Songwriting in Practice: Notebooks * Journals * Logs * Lists

Songwriting in Practice: Notebooks * Journals * Logs * Lists

by Mark Simos


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(Berklee Guide). Become a more productive songwriter! Learn to organize the full range of your creative content, from starting inspirations to finished songs. This book offers pragmatic tools, resources, practices, and principles for managing the many kinds of creative materials gathered or generated across a song's life cycle. Organize your ideas and sources of inspiration, sketches and drafts, versions and revisions, to streamline your songwriting process. Create and use "song seed" notebooks and lists, song journals, and writing and co-writing session logs, as you develop your overall song catalog. You will learn to: * Capture and access inspirations of all types lyric, melodic, chordal, rhythmic, or concept in songwriting notebooks, journals, and lists * Energize and improve your creative work writing by organizing all your song ideas for easy access at every stage of songwriting * Manage the full lifecycle of your songs, from sketches and drafts, through versions and revisions, to "fair copies" and demos * Develop an efficient songwriting workflow that connects inspirations to opportunities and projects * Rapidly access your strongest creative material in high-stakes, deadline-driven writing and co-writing sessions * Develop your song catalogue to support publishing, administration, and licensing * Use the organizing process to gain insights for advancing your craft and range as a writer

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780876391907
Publisher: Hal Leonard Corporation
Publication date: 10/01/2018
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 632,425
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Mark Simos is an associate professor of songwriting at Berklee College of Music. His songs have been recorded by Laurie Lewis and Tom Rozum, Alison Krauss and Union Station, Ricky Skaggs, the Del McCoury Band. Jimmy Barnes, and the Infamous Stringdusters, among many others. He is also the author of Songwriting Strategies (Berklee Press).

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgments viii

Chapter 1 Introduction: SONGWRITING as a Practice 1

Creative Workflow in Songwriting 2

Write Great Songs 2

Move to Nashville 3

Manage Your Workflow 5

Who Can Use This Book? 6

Need for This Book 7

Linking Inspiration and Opportunity 7

The Songwriting Endeavor 9

Creative Workflow vs. Project and Tasks 10

Sharing Practice 12

Songwriters' Lore 12

A Scalable Practice 13

Reflective Practice 13

Field Trials 14

What's in the Book 15

Flow and Format 15

Resources in the Book 16

Concluding Thoughts 17

Honor the Muse 17

Feed the Poor 18

Do the Housekeeping 18

Chapter 2 Managing Your Creative Workflow 20

Challenges in Managing Creative Workflow 20

Uncertainty and Indeterminacy 20

Messiness 21

Abundance 22

Granularity and Multiple Threads 23

Elements of Creative Workflow 24

Activities 24

Work Products 25

Visualizing Creative Workflow 26

Boundaries and Containers 27

Boundaries Around Our Songwriting 28

Boundaries Within Creative Workflow 28

Establishing New Workflow Practices 31

Chapter 3 Managing Seed and Source Material 32

Seeds and Sources 32

Work Products for Managing Seeds 34

Workflow Challenges in Seed Catching 35

Seed-Catching Notebook 36

Song Seeds: Workflow Design 39

Journal End Pages 44

Location- and Context-Specific Seed Lists 45

Seeds in Other Media 46

Seeds Central: The Mother Ship 48

Managing Source Material for Songs 49

Provenance 49

Florilegia and Commonplace Books 51

Chapter 4 Supporting Practices for Seed Material 53

Consolidating Seed Lists: Sort and Sift 54

Handling Seeds Many Times 55

Consolidation Activities 56

Guidelines for Seed Wrangling 59

Appointment with Inspiration 61

Organizing Seed Lists for Action 64

Chapter 5 Developing Songs 66

Key Workflow Design Decisions 67

Your Songwriting Journal 68

Song Journal Format 69

Journal Layout 70

Journal Table of Contents 71

Workflow: Writing the Song 73

Starting Seeds 75

Pre-Writing 75

Using Seed Lists in Writing 76

Sketches 79

Song Drafts 82

Cross-Outs vs. Bring-Alongs 82

Annotations 83

Notation in Song Drafts 88

Moving from Journal to Computer 90

A Working Example 90

Your Journal Archive 93

Chapter 6 Song Revision an Critique 95

Managing Song Revisions 95

Successive Versions and Snapshots 96

The Parking Lot 99

The Stewpot 99

New Seeds 104

Cleaning Up-and the Wastebasket 104

Song Logs 105

Managing Song Critique 106

Preparing for Critique 109

Receiving Critique 109

Processing Critique 110

Chapter 7 Co-Writing and Collaboration 111

Using Seed Material for Co-Writing 112

Preparing Seeds for Co-Writing Sessions 112

Your "Seeds for Co-Writes" List 113

Managing the Co-Writing Session 114

Co-Writes in the Songwriting Journal 114

Shared and Private Workspaces 115

Scan-and-Match in Co-Writing 116

Co-Writing Session Parking Lot 117

Using Drafts: Over-the-Wall Co-Writing 118

Wrapping Up a Session 120

Co-Writer Lists 122

Chapter 8 Finalizing the Song 125

Finalizing the Lyric Sheet 126

Fair Copy Lyric Sheet 126

Formatting The Lyric Sheet 127

Music Notation 137

Chord Charts 138

Lead Sheets 139

The Studio Vocal Demo 140

Prepping The Vocalist 141

The Demo Session 142

Aligning With Your Co-Writer(s) 143

Alternative Demos 144

Chapter 9 Managing Your Catalog 148

Organizing Your Catalog 149

Song Folders 150

Journal Index 153

Table Of Contents Lists 154

Audio Archives 154

Backups And Safety Copies 155

Song Catalog as Index 156

Song Catalog Database 156

Inventories of Audio Material 158

Suggested Database Information 160

Connecting Songs to Opportunities 164

Pitch Information 164

List Of Artists and Prospects 165

Connection to Publishers, PROs, etc 166

Working With Assistants 168

Chapter 10 Advancing Your Craft: Reflective Practices 169

Surfing The Chaos 170

Measuring and Motivation 170

Your Songwriter's Log 170

Listening Log and Journal 171

Reflection and Learning 171

Debriefs 172

Left Page/Right Page 173

Using Your Catalog for Reflection and Self-Assessment 174

Looking at the Songs You've Written 174

Traps and Gaps 175

Resources 176

Lyrical Resources 177

Musical Resources 178

Prompts 179

Working with Multiple Seeds 180

Seed Collisions 181

Song Seed Collages 181

Song Suites and Song Cycles 182

Your Songwriter Life Lists 183

Songs I Wish I'd Written 185

Co-Writer Bucket List 187

The Gallery of Horrors 188

Turning Life Lists Back into Songs 190

Final Thoughts: Your Future Biographers 191

Glossary 193

About the Author 198

Index 200

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