Goodnight Kiss Music (BMI) & Scene Stealer Music (ASCAP)Goodnight Kiss Music (BMI) & Scene Stealer Music (ASCAP)

Today's Topic: Daily Music-Life Enrichment
Mar 7- Mar 13 -- TODAY my issue is ENRICHMENT Of A Music Life.

I promise you that you started writing songs because music touched you somehow in your life... it relieved your pain, expressed your joy, put words or feelings to a rebellious moment. That song or piece of music had something in it that enriched your life (even if only for a short while) and made you feel better somehow. It emotionally reached you, and made you want to share what YOU had inside, and hence, you started writing. You had something to express, and I bet it was emotionally founded.

Hopefully, as we write, we are guided by that same emotion that first inspired us, and keep it as the core, while we use tools like rhyme and structure to refine and make sure it's written as best it can be, so others clearly understand the message, and still feel that emotion. We all know that. Hopefully, as our work touches others' lives, it is enriching their life experience, as well.

I AM SAYING TAKE IT ONE STEP FURTHER. Do you belong to Songwriting Organizations, Associations, or spend a bit of your time in any musician "group" situation, i.e., band, choir, symphony, studio, etc? Are they ENRICHING your musical life? And you, theirs?

Ok, I know this is a bit of "the dawning of the Age of Aquarius" stuff....but, none-the-less, in my life it is an absolute truth. I plan to always have music in my life, personally and professionally. I want a happy life, so the music part has to fit that, also. I refuse to spend considerable time with negative, egotistical, short-sighted peers (we all have to spend SOME time with them, but not much by choice in my case), who are only interested in pushing for cuts. (Let me clarify, a professional writer needs cuts, and it takes a lot of pushing to get one. But most writers, who let this become the criteria for writing, become somewhat bitterly disillusioned with the maintenance of that). The writers and co-writers I love are as happy occasionally wallowing in a Great Song by someone else as they are wallowing in one of their own.

I also believe that it's really fun to mix your love for music or performing in a different "medium," just for the flavor. If you normally sing rock lead, try for a small part in a local musical or play, to stretch your performance skills. If you happen to land the part, push your limits (it's not even your venue, have some fun!). If you normally write lyrics, try writing a simple sing-a-long with "questions and answers" or a short round, then go and present/teach them to a Seniors function. Even for one day. Even only one time. Do you get to sing in the church (insert religious or social affiliation here) you attend? All electric? Cut the power and create an entertaining 3 song vocal medley. All accoustic? Try writing an entertaining song using only drums for accompaniment. Stretch. Live. Try. It's a music life.

Your Songwriter Associations should provide support, as well as critiques. Does anyone ever point out the good parts of your song, as well as what they don't like? Or do you get any feedback at all? Do you walk away from meetings and events feeling better about what you've learned or experienced? Or worse?

If Organizations are charging you dues, they should provide classes by people with working credits, offer ideas and some opportunities (like subscriptions to legitimate Trade Publications for you to access.) They should be growing on (or beyond), the level that you are progressing, when possible. By the same token, you should be contributing in some way besides "dues". Bringing in ideas, and exceptional material, being aware of their political issues, volunteering some time. Lots of organizations would be OVERJOYED to trade you a membership for a small amount of volunteer time. Through shows and events, they should also somehow enrich the quality of your music LIFE, as well as help you plan a path for your songs or career.

Even more importantly in ongoing relationships with your co-writers, your producer, publisher, etc, the giving should be greater than the demands. You should ALL bring ideas to the table. You should share more than "business" talk. Bring in a GREAT classic song you can all enjoy, or an idea that has a fun element to the work side (maybe a piece of performance art with a song for a change of venue if you are a band), something to extend the scope of your music into your life. Listen to each others' experience-stories. Share the emotions. This is what I mean by music enrichment on a life-level. It's NOT just where you can get your song cut, ok? It's living music.

One more note, for those writing county, which sort of applies to the above. My friend, Phil Swan (who gets a lot of cuts in Nashville with the Majors), has a philosophy that says, "The difference between doing business in Los Angeles and in Nashville is... in Los Angeles, we do business and then we might become friends... in Nashville, we become friends and then we might do business..."

At least if you don't get to the business, you still have an extra friend.

Just my opinion.
Janet Fisher


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