Songwriting Beginners - Announcing a New One-Stop-Shop and Web Site from

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Pablo Picasso is widely quoted as having said 'Bad artists copy. Great artists steal'. What did he really mean? Was he really saying that in the world of great art literally anything goes and that copying and theft is OK? Of course not. It is neither legal nor acceptable to the vast majority of the buying public who will very quickly vote with their feet when confronted with an obvious and unoriginal rip-off!

Great art has to be at once appealing and novel to stand any chance of commercial success. All great artists including songwriters such as Bob Dylan have been influenced by who and what has gone before. But to be successful the songwriter must be discriminating about their application of convention so that the buying public can recognise the type of music that they like whilst being stimulated by its originality.

'Let's write a swimming pool'. This (allegedly) is what John Lennon would say to Paul McCartney. Were it as easy as that for most of us! Clearly, few could ever aspire to the dizzy heights of two of the 20th Century's greatest contemporary composers. However, much of our latent talent is likely to go to waste if not properly nurtured and directed constructively. Songwriting beginners need as much help as they can get hence the need to learn from the experience of others and to avoid the pitfalls awaiting the songwriting newbie.

So how does one get started as a successful songwriter? Technically at least one could just sit down and write a song with little forethought and no real knowledge of the process. The result most of the time would be nonsense. Musical nonsense perhaps but nonsense nonetheless. If one is really serious about songwriting, several things will need to happen to maximize success potential: make the most of opportunities to have fun, meet people, make money and take responsibility for the emotions conjured up in listeners. Songs stir up powerful emotions. In what other aspect of our lives can the consciousness of so many people be touched?

Listening to music and particularly that with lyrics attached (a song no less!) can be both a primitive and intensively emotional experience. A song can encompass much of life's experiences and is a trigger for all sorts of emotions: from love and heartbreak to the depths of despair. A good song not only expresses the thoughts and opinions of the songwriter about its subject, but also evokes associated emotions in the listener.

Songwriting is an intensely creative process, often wrongly associated with sloppiness. It's often thought that there's a certain mystical, indefinable, almost magical aspect to the creative process.. This is nonsense: just because songwriting is creative is not to say that there's no structure or discipline involved. In fact, songwriting is an exercise in orderliness, preparation, skill, and knowledge. Like any new skill, it takes practice but above all it has to be about having fun, paying attention to convention, being aware of the audience, communicating clearly, writing with pathos, intensity or idealism and above all else, not being afraid of criticism. Master this and you're a songwriter!


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Stuart Spray

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