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Writing Tools

The moment you come up with a great new idea for a song is really quite special, and it’s something you really want to seize. I know that I have a habit, which must’ve been acquired very early on, of starting to write and create the moment I pick up any guitar. I used to always tell myself that I had to learn something new each time I picked up my guitar in my formative years, so I suppose this has now carried over to wanting to write something new whenever I play also! There are many great tools to help you in this process, and of course, it’s so critical to be able to record these new ideas while they are fresh.

I find that I come up with many ideas while teaching, and some of these songs have found there way onto my albums, such as “Landscape” which was a specific technique I was teaching one day to a star student of mine. Luckily for me, he was, like many of my students, taping the lesson, so I was able to tell him to be sure to capture the song idea on his tape player. Now I have a recorder so I don’t miss a thing, and so I can even post YouTube videos of my playing, etc. I used to write all kinds of silly-sounding “clues” to my new ideas, such as “groove similar to Buddy Holly’s rhythm guitar”, or “melody in chorus similar to Get off My Cloud”…things like that, which sometimes can do a good job of helping me remember just what it was I was dreaming up. And “dreaming” it is, as sometimes a new song idea can fizzle out just as quickly as that dream you swear you’ll remember in the morning, which immediately fades away!

If you can write music, or even if you just write tablature, I would also recommend trying to take down some of your ideas on paper, so the actual positions you are writing for are documented. Let’s face it, for most of us, what really “nails” a song when we are in the creative mode is a great guitar riff, a “hooky” chord change, or even something as subtle as a voicing on a particular chord or lick that just strikes the right emotional feeling. It’s important that you document, as quickly as possible, this unique little thing that for you makes all the difference in the world.

You just never know where or when the inspiration for writing music will come to you, so you must be prepared, and know how to instantly “critique” your ideas as soon as possible. It’s also important to not just “shelve away” a real spark of an idea, so as to render it fairly “useless” when and if you ever get back to it. It’s important to maintain the “spark” it originally had, so you can continue the inspiration you will need to carry on with it in the proper spirit. So, tune in carefully to your “muse” and know when the creative juices are really flowing. I hope this helps!


Posted: 1/18/2011 10:51:58 PM with Comments | Add Comment | Email Link | Permalink
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