Monday, May 16, 2011

play a little...

This summer after I graduate I'll be heading to EUROPA!  Since I won't have a piano around, I've been trying to acquaint myself with le guitar again.  It'll be the only instrument I'll have all month so I better get good...or at least good enough. I'll be doing some volunteer work at France. My mom advertised me as a musician so I really gotta build my

Anyway, so I've been learning the songs "Wild Horses" by the Rolling Stones, "To Love You More" by Celine Dion, "High and Dry" by Radiohead, "Is It Okay if I Call You Mine" by Paul McCrane among other songs.  In the midst of practicing those songs, I just started jamming on some chords and before I knew it I was writing a song!
So I ran into my room and locked myself in there for an hour and tried to poop something out.

I came up with a little diddy...melody and chords. No lyrics. It seems like, lyrically, this song wants to go in the direction of a narrative with a moral ending. Meh. BOTTOM LINE.............

If your having trouble writing music...PLAY SOME MUSIC!  Just grab a guitar, piano, tissue box and string, and get some chord charts and play.  Eventually you'll have some kind of song idea. Don't pressure yourself to write though. Just have fun jamming. Eventually you'll come up with something. :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

old songs

my friend booked my first gig one month after watching his set.  he told me that by then i had to have 5 songs. here is one of the songs i came up with and used for my audition to get into my music program.


So I just showed one of my unfinished songs to my teacher Mr. Jim McElwaine.

I was having trouble finishing the rest of the song because lyrically and dynamically I didn't know where to go.  He "don't write the truth".  I mean if he had told me this a few years back I would've been appalled.

Who could possibly write lyrics based off something that wasn't real true hard lived emotions???  ( EMO!)

But its true.  I started writing music that really evoked emotions I wanted to when I stopped trying to be completely personal.  Anyway, he asked me to make a background story for this character that I'm trying to write about even if that info won't be in the song.  This would help to come up with the story.  He also told me that it was really important to step back from my music.  I always thought I did.  But then I realized that every time I go back to play the song I would perform it. Even if it was just performing to myself.  I'm so engulfed in the emotion of the song that I couldn't step back to listen to the form and melody.

So i guess thats two tips for you.

1.) Write a background story for your characters.
2.) Step back from your music.

picture perfect

Check out this video.  A Brazilian composer saw a picture of birds on a power line and decided to create music out of it.  Cool idea? YES!  Taking melody shapes from pictures or nature.  Next time your in a writing rut, just go outside and look at the texture of the leaves, or what I really enjoy, the texture of the sand as the water ebbs while being formed by aggressive wind. TRY IT.

Speak or forever hold your peace

Here's a song written in Tagalog and English =)

By Kelly Izzo and I

"Could you love me"

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

time a dozen...

Something I find that really helps with the writing process is having a deadline.   
You force yourself to focus and once you do beautiful things happen.  I found that when I set a deadline for myself I was able to at least FINISH something.  It wasn't necessarily the best song or the best songs, but I got something done.   Next time set a limit for yourself.   

I forced myself to write a verse melody and chorus melody in an hour.  Got it done!  Set a deadline for yourself.   I think it would even help to have other people involved.  Get a buddy and say... " hey i have this song i want to show you, let me show it to you on thursday!"....and you won't actually have a song YET, but now there is another person involved. So you HAVE TO GET IT DONE.  bambam pow.  DO IT.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

set a time block for that writer's block!


So just last week i was trying to finish one of my songs.  After screwing around on the guitar I couldn't seem to come up with anything.  So I decided to force myself to write a song in an hour.  Knowing how awful I am at working under pressure I set some boundaries so I wouldn't be doomed for failure.  Come up with a simple verse melody and chorus melody.   I had a friend that had projects due one right after the other. He told me the key to being able to write is to go with your first thought and go with it.  No more crazy editing.  Of course I wasn't such a huge fan of that but if you need a song done in a certain time frame going with your first thought isn't such a bad idea.

I also had some help from a piece of paper that was on my teacher's wall.
It was a diagram of chord functions.  It helped me to come up with something quick.

I will post a pic in the next blog because my comp seems to not be working. =T....

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

hi ho hi hum

So i'd been having a lot of trouble finishing music lately....lyrics are really hard to come by and fix......but I find that what really does help me finish them is reading other people's blogs oddly enough. If I'm writing about a specific emotional state or situation, I'll search blogs of people who are writing about it and get ideas.   I was trying to finish this song about my aunt who passed away.  I really wanted to get the essence of her refusing to die so I looked at blogs of people who were going through cancer and were fighting hard.  It helped a lot.  So next time, if you don't mind being creepy, go search other people's blogs =)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I started reading this book about different forms of poetry. One kind of poem was a SHAPE POEM.
My friend just said it was the kind of thing people did in elementary school, but I still think its pretty cool. =)

Here's an example I found online:

My teacher for master class gave me an assignment to write a song according to a poem. Maybe these shape poems can help to dictate the shape of the melody as well? HmMm....

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Duck Pond

So here are my lyrics for a PUNCHING opening line:

Please don't touch me
Or hold me too close
'Cause I'm far to frustrated from the bad sex
And unless you think you can kiss me and make me wet
I'd rather you just let me be....

That's just an excerpt I wrote from  an old song.  A little blunt. I could've been a little less blunt, but it got you hooked right? Maybe?  Got something better? SHOW ME!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ants crawl in the clouded space...

Yeah weird title.  But it kinda sums up the point I'm about to make.

Listen to some of the pop songs out there.  A lot of them have a huge PUNCH in their first line.


Ke$ha-Tik Tok
"Wake up in the mornin' feelin' like P-Diddy..."

Katy Perry-Firework
Do you ever feel like a plastic bag....?    ( i thought that that was starting off well then the phrase ended like : "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag, drifting through the wind, wanting to start again?" What the hell does that mean?!?!)  

Regina Spektor- Samson
"You are my sweetest downfall..."

All American Rejects- Give You Hell
"I wake up every evening with a smile on my face..."

So for this week, I'll try to write a song with a first line punch...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

how this will work...

Each week I will attempt to capture the essence of already existing songs. 
In other words, each week I'll write an ORIGINAL song in the style of, for example, Katy Perry.  

I'll talk a little about her lyrics, provide you with chords to play along, and then complete the week with my very own Katy Perry song! (hey that all kinda rhymed...hah)

Join me on my journey or partake in my challenge...

I look forward to hearing from you!

Signed Sealed and Delivered,
Laurie Anne (hence LA music.)