contact me to join one of my workshops, forums, or private sessions at billy@songartsacademy.com or check out my programs at www.songartsacademy.com.

Song Arts starts its annual Fall Workshop Intensive on Tuesday, September 27th in NYC. Limited to 15 students–apply now!

 

© 2016 Billy Seidman all rights reserved


For workshops, private study, or song consultations, visit www.songartsacademy.com or contact Billy Seidman: billy@songartsacademy.com.


MORE ADVANCED SONGCRAFT TOOLS FOR PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS:
Part I
Part II
Part III

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3 thoughts on “Advanced Songcraft Tools for Professional Songwriters, Part IV

  1. […] MORE ADVANCED SONGCRAFT TOOLS FOR PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS: Part I Part II Part IV […]

  2. […] MORE ADVANCED SONGCRAFT TOOLS FOR PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS: Part I Part III Part IV […]

  3. […] MORE ADVANCED SONGCRAFT TOOLS FOR PROFESSIONAL SONGWRITERS: Part II Part III Part IV […]

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