Music Connections: Composing


What,  me compose? No way!  This may seem the most challenging connection to many.  Yet, it can be the most expressive, most personal.  Yes, I’m serious!  Please read on before moving onto another post.

Jackson Browne said,“Self-discovery in songwriting, bringing something forth that’s instructive to yourself – some of the best songs that you will ever write are the ones where you didn’t have to think about any of that stuff, but nonetheless that’s what’s happening in the song.”

In my life this has been so true.  While I have been strongly moved both as a listener and a performer during a musical performance, I have learned most about myself when I created music.  As a young child I spent many hours swing while I sang songs I had learned and new ones I created.  As I learned to play piano, I would have short composition assignments of four to eight bar phrases to write in response to another phrase.  As I gained skills, my favorite practice activity was to free play at the keyboard once my scales, drills, and assigned pieces were rehearsed.  Time didn’t exist in those moments of free play.

Many of us remember having poetry assignments in school or doing “Mad Libs” with friends.  Consider an option of writing your own lyrics to a precomposed song.  Here are a few steps to use in with this task:

  1. Select a simple song
  2. Identify a theme or idea you would like to express.
  3. Write down words related to you theme/idea.
  4. Select one of these has a starting point creating the first lyric line to the song.  Sing through it to ensure the syllables and flow are there.
  5. Continue the process until you’ve competed the song.
  6. Write down the completed lyrics.

Be creative.  Have fun.  Try to set your judgmental self aside for this task. Why not share what you leaned about yourself through this process.  If you play an instrument, try creating music to express this theme/idea.  How does this form of playing compare to writing lyrics or re-creative playing?

I encourage you to continue active listening, creating playlists & implementing them, along with re-creating music.  These will help you prepare for Music Connections: Learning.

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