What did you like about the gig?

The gig was a smash!

We had people singing along, laughing (in the right spots,) tapping their feet, and generally being entertained.

But each singer came away with a different sense of what they liked and didn’t like about the performance.

Songwriting guru Pat Pattison said it best when he addressed how we tend to hang out in the negative side of constructive criticism.

Find out what you love about a song-  because we want to hang out where we are most passionate.

I’m not sure if they were his exact words, but I find it helpful to think about what you liked about a performance before you start thinking on what you’d like to improve on.

What did I see that everyone could work on?

Well, I looked at all these clever, creative people singing and thought to myself, ‘They could be singing their own songs.’

So they’ve started writing, and that’s a big step, but we’re taking it in tiny steps.

Sometimes we need to take tiny steps to get underneath the radar of our ‘fear alarm.’

This tiny steps approach is owed completely to Robert Maurer’s book: One Small Step Can Change Your Life

What’s one small (tiny-as-you-can) step you could take for your music or performance?

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This is Liz and Dave Johnson performing some brilliant original songs at the Dancing Dog Gig.



Songwriting Worskshop tips

On Sunday I drove into camp Sunnystones to take a workshop on songwriting.
On arrival, the hostess with the mostest, Steph Payne, informed me that some singers were excited about doing a songwriting workshop, and others were…less than excited. Okay, maybe daunted.

Once we were all settled, we started diving into our senses with some timed writing exercises. The goal was to become aware of all our senses.

You can check out the daily object writing online group here.

The group’s self-described experience ranged from ‘never’ having written a song, to writing ‘crappy’ songs- or the cousin of the song….the poem.

And there we plenty of moments of brilliance- our word, ‘butter’ gave us ‘the colour of egg yolks and daffodils’, ‘slippery butter pooling in the bread’ and evoking ‘Grandma’s kitchen.’

The was also enough ordinary* (read- sucky) writing that some people frowned at their page. But writing, to me, is about creating a lot of work- creating a bunch of words and phrases that may be, for the most part- very ordinary. But we’re mining for diamonds, or nuzzling around in the mud like a truffle pig. And we’re just looking for surprising moments; images and phrases that stand out from the mud of our inevitable ‘ordinariness’.

This choir was up for anything. We warmed up their voices and did a couple of improvisation exercises where they created their own songs without even realising it.

By the end of the session we had two song starts of a verse, a chorus, and enough laughs that I hope to hear the finished songs soon!

This photo is from a worksheet of a song I’m working on at the moment 🙂