The thread where you list something you learned in fawm besides “better songwriting”

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  • @keithcuts Feb 18

    Mine: How to encourage another songwriter even when their genre, style, sound is way different from yours.

    What did you learn?

  • @judypie  Feb 18

    In the last couple of days I learned that volume in a vocal is not the same as power. I feel stoopid.

  • @ustaknow Feb 18

    Every year I always look for what "new" I learned; kinda ran outta instruments... anyway, good question. And glad to see the very worthy comments above. I love authentic insights like that, those, -- good for you-all!

    - I think I "loosened" up a bit more, needed to, which - makes me feel like I've finally learned the "guitar"... a progressive trip where I seek to just pick it up and have music fall from itself with me 😝 or, something like that. (It's a more than Chords and Notes thing.)

  • @cblack  Feb 19

    I learned that with the right attitude, I can make music nearly every day without getting burnt out. Attitude is everything!

  • @bethdesombre  Feb 19

    This year my biggest lesson (though it does fit in with "better songwriting") is to change course if something isn't working. In particular, the thing I've been able to implement this year that is different than in the past is, when I'm fighting with a line that I can't get to work but it needs to be in that format to fit with an earlier line . . . to then go back and get rid of the earlier line, so I can stop fruitlessly struggling with the line I've been struggling with. I'm not entirely sure I've explained it well here, but it's been magical in fixing stuck bits quickly this year -- I don't know why I've been more willing to let go of the thing that was causing the problem and try it a different way, but I'm glad I've adopted this strategy.

  • @metalfoot  Feb 19

    That it's OK to experiment with styles of songwriting, singing, playing outside your norm and comfort zone.

  • @spingo  Feb 19

    That the song is more important and to just upload the damn thing and not to be paralyzed about my near-complete lack of singing technique/talent.

  • @standup  Feb 19

    I feel like I'm getting a lot better at drum programming thanks to FAWM.

  • @eargoggle  Feb 19

    I actually am learning Ableton a bit, which I haven’t really used before, because I’m trying to write songs that have loops

  • @tcelliott  Feb 19

    I've learned that there are places on the internet where completely different people can come together and be creative with *almost* no drama. Simply amazing.

  • @timfatchen  Feb 19

    No matter what disasters, miseries and tragedies might beset me and "get in the way" of writing, there are others in far far worse straits who continue to try--and succeed--nevertheless.

  • @tseaver  Feb 19

    I've learned to be more careful about putting the vocal in the middle of my range: the top and bottom I used to have are much harder to get into, and sound ugly, at least without a ton of warmup I don't have time to do. Oh for the days when I could hit that low C with good tone.

  • @pokerowan  Feb 19

    Feasting is such a good way to get some proper variation in my tracks. If you're writing four or five songs in a row, you don't want them to all sound the same! Great practice for keeping my pieces fresh.

  • @bootlegger Feb 19

    Getting out of my comfort zone.
    Workflow improvements.
    Making arrangements on the fly and committing to sounds.
    Trusting myself.

  • @dudachris Feb 19

    Something I learned from previous FAWMs was how enjoyable it can be to add lyrics to the lyrics only submissions which are open to it. I've not done this yet this year, but, rest assured that I will 😀

  • @bonzo0613 Feb 19

    I've attempted to mess with the EQ of songs to get them to sound a little more interesting. I'll listen back to some and realize how terrible they sound and go in to figure out the bass is peaking the entire time.

    It's a never-ending process.

  • @sapient  Feb 19

    I think I'm finding out how to make major scale progressions sound dark...

  • @torniojaws  Feb 19

    Quality > Quantity 😝

  • @jcooper  Feb 19

    I learned to loosened up on my "standard" in terms of production. I spent less time on arrangements and harmonies. Leaves me with more time for writing 😀 Whether I ever go back and revisit these songs is another story. I also learned that some songs just wont happen. Just let them be. Also agree with @cblack I can write almost everyday without getting burnt out (see above about lowering my "production" standards)

  • @fuzzy  Feb 19

    I've learned that any "rules" in music are really only "suggestions" and that I can do whatever I darn well please with a song. Rules are made to be broken.

  • @pearlmanhattan  Feb 19

    I've learned to listen to what people say without my "fears filter", that most everyone speaks from a well-meaning place, and that I should not throw rocks first and ask questions later.

  • @owl  Feb 19

    Quantity -> Quality

    If every tenth song you write is killer but you never make it past song #9, you might never write that masterpiece.
    (Hmm, I should really write more outside of February...)

  • @spinhead Feb 19

    @owl I write year round these days, which is why I'm FAWMing less this year. I try to crank out songs in batches, often finding a couple funny duds and one, sometimes two, good enough to perform and polish.

    I truly believe quantity —> quality if you do it right.

  • @nikke88  Feb 19

    Healthy amount of outdoor activities makes writing/creating stuff way easier. Being perky instead of tired down makes inspiration visit more frequently, because you are at the moment and concentrated on what you are doing instead of day-dreaming while holding an instrument.

  • @the3queens  Feb 19

    Writing even when I'm too busy. Finding time in my schedule.

  • @the3queens  Feb 19

    Writing even when I'm too busy. Finding time in my schedule.

  • @robotkitten  Feb 20

    I'm learning about my own process. Before this I usually either wrote new lyrics to existing songs, or wrote settings for existing lyrics. Now I'm finding that for me, it's almost always easiest to start with lyrics. I can sometimes start from a melody, but find it much easier to write a melody if I have at least one line of lyrics already. I've tried starting from chords and it's completely alien to me.

  • @shadow1 Feb 21

    This is my second year in FAWM and my first focusing on such writing. I am learning how to write under time constraints, as well as writing for someone other than myself.

  • @leomozi  Feb 21

    It’s harder to write lyrics without rhyming, oddly enough. I guess the rhyme gives me a helpful way of limiting my options so I can’t be as picky.

    Echoing what @nikke88 said, I come up with good stuff when I’m running.

  • @fearlessflight2014  Feb 21

    So much- logic keyboard shortcuts, that I need to keep my tongue and jaw loose if I want a higher note to have good tone, that near rhymes sound more natural than perfect rhymes, not to restrict my imagination, be brave about asking people I admire to collaborate.

  • @corinnecurcio Feb 21

    I learned that sometimes, mistakes work better than what you intended. A wrong chord can take you to more interesting places than the one you thought belonged there.

  • @dasbinky  Feb 21

    Songwriting-wise, I've re-learned that writing for voices and perspectives other than your own opens up a wide range of possibilities. In isolation, we're our own echo chambers.

    Non-musically I've learned, or again re-learned, that I can't burn the candle at both ends for weeks straight without physical and mental consequences. I've learned to respect what body and mind tell me when they say it's time to stop.

  • @ampersandman  Feb 21

    Everytime I mix a song I am learning, and I am more and more pleased with my results as well as my ability to do mixes. Less guesswork, more intentional moves.

  • @flutterby42 8 weeks

    I learned how to be more creative with chords and chord progressions, simply by switching to piano from guitar.

  • @spinhead 8 weeks

    @leomozi I'm getting comfortable with non-rhyming. But you're right, making it still sound musical instead of speaking-to-music is tricky.

  • @jmadison  8 weeks

    This is my second FAWM. Last year and this year both, I decided to -not- read the news during February.

    I've learned that I'm not missing anything. And, if it's big enough news to matter, I'll find out when someone tells me.

  • @mikedebenham  8 weeks

    I just discovered that I can sing low notes better after eating dinner. Which makes no sense. Probably a coincidence.

  • @donna  8 weeks

    I’ve learned a great deal in my 10 years doing FAWM, but four things that spring immediately to mind:

    By about my second or third FAWM (and 5090) I’d learned to leap over my own shadow and to own my feelings/thoughts. No more hiding behind third-person POV (he/she/it) in my lyrical storylines. I became able to bare my soul in first-person narratives.

    Shy by nature, I’d never have dared sing my own lyrics, even though I often had a melody. However… before long, I was warbling away and posting a crappellas without any qualms. 😉 It was wonderful.

    Prior to joining FAWM, my habit when writing a lyric had been to spend ages coming up with just the first draft. Thanks to the amazing skirmishes, I found I was able to create a passable first draft within an hour – occasionally even in a much shorter time.

    Stepping outside my comfort zone in terms of theme/genre. Everything became possible, from rap to Goth to heavy metal, and of course all the in-betweens: jazz, blues, country, folk, ad infinitum.

  • @balancelost  8 weeks

    A bit nerdy, but I learned amp simulator plug-ins can sound as good as actual amps.

    Beyond that, rediscovering that finishing off the crap ideas cam result in gold, and the more you write the better you get although not necessarily in a straight line.

    One negative thing I learned is that I'm becoming worse at collaboration, or that I don't want to collaborate. If anyone has any suggestions regarding this I'm open to them.

  • @godsmonkey  8 weeks

    Work fast, don't overthink.

    I also learned after my third year, not to go in with a plan. Every year, the music drags me in a totally different direction than I want to go.

  • @airbagtester  8 weeks

    FAWMing was easier before kids when I was invincible.

  • @thelostcartographer  7 weeks

    I learned that I like the way I write in the gothic metal genre, and I'd like to explore that a bit more.

  • @rkeeling75 7 weeks

    I learned that there is still a place on the internet where people can be nice, positive and supporting. For me that has been the biggest and best thing I have taken from FAWM. Thank you all.

  • @haim  7 weeks

    I learned that I can put my feelings into the paper when I'm feeling down, thanks to fellow fawmers @leomozi especially. I always put my feelings down but lately I forgot the power of it. Though sometimes it just makes the feeling stronger. I've just finished writing an emotional song and it didn't helped me at all...

  • @robynmackenzie  7 weeks

    I've learned that I really like making electropop and I've also learned more skills with which to do so! I also learned that you don't have to be in a specific headspace just to write a song. When you're trying to crunch 'em out you have to write some weeeeird stuff sometimes. Or at least I did.

  • @itoarazi 7 weeks

    I learned that I need to actually check the damn forums for skirmishes. I've yet to be successful in that, due to time constraints or other nonsense. 😝

  • @spinhead 7 weeks

    @rkeeling75 Groovy.

  • @erikleppen 7 weeks

    I'm still figuring out the program I use (Reaper), and this FAWM I worked with envelopes for a few songs, so I used some buttons I hadn't touched before.

    Also, that using dissonants, unexpected notes and non-traditional chords (or, in general, doing things that don't seem to make sense right away), can often make a song better and more interesting.

  • @tsunamidaily 7 weeks

    here at the end of FAWM, i learned that i have been chronically dehydrated since my surgery this past summer. my blood pressure was 80/40 at the cardiologist's yesterday, and they pumped 2 bags of fluid into me before they let me leave. the doctor eliminated the 2 diuretics i was on and halved by blood pressure medicine. for the 4 months i have been working, i have slept every minute i was not at work. it has been a drag instead of a joy, getting my music room together, and the simple act of bending down and standing back up has resulted in me just about passing out, because my blood pressure has been too low. the tips of my toes were pink when i took a bath today, instead of dull purple! i just thought i was going to have to adjust to a lower energy level in life after my bypass surgery, but it turns out something was dreadfully wrong. i have had a virtual failure of a FAWM this month because of this. now i can look forward to 50/90 and assume i will have much better energy. i apologize to everyone because i failed to engage this month, by and large, because of my energy level. i'll see some of you this summer!

  • @blueone 7 weeks

    I feel like I've learnt to embrace the upper part of my vocal register. I've really noticed an improvement from the constant singing I've done all month, and oddly feel more comfortable up there than where I usually sing.

  • @sherrycanary  7 weeks

    I got into the Forums more and did more challenges that I might have missed if I didn't check them out.
    I learned that as many risks as I took this year,I still haven't done Morph or Exquisite Corpse ( which sounds like writing Vampire songs, but I know it isn't) or Anti-Sin. Maybe next FAWM I will nothing but challenges 😀 ( and collabs)

  • @spingo  7 weeks

    @tsunamidaily Glad you/they figured it out and you're feeling better!

    @robynmackenzie The weeeeird crunch stuff is by far my favorite. I'm trying to learn to bring skirmishes with me wherever I go.

    I've realized that I can move faster than I expected, esp. when I'm just doing a voice and guitar demo into a voice memo. I finished a surprising amount of skirmishes early, and there were a handful that were easily 20 minutes to get down. That's nuts and I'm a little proud!

    The quality is about the same as previous, so it's not that, just that I'm figuring out how I work and it's getting smoother.

  • @spingo  7 weeks

    @erikleppen I'm trying to add some "sour" notes and chords to my stuff on purpose too -- 9th chords are too fancy for me, but a completely wrong Am seems to fit me much better. I'm a big fan of Marc Ribot's guitar with Tom Waits, and there's weird stank on a bunch of his solos and I love it. Also, reading Andy Partridge of XTC talking about songwriting, he's very clear on how much he loves surprise and when a song doesn't go where you're expecting and I'm trying to internalize some of that.

    @spinhead I never paid much attention to not-rhyming until I started listening to the Weakerthans, a band I like a lot, and saw that they didn't rhyme. I hadn't even noticed.

  • @keithcuts 7 weeks

    @tsunamidaily feel better best of luck! 💧💦💧💦

  • @rainchaser  7 weeks

    On your first two songs, make it a feast. It takes the load off your shoulders, and you don't have to deal with the dreaded "first song" syndrome.

    Don't spend too much time on recording, it's best to get it out as quick as you can.

    When switching keys, make sure you don't start with the chord that you used to start the verse parts with! Lol

    Give your dummy lyrics a try, you'll never know, it may inspire a new song!

    Sometimes leaving a chord progression unresolved can sound good, try it!

  • @factorytale 7 weeks

    that people are VERY different, and have different approaches to this fawm thing, which is potentially a good thing. I also learned that it becomes boring to yourself, others if you walk on the same track all the time, here you should challenge yourself to try out a lot of different things, not just keep writing the same old you always end up writing. And that I´m gonna miss you here when it´s over <3

  • @pearlmanhattan  7 weeks

    @rainchaser re: when changing keys - magical mystery modulations are fun
    ... those are the ones where you not only don't know where you're going, but you also have no idea where you been!! Happy fawm.

  • @sfparadox 7 weeks

    I learned that I can challenge myself and get 14 songs if I do t worry about having perfection. Also getting to work with @driftwood1 and @downfallroad has helped me to understand more of how to put a song together more than just playing chords.

  • @downfallroad  7 weeks

    I learned that @sfparadox is my muse. Also to keep my fridge stocked for @driftwood1. I learned that @fulanin & @sapient will one day write the badess of badass riffs. I also learned what the de-esser plugin does.

  • @mkd  7 weeks

    @tsunamidaily I'm so glad for you that that got found out and you can be on a path to feeling better real soon!

    For me, FAWM this year has taught me tenacity (and that I have it!)...

    My pattern this year was:
    5 songs written in the first 5 days
    3 at random points over the following 21 days...

    Then yesterday I figured - "c'mon girl, you can do this!" - and I wrote:

    4 songs in one day,
    and the final 2 today.

    I have worked so hard for this year's win alongside everything else that has been happening in Feb for me. I now know that anything can be within my grasp, if I set my mind to it.

  • @leepat  7 weeks

    - trust the process (4am lyrics may not be the best, but the ideas can be, if you pursue them)
    - reach out (I finished lyrics, and got lyrics improved thanks to contacting others; even people not replying proved fruitful)
    - limit your time (happens automatically when others are waiting on you)
    - real life is a bitch (but we all knew that)

  • @seemanski  7 weeks

    I've learnt that you don't have to spend hours stressing over a perception of what sounds great. You can just knock something up and it is OK. It's more important for me to spend time with my little girl, but it doesn't mean I have to miss out.

  • @elainedimasi  7 weeks

    I learned that I really can get out of practice (having sat out last year, plus doing things that had to change me, after completing every FAWM from 2008 to 2017).

    I still don't know whether I'm out of practice using instruments, or out of practice ~understanding~ that there's a month of the year when every musical output - mine, and yours! - is as golden as the most golden thing, for over 2200 people who agree about that!

  • @chrishope 7 weeks

    great thread... even when not feeling it most of the month, FAWM, the forums is such a great help and any connection a joy

  • @plog  7 weeks

    I was actually capable of writing 14 electronic compositions that are complicated. Some of the best tracks were done so quickly. My least faves took a long time. It was just the ability to finish a goal, and do it gracefully. Surprised myself. Looking forward to 2020.

  • @smileymn 7 weeks

    It’s a different challenge to use other people’s lyrics to write music for, honestly in certain ways it takes the pressure off and makes it slightly easier

  • @siebass 7 weeks

    I learned I can sketch out a song really darn quick if I use many defaults in Garage Band.

  • @evinwolverton  7 weeks

    Some notes-to-self collected over the month:
    — Unplug the router and turn on rainstorm sounds until you have a completed lyric. Take a break. Do it again until you have a completed song.
    — Use a rhyming dictionary to map out at least 5 viable options for the most important phrases in a song. I can't believe how many cliche bullets I've dodged by doing this.
    — Doing just 7 minutes of high intensity interval training at any point in the day makes my vocal control about 200% better when it's time to record.
    — Pee is stored in the balls.

  • @paulhenry  7 weeks

    This was a good fawm in several ways. As far as non-songwriting-related learning, well, I switched my studio over from MacOS to Linux. I was worried that the learning curve would slow me down so much that I wouldn't finish. So I learned a lot about my new DAW and was able to produce decent enough simple recordings to move through the month with alacrity.

  • @spinhead 7 weeks

    @evinwolverton I was with you till the last item. Was not aware of this. Seems medically unlikely but I've never questioned your knowledge of biology before now, have I? (Especially like #2, which is NOT a bodily function reference, it's about the rhyming bullet.)

  • @phoenixash 7 weeks

    I learned how to appreciate a good composition no matter how wildly different it is from what I'm used to. This one is for you rappers.

    And also not to get so caught up in being perfect

  • @leomozi  7 weeks

    The notion that my depression would be cured if I could go back in time and pursue a career in music when I was in my 20s. Several of the pros on here seem to have just as much trouble with self-doubt and regret as I do. That said, at least their depression is making more of a creative impact on the world than mine. 😉

  • @madeline 7 weeks

    I learned to know thyself. Don't put off writing something down that's floating around in my head. Don't hesitate to record a song as I'm working it out, even if I don't post it right away. I find that when playing it through once and then recording the next take I play it differently than the first time, and I can't always replicate the non-recorded take.

  • @spinhead 7 weeks

    @leomozi My depression improves dramatically when I'm creating art, and it devolves into ugly things when I'm not. So, I work on my mystery and scifi novels every day, and write or play music every day.

  • @cherok40  7 weeks

    I learned about how much more I have to learn myself by listening to all the amazing tracks / songs that were uploaded here during February. Truly inspiring and also a bit scary. 😀

  • @ductapeguy 7 weeks

    I learned enough of open G tuning for this old folks to approximate the vibe of a bad Stones over band. RAWk!

  • @ductapeguy 7 weeks


  • @leomozi  7 weeks

    @spinhead, it’s excellent that you create every day. My brother is a visual artist, and he said the best advice any of his professors ever gave him was simply to paint or draw every single day. I need to focus more on enjoying the music that I am playing and writing, and less on how I wish I were doing bigger things with it.

  • @tiller2  7 weeks

    I learned I can find a lyric in someone else's music and that's a fruitful way of collaborating.

  • @spinhead 7 weeks

    @leomozi The ritual, the persistence, habit, is part of the value. Even when I'm struggling, but I can't sit down and play right now, I KNOW that I'll be playing later today, or first thing tomorrow, and it helps.

  • @scottlake  7 weeks

    I helped out a couple of folks begging for music for their lyrics. This is kind of scary territory because it’s like you are babysitting their precious child and you don’t want to put any of you seemingly bad habits into their work. It’s also quite time consuming, but the reward is reading their notes of thanks. It’s a much different thing than piling up comments on your own compositions. I wish my own songs had more listens, but I’m finding this composing to lyrics very rewarding. I even left several of my own lyrics only songs orphaned without music (and higher comment rallies as a result) to pursue the addition of music to others’ words. I can always add music to my static lyrics some time later, but there is something special gifting music to the receiver in this way. If you haven’t tried it, their are probably hundreds or maybe even a thousand lyrics only songs here in March that are looking for some love.

  • @fulanin 6 weeks

    What I learned is less of a songwriting/producing thing and more of a productivity thing.
    I had no preparation whatsoever for this, so I was kinda clueless on what to do. I learned that I should take the first days (or the last days of January) to prepare myself and write down what I'm aiming towards. Maybe come up with a concept to follow, make a schedule or whatever, just make some guidelines.
    It was an awesome experience and I can't wait for next year. Btw, my first goal for next year is to make a complete collab with @sapient

    @downfallroad - thanks for the words! There are more riffs to come, for sure.

  • @sapient  6 weeks

    Yes, @fulanin! Let's do it!

    One thing I only just learned, and quite by accident, is that the FAWM site behaves differently on my phone if I tip it into landscape view... Suddenly the time appears when I play songs, and the edit / report abuse options appear next to song comments and forum posts!
    It's taken me like four years to find this out... 😝

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