All posts in "Singer-songwriters"

Ten Good Ideas for Effective Songwriting


Here is a entire repost from the blog of David Neff of the Christianity Today Media Group, who took notes on Keith Getty’s session at the 2010 National Worship Conference  (some things are best left as-is, and this piece is a case in point). His blog – Ancient Evangelical Future – is worth a visit. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ Irish songwriter Keith Getty began his workshop Tuesday at the National Worship Leaders Conference by telling those who had come to learn how to write a great worship song to leave. “Because art is the expression of life, you cannot ‘how-to’ creativity.” Getty collaborates with his wife Kristyn and friend Stuart Townend. “They’re the words and I’m the music,” he says, estimating that somewhere between 5 and 20 percent of the words of any of their songs are his. “But we both get involved on both sides.” Here are ten notable and worthwhile ideas edited and distilled from Getty’s workshop comments: 1. The primary form we use is the story form. The gospel is primarily story. How do you take people who want 4-line worship songs and get them to sing 32 lines? By structuring the song as a story. 2. It is important to look at things that are harrowing and that don’t necessarily make us feel happy. The central core of the Christian faith is not something that makes us happy. We need to acknowledge our need for a redeemer. The reason we worship is that we meet God through the central story of the cross. 3. We need lament. But if you want to write lament, remember that a successful lament resolves. Not into a happily-ever-after ending, but like the psalms of lament, by ultimately acknowledging that God is God. 4. To write strong melodies remember that folk melody has to be passed on orally (aurally). I try to write songs that can be sung with no written music. I imitate Irish folk melody, with a great deal of contour, of rise and fall. 5. Use pastors and theologians as resources for your writing. But keep company with them. Don’t just ask them to fix your text here or there when you’re done with it. 6. Trinitarian worship safeguards us from so many problems our worship can get into: either an overly stern view of god or a casual view of god. Both can lead to problems in our lives. 7. Martin Luther is one of ten people from history I would want to have coffee with. I have looked at a lot of Luther’s hymns and emulated him. First, Luther had a high view of redemption. He also believed we live our lives in the midst of spiritual warfare. Thirdly, he had a high view of the church and a high vision of the church. 8. The congregation is the choir and it is merely the privilege of those of us who are musically gifted to help them sing. 9. Lyrics and great writing are the same thing. Lyricism is poetry. If your write lyrics, read as much poetry as you can. Lyricists are people who love words and do crossword puzzles. 10. Growing up, I never listened to pop music as a child. I was steeped in church music. That could be a blessing because everything I write can be sung by a congregation. Repost courtesy of Ancient Evangelical Future


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How to make more time for music-making


Good advice from Nicholas Tozier includes: 1. Disconnect. Power down your computer–or if you absolutely need the thing for some reason related to your practice and studies, sever it from the internet. Switch off your router. Close all unnecessary windows. You might even consider setting up a new user account with a bare-bones desktop and easy access to the tools you need, nothing else. 2. Banish Television. On your deathbed, will you regret not seeing this particular episode of “Generic Man and his Comical Family”? Alright then. 3. Timer. Every day, set a timer for 5-10 minutes. Within that time, work on a particularly mundane task related to your instrument or music theory. This is perfect for memorizing dry material inside and out over a long period of time, in small daily installments. My favorite is # 28:  Stop Hitting Yourself. Full post here.


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1000 true fans


…is all you need, according to Kevin Kelley: A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans. The hard part: The key challenge is that you have to maintain direct contact with your 1,000 True Fans. They are giving you their support directly. Maybe they come to your house concerts, or they are buying your DVDs from your website, or they order your prints from Pictopia. As much as possible you retain the full amount of their support. You also benefit from the direct feedback and love. Author/marketer Seth Godwin calls 1000 fans “a breakthrough opportunity” for artists and songwriters. Consider: What would it take for you to acquire 1000 ‘true fans’? What are you doing now to make that happen?


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Dave Barnes on producer Ed Cash


“If he has like a ninja or superhero quality, it’s definitely his ability to see that one, tiny little spot that’s not filled and put something in it that you’re like, ‘oh my gosh.’ That becomes literally to me as the artist, that literally makes the song.” – singer/songwriter Dave Barnes on producer Ed Cash. To check out Ed Cash and David Barnes creating in the studio, check out this interview from NPR Nashville: Audio stream Mp3 download Transcript Ed assisted in writing two of the three finalists for our Song of the Year, so this is a particularly interesting piece if you’re interesting in songwriting and recording.


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Sara Groves on social justice


The Minneapolis native’s new release, Fireflies and Songs, was profoundly affected by the needs overseas for the poor & disenfranchised: “The phrase ‘social justice’ can be loaded. To some people it is a political or a liberal conversation, but to me, it is a Kingdom conversation. There are people behind these stories and statistics, and God’s heart for justice burns on their behalf. I wanted to write songs that drew attention to the people like Elizabeth who know God deeply because of their suffering. There is a commonality in all of these friends, and that is the perseverance of hope.” You can stream the new release at HearItFirst.com here.


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Matt Redman on songwriting


Very good interview w/British songwriter of “Blessed Be Your Name,” “Better Is One Day” and “Let My Words Be Few” (the younger Robertson shows a good grasp of his subject). Matt earns his plug with comments on: ‘Letting God’s truth steep’ Preparation vs. spontaneity His wife as co-writer Click here to view from CBN.


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