SAC Songwriting and Blogging Challenge 2013 – Week 2

Okay so this online songwriting course with Pat Pattison is in full swing, and after another set of great video lectures on Prosody, we are tasked with this weeks assignment to come up with an unstable verse that leads into a stable chorus primarily using number of lines and line length.

[excerpt:] Prosody, the most important concept in great writing: All the elements of your song should work together to support the song’s central message and emotion. Prosody will make your song stronger and more focused, using structure and phrasing to highlight important ideas, and deepen emotional impact — techniques that have helped Pat’s students, including John Mayer and Gillian Welch, win Grammys and write number one songs.

I chose to continue with the song idea i developed during week one’s assignment using the song title “The Good Old Days” with the influence of a song idea i had for “Horses, Harley’s and Hard Times”. I tell you these last two weeks lectures and exercises have rejuvenated my approach to songwriting, and (to my delight) fuelled me to develop the rest of this song! Now I am certain I’m going to find more and more ways to make it stronger as these lessons continue to sink in, but so far I’m pleased with my progress. (I even took these strategies into a co-writing session this afternoon to revive a song that was stuck, and boy oh boy I cannot wait to continue where that session left off.)

For the assignment I used the Who, What, Where, When, Why, How, to keep me on track as I flushed out my verses and chorus,  and was mindful of the POV while I wrote and rewrote new options. Picking up the guitar and discovering a melody for both chorus and verse was like… wow where did that come from?! (insert iPhone recording here so I wouldn’t forget it) Then I took another crack at singing my verse/chorus ideas to the melody… verse: stable? stable? unstable!… ahhh chorus… stable! Note here that i believe i tend to lean towards stability in my writing, and in the past if I managed to write something unstable it was a fluke! Well. No more!!

I should mention that my AWESOME (wait till you meet him) co-writing partner is also taking this course, and we were totally over the moon in our session today at how these tools made us more focused and productive. I’m also looking forward to examining my catalogue of songs ‘in development’ with these new tools in week three.

So now its on to further tweaking of my lyrics (i know, no need to be perfect) and recording Assignment 2 for submission! I’m telling you people, if you are not signed up for this course it’s not too late. check it out  here 🙂 and lets toast to your next song!

Happy writing!

Here is my submission for Assignment 2:
(with a little tip from our SAC mentor Debra Alexander on How To Format Lyrics)

[unstable verse]
I remember climbing to the top of this hill
on the backside of my steed
never knowing if all this hard work
would break me

[stable chorus]
The good old days are on my mind
The good old days and the hard times
I’d trade in every one
For one more setting sun

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12 Comments

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  1. Hi there 🙂 I know exactly what you mean when you say Pat’s course has rejuvenated your songwriting…I feel like I’m seeing the craft with new eyes, looking at things I wasn’t aware of before. Hopefully I can bring my insight into my next co-writing session too!

  2. Thanks Tania, that’s sweet of you, and I think you did a great job of making an unstable verse and a stable chorus. It’s not just correct, it’s good, and I like the way the verse ends with a lower “stresses” count than you expect from the expectations you set up first. It propels us to your chorus very nicely. Well done!

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