The more "serious" I take my song writing, the more ... ... ?

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  • @ustaknow Mar 16

    ... the more serious others seem to. I've really noticed that, though anecdotal and contextually based.

    I had one of my "almost famous" friends in his Drum Class tell me a while ago, -- a "kid" comes in during a "Parents Recital" ( 😀 ) , just bangs away, and not very "well". HOWEVER, this kid, so enthusiastic, telling all, "you just gotta hear what I can do", -- made everyone love him, listen and expect he "will" be a drummer (famous or not, irrelevant), some day soon. ("Liked" more than the more advanced "kids")

    -- Well, again, in real life things go sideways up/down, who knows. However, no one really likes "to much" self deprecation, especially if you do not, (*not), really suck. Ever notice that? More and more, over the years in many contexts, I have.

    I could expand, way to much on this, but won't. I "guess" my point is, -others experience on this (?), and -encouragement (?) to others.

    It's truly freeing to just "play", period, and know, really, someone, all (?), really enjoy with you, --really! 😝

  • @tiller2  Mar 16

    In an interview I read, B.B. King told of how, after he first tried to make it in NYC, an experienced pro took him aside and said, "There are people sweeping floors here who can play better than you. But only you can be B.B."

    Personality is irreplaceable.

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 16

    I agree...the band I'm in right now, The GERiatriX, three Ukes...
    Well...we really aren't' very good...and people love us! I, in all honesty think we kinda suck...nothing fancy..but we have those Ukes, we smile our asses off, goof around a bit, involve the audience..and people love us...
    I studied acting in college, and lots of musical I do that..big bright faces!!!!
    The open mic nights have lots of levels of people..
    The ones that engage the audience...they are the goods ones..
    Remember you've there to entertain...draw people in...

  • @steviez  Mar 16

    @cynthiawolff You nailed the open mic thing perfectly. I'm a mediocre guitar player and singer at best, and from years of doing open mics I've noticed one thing that is constant - the people that just get up and play but don't try to engage the audience, no matter HOW technically great they may be, go by unnoticed or quickly forgotten. What I lack in technical proficiency I make up for in on-stage 'performance', and people seem to really enjoy my performances because of it. To paraphrase what @tiller2 said in his BB King quote - "Only I can be me" 😀 And, as @ustaknow pointed out, people DON'T like too much self-deprecation - I've seen performers actually make a crowd uncomfortable because all they did was talk about 'how much they suck' etc and they just completely bring a room down.

  • @roddy  Mar 16

    @tiller2 "There are people sweeping floors here who can play better than you. But only you can be B.B."
    Thanks for this quote, it's really great.

  • @klaus  Mar 17

    I took some singing lessons five years ago. 12 people in a classroom and everybody took turns singing in front of the class and teacher gave feedback in front of everybody. While others were singing I noticed lots of technical issues: " Oh, he's pushing his voice. Oh, she sings with too much head voice. Oh, his breathing technique is not good...." But some singers had this ability to sing with genuine feeling. And those singers were always a pleasure to listen no matter how "badly" they sang. They were just singing with their own voice. You can always learn the technical stuff- more or less. But to get into that emotionally open and vulnerable place where "magic" happens seems to depend more on the character or temperament of the singer.

    And I guess the same goes for songwriting. 😀

  • @audrey  Mar 17

    Good points everyone. I rarely do open mics because of bad stage fright, and I'll usually say something to that effect before performing. Pretty self deprecating eh? Lol. After reading what you guys have said, I guess I'll stop doing that. As for singing with feeling, I agree Klaus. It makes a big difference, so much so that you may not even notice the odd flat note. But I think lyric has a lot to do with it. A lyric a singer connects with is usually much easier to sing and is way more powerful.

  • @ustaknow Mar 17

    Yes, this self deprecation I've seen addressed, however rarely, other places. -- It's great to positively connect, walk into a song. Some call it stagecraft. Remember, this has a lot to do with folks who especially do not "suck", so to speak. To many folks have been exposed to "not liking their style of music", which is not the same as, "you suck". They mis-heard, or were wrongly reviewed. This was the biggest issue with, e.g., peer grading in the early Berkley online, coursera classes. It's gotten better from the early days. (Unsure how it is now. But then we prefaced to grade the rubric fulfillment, not "like".) Anyway...

    If you "set up" your Set with, "I suck"... people are now positioned that way, predisposed, mentally, emotionally. They hear it Framed that way. They may have otherwise enjoyed their self.

    I remember my wife tasted something, and then went on about how bad it was. Then she offered it to me for a taste 😝 --no.

    Now had she just said nothing, even, and then asked for what I thought, well...

    -- It's an interesting view of reality, and how it's perceived, affected.

    I think the more seriously we take this craft, and then do our best to authentically communicate it, the better off we are, or are received.

    In that regard, Busking, can be quite validating, -- total strangers stop and listen. That's as validating as it gets, imo. Some even drop money.

  • @billwhite51 Mar 18

    a very famous blues guitarist once told me, the only difference between me and you is that you are tied down to a woman who keeps you in one place, and im never home because im out there playing music in every corner of the world. nobody is ever going to know who you are if you spend your life at home.

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 19

    Again I say...practice your songs and memorize open mics!!
    I am scared doing them but if I memorize the songs my hands at least know what to do..type up your lyrics (big) and put chords in...set that down on the music stand..they are there if you fall apart...laugh at yourself, make a joke if you make a mistakeI say something like Hey what just happened? People laugh! Puts them at ease and then I continue...don't start from the beginning!! EVeryone is as scared as you...look around at your audience...rejoice in the feeling of accomplishment that you feel afterwards... It does get easier!!

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 19

    Oh and be yourself!!!!! Find your own voice!! In many open mics, many of the "kids" copy the latest band singer... Then they all sound the, boring!! It's the odd voice the one with character..if you can't sing really well learn your instrument...record yourself and critique it afterwards... Some OM do a Periscope live broadcast...very helpful!!!
    Be the best you!!! Get good and practice!

  • @brrrse  Mar 19

    The more I practice music, the more I write stuff that blows me away. The more you work the better you get!

  • @chipwithrow  Mar 19

    @brrrse - I love that you feel that way about your songs! I get that way, too, sometimes - "Wow - I wrote that?!"
    As a performer, I can usually find at least one person who is listening (often it's only one) and really sell the song. When I feel like no one is listening, that's when it's fun to try to drop something into the set that makes at least one person take notice. I don't lack for confidence in my performing ability.
    @billwhite51 - "No one is ever going to know who you are if you spend your life at home" is a fantastic line for a song. And excellent advice. By the time I became truly engaged in songwriting and performing, I was 36 with a wife, a young child, a house, and a good, steady job.
    I do like performing as a solo acoustic guy. And I've been able to play just enough gigs to satisfy my performer's ego. I wonder what might have been if I had started at 20, or even 30. I like to think I could have been an OK wandering troubadour.

  • @johnstaples  Mar 19

    Some really great advice on this thread!! But not as easy to follow as it sounds! 😀 Takes practice and constantly reminding yourself to be entertaining and not stiff or apologetic! And @cynthiawolff is so correct about having your lyrics handy whether or not you end up needing them. I cannot tell you how many times I have stepped up to the mic to sing a song I've known for 40 years and suddenly forget how it starts! One last thought about having your lyrics with WILL be strongly tempted to use them as a crutch and look at them throughout your set instead of engaging the audience! So try to use them only as a guide or emergency!

  • @jamkar  Mar 19

    Good point John. I have seen professionals read from pages. Does that distract the listener. BTW I am in that group!

  • @johnstaples  Mar 19

    @jamkar I think the key is to learn to use the aid without it being obvious to the audience. I learned recently that major performers like Springsteen, McCartney, Elton, etc., use a teleprompter during their concerts! It floored me for a minute but then when I thought about it it makes sense! They have to perform so many times on a tour and play so many different songs and at every show we are expecting a close to flawless performance. They have to use all the tools available to deliver!

    I don't perform much but if I did I would try using a tablet (iPad or Android or whatever you have) with a mic stand clip and some cheap teleprompter software. Clip the tablet up close to the mic and no one will even notice you have lyrics! No turning pages or struggling to read tiny print. And you can adjust the timing of the scroll to match the tempo of your songs!

  • @cynthiawolff  Mar 20

    Yes @johnstaples !!, I want to check into this..
    Performed my Shotgun Wedding yesterday at my Uke clubs anniversary party...oh man!! overcome with emotion which didn't do much for my voice..that's what happenes when the song is yours and you expose yourself...I practically started to cry!! Not good but peeps said it was an emotional experience!!, haha

  • @lvgd09 Mar 20

    The more "serious" I take my song writing, the more work I put into it. For example, I have this verse and chorus. It needs an Intro (repeating intro), bridge, truck driver gear shift (key change), and, sadly, better lyrics and better singing. The more "serious" I take my song writing, the more pressure and production blocks I run into. However, the less serious I take my songwriting, the less chance that anybody would like my songs. A song needs good lyrics and good music before it can become a good track. That said, I've been known to just post a music only track I made up during the challenge. The common reason why is I just wanted to mess with my music gear, and or I can't get the other parts I mentioned. It is NOT easy singing songs.....around here.

  • @jamkar  Mar 20

    Great suggestion John. Integrate technology into our performances.

  • @audrey  Mar 20

    I hear you @lvgd09 , to be a good songwriter, there are just sooo many skills to learn and improve - from writing a good lyric that rhymes while avoiding cliches, to ear training, to learning about chord progressions and music theory, to leaning to play your instrument well, not to mention how to sing well, and all this before learning the technical skills of recording and posting online. Whew! I suppose it can all come naturally if you're born into a musical family or start in a garage band in high school, but for the rest of us.... Don't get me wrong. I'm not complaining at all. I'm just so glad I discovered how much I love doing this, albeit later in life. And I find the thought exciting that I can improve by studying the craft more.

  • @audrey  Mar 20

    This is a great thread. So many helpful tips, especially from @cynthiawolff and @johnstaples . Thank you @ustaknow for starting this forum.

  • @jamkar  Mar 21

    @audry I get the feeling that it is like many endeavors. Loads of work, followed by doubts, and struggling to understand. And then sudden and periodic "ah ha" moments when all those things converge and click.

  • @chipwithrow  Mar 21

    Interesting takes above on whether to use a lyric sheet or not. I know plenty of performers now use those tablet mounts on or near their mic stands - those seem unobtrusive. Having your lyrics/chord changes noticeably in front of you is fine, I guess, for an open mic because your purpose could be to try out and work through new material.
    I like to have everything memorized for a performance, but occasionally I glance at a lyric sheet set on a stool next to me. If I forget words to songs I know, sometimes I go back and repeat a verse ... with feeling.
    Even with my general lack of stage fright, I'm still pretty self-critical. I leave every performance wishing I had done a few things differently.

  • @ustaknow Mar 22

    The best use of iPads I've seen is when using a URL to a song library where, e.g., i.e., a praise and worship team gets lead sheets for that weeks new songs. Last minute changes are easy, and etc. and if you have e.g. 150 - 300 songs, well, derUgo 😀

    Additionally, I noticed a few years ago, the stage monitors were not speakers. Having ear buds... I then had a look and saw, it's a teleprompter. It made me feel far less concerned about what it do. Then, I started seeing many small venues have flat out, heavy steel sheet music stands, every where but the lead singer, unless was a singer songwriter. From what I observe, most audiences don't have a clue anyway about many things. So that didn't make a difference. I do not play for an audience of new "musicians" anyway.
    -- Depending on country Region, *reaction/engagement, is another forum topic I put up elsewhaere here, a while ago. 😀

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