Thursday, February 11, 2010

First Songwriting Class

I arrived just a few minutes before class started. My classmates were mostly men, with maybe five girls/women out of a total of thirty. What does that say about songwriters? Our instructor had an Irish name and I kept wanting to ask her if she was from Ireland, but I forgot.

I picked a chair with a turquoise-covered notebook, and then switched it at the last minute with a colorful striped one with a purple pencil. I was wearing purple that day, and I don't know why color matters to me so much, but I figured if you are going to go through the day picking things out, you might as well pick things that make you happy.

When I introduced myself, I said I had been in a band before, which I later felt silly doing because, well, what did it matter, really? Especially since some other members of the class later said they were also in bands.

The teacher spent some time talking about her experiences, which were interesting, though I wish she could have said a little bit more about stuff that I could have related to. And then she launched into the technical aspects of songwriting. Here are the major points I learned:

Keep it simple.

Keep it simple.

Keep it simple.

And then we went into object-writing afterwards. She gave us a prompt: mirror. It was like being at the edge of a cliff and diving in. I didn't know exactly what to expect, and I found things that I didn't even know existed! I posted my piece here.

What I learned from object-writing:

Evoke emotion. Someone shared their horror-themed entry, which was cool, but for me it didn't resonate emotionally.

Be specific. My classmates really liked it when I wrote: "It was always dusty and full of stray powders that spilled from the cheap makeup I bought at a store on Katipunan Road."

Use all senses. That is how a scene comes alive.

Bonus: I tried object-writing when I was stuck in my novel, and it forced me to write a scene more vivid than anything I have written lately.

Next week, we get to share a song! I am excited/nervous/purple.