I have just got home from the first of three songwriting mentorships and my brain is a little fuzzy. That’s a lot of learning I just did. To try to keep my awake I’ve just made a delicious little espresso.
So today’s session was with Charles Jenkins. We got together for 90min at the Push HQ in Brunswick to go over the songs on the new EP and talk about songwriting. I don’t know where to begin telling you everything we covered. I think I’ll have to just go with some highlights. So here are some things we talked about today:
The “Audience of One” Approach.
It’s easy to feel proud of your recordings and totally happy with them when you’re on your own. You kind of focus on all the positives and the sound you have in your head. When you show recordings to someone else, all of a sudden you become a lot more critical. You notice every tiny mistake, every instrument that is a little too loud or quiet, every part that isn’t quite equalised properly. You almost feel the need to apologise to the listener (even though no one could be as critical as you are at this point).
This definitely happened to me today. As soon as we pressed play on each track, I was so conscious of the recordings (which definitely aren’t our final recordings). We talked about how this is a great tool to use though. Find someone you can show the recordings to, just so that you yourself become more critical. It’s just one way of finding a way to get some perspective.
The Three Types of Listeners.
There are three types of listeners.
- Lyrical Listeners – Focuses on the lyrical content of the song.
- Musical Listeners – Focuses on the chords and melody.
- Technical Listeners – Focuses on all the instruments/techniques and how they fit together in the music.
Most people have tendencies toward being one of these types of listeners, and most people are a combination of two of these. Very rarely is someone all three of these. Yet here is the hard part…
As a songwriter you must be able to cater to all three types of listener. Depending on which type of listener you are, will probably determine which area you will place more importance. But by being aware of this, we can work harder on the areas that have previously been underdeveloped.
I myself tend to be a Musical Listener/Technical Listener. So I have to be careful not to neglect my lyrics.
Don’t let the audience off easy.
This is a nice little concept to think about.
When a listener hears the same chords and melody a couple of times, their brain can sort of see where the song is going next time it comes around. But we can take advantage of that, by misleading the listener. When something starts becoming familiar, change it! It can make the song a lot more engaging and less boring.
This is something that the new songs will be benefiting from. The songs are pretty much finished, but now I’ll be going through and adding some nice little surprises!
We covered so much more, but I think I should stop here before this turns into a huge essay!