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Write A Song -the Non-judgmental Attitude
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Write A Song -the Non-judgmental Attitude

I shudder to think at all the musical masterpieces that have been swept up into the dustbin of creativity by the overly self-critical artist. Harshly critiquing your work is almost never the way to bring out the best music in you. Writing great music takes time, practice and quite likely, lots of misses before the 'hits' start to flow.

John Lennon didn't just pick up a guitar one day and start humming a tune that turned out to be"Twist and Shout." No, Lennon's masterpieces were the end results of a prolonged creative process. Lennon had been jamming for years, imitating his favourite Blues artists and writing painfully unoriginal tunes before discovering his own unique voice. (That growl that you hear in the original recording, by the way, was due to a cold he was nursing at the time of the session).

Consider this quote by songwriter Adam Duritz:

"For me, songwriting is like breathing. It's a natural function."

Whether you're taking a deep, full abdominal breath or not, you will still breath. Songwriting should be the same way. Slow natural and uninterrupted.

There is one rule of thumb when sitting down to write a song: Just do it and don't sensor yourself! Sensoring yourself will interrupt the emotional outpooring that fuels awesome music.

Let's say, you sit down to write a song and what ends up coming out is a three chord didyy that sounds exactly like about 50 other pop songs you've heard before. You're ready to throw in the towel and you label yourself 'a hack!'

Stop. Stop labelling and judging. Record the song. Keep it. Love it. Cherish it! Refer back to it. This is a piece that was meant to come out of you, a stage in your artistic development. Consider it, if you must, one mighty swipe at the jungled tangle of external influences that both conceals your creative potential.

Write a song and, no matter what, honor what comes out. Then keep writing as often as possible.

This kind of carefree, non-judgmental attitude can be so difficult when it comes to our own work. Why? It has to do with the expectations we have of ourselves, the fragile ego and lack of confidence that plague artists. Consider it, as well, an occupational hazard of the work you do. Work that that expresses the inner recesses of who you are and constatnly puts you level of 'talent' (more on talent in another article) to the test.

The important thing really, and I can't stress it enough, is not to get discouraged. Just write a song and suspend all judgement. Laugh at and enjoy the process. Let this be the way you approach all your writing.

Excercise: Pick 3 common chords, say, G C & D. Write a song with 2 verses and a chorus. Then just let go. Never mind the end result. Be aware of what it feels like to be detached from the final product.

Enjoy your piece and see only its amusing and enjoyable points. Do not judge the relative qualities of the song. Do not ask yourself "Is it good?" "Can it sell?" "Does it sound like any other songs?" Just be proud you started something you finished.

This approach will make the songwrting process more relaxed and help build your confidence.

Stay tuned for more articles on the technical side of things like how to choose chords, how to make a chorus fit with the verse and writing lyrics.

Until then,

Happy Writing!!


Street Talk

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