Back in early March, food blog Eat North gave me the opportunity to shout out a few of the local businesses I love so much in my hometown of Uxbridge, Ontario. Now that we are once again in a state of ‘lockdown’ in this province, I encourage you to support these businesses by ordering take out, or curb-side pick up during this challenging time. Our local establishments need us more than ever! Check out the write up here
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!
Here is my submission for Assignment 2:
(with a little tip from our SAC mentor Debra Alexander on How To Format Lyrics)
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
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
I wanted to express my thoughts about Wonder Women VI, while I’m still warm with the energy that rose from the stage of talented artists ranging from singer songwriters, to spoken word, to visual artists, to stand up comedians. It felt like the intensity grew as the evening progressed and emotional waves washed over us with every new performance, audience and artists knit together, lifted each other up and roared with empowerment. This day, International Women’s Day we celebrated our differences and common ground, this day we celebrated our strengths and our weaknesses, this day we embraced each other as mothers, daughters, friends, lovers, and independent artists. It was an incredible culmination of strength, conviction and love, and I was honoured to participate and bear witness.
A mountain of gratitude must be erected for the awe-inspiring commitment and enthusiasm of Arlene Paculan and Kat Leonard towards a week of successful concerts and free workshops, and the grand finale that was International Women’s Day and the Wonder Women Concert to spread empowerment through art!
Check out the full gamut of awesome performers that made this event a huge success!
For the next six weeks I will embark on a free online songwriting course run by Coursera and led by the master himself Pat Pattison. Not only am I eager to immerse myself in the course curriculum, but equally so to engage with the Songwriters Association of Canada community by blogging about our experience.
I’ve been following Pat Pattison’s school of thought when it comes to Writing Better Lyrics for a few years now with a few editions of his book under my belt. He has much to share that I can take into practice as I develop my songwriting skill set.
My songwriting journey is relatively fresh, having writing just over 30 songs (most of them in the last year) and often I feel like I’m sitting down with my guitar for the first time. I’m almost halfway through a commitment I began last October to write one song a week for a year, and I feel like some new inspiration and focused reinforcement of key principals will leverage my songwriting and help me tell more engaging stories that connect people to the songs.
There is much that I am looking forward to delving into over the next few weeks, but most of all connecting with my fellow songwriters, learning about what inspires them and how they take on doing the work that is songwriting.
Let’s get started!