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Festival Network Online Newsletter Performer Edition -  June 2007

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A note from the editor

Hello FNO Bands and Performers,

Corey Stewart recently friend requested FNO on Myspace and I am glad he did!  He has great song writer resources.  This month's article lays out his recommendations for effective song writing practices.   He is from Australia, so if you have never heard the expression "just start noodling..." that may be why...

Below, check out the FNO Performer of the Month Hale Baskin.

FNO's Myspace bands take $5.00 off a membership! Let me know if you're interested.

FNO Marketing Chick
Festival Network Online

« Newsletters Archive - To view previous newsletters, check out our archives!  We publish 3 newsletters each month!  Art/Craft, Food/Commercial, & Performer!

Songwriting Help… Bait the hook to get a bite

Corey Stewart SongwritingBy Corey Stewart

Writing a song is like fishing. You have to bait the hook to get a bite. 

I thought it was about time I put onto paper what I do to get my own songwriting ideas down.

If you ask me the question about what comes first, the music or the lyrics I would say both. It depends on where the songwriting idea comes from in the first place (I must say that more often than not I am working on musical arrangement ideas).

I have different ways of generating both music and lyrical ideas but today I'll be dealing with the musical arrangement.

(For the purpose of this article I am assuming that you have some musical instrument knowledge).

1. Make sure that you have a tape recorder/dictaphone and notepad handy.

You are about to bait your hook and throw the line in so you better have an audio and written recording device ready when that songwriting idea bites your hook

2. Set aside some time to pick up the instrument of your choice and just start noodling.

Don't play anything in particular just play. Let your creative juices start flowing. Don't worry if what you are playing sounds like something else and don't worry if you are playing your favorite chords. Just enjoy the moments between you and your instrument.

(You have just thrown the line into the sea of infinite songwriting ideas)

3. Tell your inner critic to relax and take a hike.

Almost always your inner critic will go to work on your ego and say things like "what are you doing? This is a waste of time" or "that sounds crap, you should quit while you're ahead". If this happens just keep playing and work through it. Remember, enjoy the moment.

4. Pay attention to what you are playing. Be prepared to go off into tangents

As you start getting into your noodling you will notice that what seems familiar will become less so. If there is a moment which you play something and you say to yourself "ooh, that sounds nice", run with it, explore it. This leads to the next step.

5. Stop noodling and start exploring

You have got a bite.  A songwriting idea has taken your bait. Now is the time to reel it in and make some sense of it. Play it over and over again. What you want to be doing is formulating a skeleton structure of the songwriting idea.

6. Put it onto tape and write down the chords on paper

If in your noodling you were singing some nonsensical gobbledigook at the same time and some lyrical hook comes into mind then write that down too. If anything, it will enable you to tell one songwriting idea apart from another.

7. Leave it alone and start noodling again (go back to step 1)

What you have put onto tape is not meant to be a completed masterpiece. It is the concrete beginnings of a songwriting idea. Put it down and go onto the next one because the time to refine the idea is not now, it's later.

When you are fishing you don't catch a fish and then stop everything to prepare it to be eaten (apologies to my vegetarian friends, I am talking about metaphorical fish here). You store the fish and continue. It's the same with songwriting ideas.

How long you want to keep fishing is totally up to you.

As I mentioned before this is the way I personally do things. It may not work for everyone but it works for me. I would be interested what people think of it so if you have any questions and/or feedback then feel free to let me know.

And another thing, don't be concerned with getting a result. If you start noodling and all you do is noodle then thats fine. You can always try again next time. Practice makes perfect.

The most important thing is your songwriting process not the end result.

Until next time, happy writing.

Corey Stewart

Featured FNO Performer - Hale Baskin

This month's featured member is Hale Baskin, a jazz singer from California.  She has been a member of FNO for 4 years. 

Endowed with a clear, beautiful voice, a sure sense of swing, and a seemingly innate sense of the nuances of jazz phrasing, Hale Baskin is certainly a singer of great promise. But more than that, Hale is already a musician whose artistry can be enjoyed in the here and now. Hale Baskin is not just a singer with a future. She's a singer with a presence!

This young artist has accomplished a lot so far and has plans to sing in Europe this summer.   Check her out on myspace:

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