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Songwriting Clubs

Ebbie 24 Apr 13 - 03:32 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Apr 13 - 04:33 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM
Ebbie 24 Apr 13 - 06:11 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Apr 13 - 07:00 PM
Ebbie 24 Apr 13 - 07:08 PM
Jack the Sailor 24 Apr 13 - 07:14 PM
GUEST,Allan Conn 25 Apr 13 - 02:06 AM
Ebbie 25 Apr 13 - 01:54 PM
Allan Conn 25 Apr 13 - 03:59 PM
Ebbie 25 Apr 13 - 04:06 PM
Allan Conn 25 Apr 13 - 05:11 PM
Ebbie 25 Apr 13 - 10:12 PM
GUEST,LizzieZ 26 Apr 13 - 01:48 AM
GUEST,Allan Conn 26 Apr 13 - 02:49 AM
Ebbie 26 Apr 13 - 03:52 AM
KT 26 Apr 13 - 04:57 AM
GUEST 26 Apr 13 - 11:25 AM
Ebbie 26 Apr 13 - 09:00 PM
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Subject: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 03:32 PM

Many people I know are songwriters. Some are prolific and some are very good. Others wonder whether it's all been written and find themselves stymied. I write the occasional one and would like to write more. To that aim I would like to be in a songwriting club. Over the years several of us have talked about starting one, but we never do.

I am now living in a senior center that has a large community room which can be signed for. My idea is that just maybe I can get a songwriting club started there, drawing from both the public and inhouse.

So here's my question(s):
1.        What are the benefits of a songwriting group?
2.        What are the drawbacks of a songwriting group?
3.        How does a person/group get started?
4.        What are the rules, i.e.
    a.        Is honesty a good policy? If an effort sucks, do you say so?
    b.        Or is it the aim to lay it all out there, enthuse over
       each other's efforts and hope they'll do the same for you?

Do you/did you belong to such a group? Was it helpful? Did it thrive? What was your experience with it?


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 04:33 PM

Oh my,

I've been in writing groups and song circles and had Steve Gillette critique my writing at Kerrville as well as doing the songwriting course there.

I wouldn't take it on myself to offer or solicit critiques if I were you.

Circles seem to be the best way for songwriters to cooperate/socialize. have people sit in a circle and do their songs one at a time. Give encouragement answer questions, humbly, when asked.

If you personally want help or critiques. You are way more likely to get better help here on the Mudcat than in your little city.


Is there a bar or cafe in your town which has open mic nights? That is a great way to meet songwriters and try out new songs.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 05:58 PM

The Mudcat Song Challenges a few years back was very much a virtual songwriting club.   It produced a lot of pretty good songs. I'd love to see someone follow in Áine's foosteps and get it going agan.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:06 PM

They were almost all parodies. Certainly it is a different skill from songwriting from scratch. But they were a lot of fun.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 06:11 PM

I personally am not interested in performing, so my aim wouldn't be open mikes. I do love jams, however, and I really enjoy songs of mine that have caught on and that the music group likes to sing. That is as far as my ambitions go.

That, of course, could be different for other folks in a group and that would be fine.

A live song circle and/or songwriting club, it seems to me, would be better than an online group.

One aspect I am interested in is collaboration. Before he died, my brother collaborated with me on two songs and it was great fun. I had more experience and a greater facility for nuance in words but he had fresh ideas and it was just plain fun.

When I wrote earlier about 'honesty', there is no way that I would behave in that way in anyone's creative endeavor, so not to worry about that.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:00 PM

You could still go to open mikes to meet collaborators and potential members.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:08 PM

Not in any open mike I have experienced. The chances seem much better to me in the wintertime folk club we started eight years ago. In 'Gold Street Music' we get to know each other. Open mikes tend to be noisy and fleeting.


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: Jack the Sailor
Date: 24 Apr 13 - 07:14 PM

ok


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Subject: RE: BS: Songwriting Clubs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 02:06 AM

"Open mikes tend to be noisy and fleeting."

Our club meets every Friday night and it is a lively pub session but doesn't really get going until 10pm to 10:30pm once the dining is finished. Several years back we started an earlier open mic at a different venue on the same evening which runs from about 8Pm to 10pm. Some go mainly to the earlier event, some to the later, and a few of us go to both. I find the open mic is better for doing my own songs because it is less noisy and people are there to listen. The pub session tends to be more songs the audience knows and the other performers can easily play along with and tends to be material that can cut through the background noise


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 01:54 PM

We here in Juneau, Alaska, live in a small town (30,000) so we don't have too many versions of the same thing. Open mikes here are in a bar where the clientele is there mostly for drinking and socializing. People who have signed on perform a couple of songs, but most of the clientele consider it background noise/ambiance.

Word of mouth has reached me on a few occasions that says that so-and-so is good and I should hear him or her. At Gold Street Music we have used one or two on that basis. But mostly an open mike here is valuable mainly for getting inured to having the crowd ignore you.

Those who perform for us at Gold Street marvel at our attentive audiences.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Allan Conn
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 03:59 PM

Yeagh I suppose we are lucky in that the open mic is in a room that we the club hire and it is non-licensed. Though you can take your own drink in. So everyone that goes is going specifically to play or listen to the music.

Kind of smiling at the idea of a small town being 30,000 people. I'm in the rural Scottish Borders so that would be a big place for us. Kelso has only 6,000 and the entire region has only just above 100,000 people with the biggest towns being only about 17,000. Always find it fascinating how people from different places view things. I hear a Londoner once describe Norwich as being in the sticks and it is a pretty big place :-)


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 04:06 PM

What makes Juneau a small town, Allan Conn, is its unique location. We are on the mainland of the USA but there are no other towns or cities near us. The closest villages are 4 to 20 hour ferry rides away and consist of a couple of a hundred people. The nearest 'big' town, Anchorage, is close to 600 miles away by air, 900 miles by road. The next biggest is Fairbanks- from Juneau you have to go through Anchorage to get to Fairbanks.

Do you see what I'm saying? Almost every town, anywhere, can draw people and supplies from surrounding cities. Juneau has no such thing. And that makes Juneau a small town.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Allan Conn
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 05:11 PM

Yeagh wasn't meaning to get at you or anything. As I say it is fascinating how people from different areas perceive things. 30,000 people though is a sizable population and well big enough to have a music scene if the right organisers got to it. The whole of Roxburghshire won't be much bigger population that that and we have numerous venues and clubs (Kelso, Denholm, St Boswells, Melrose) plus lots of other music going on and the participants both playing and listening are on the whole from this area. Isolation needn't be a block on anything anyway. For instance Shetland has a thriving musical tradition and scene and the population of the whole island group is only about 23,000. They are stuck out in the North Sea mid-way between Scotland and Norway and at that live on various islands not just one!

As well as the Kelso club itself the woman who runs the venue for the earlier session, which is only a community centre, has also run mid-week sessions for youngsters and started a songwriters circle event every 3 months. It just takes people to organise things for themselves!


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 25 Apr 13 - 10:12 PM

Not to belabor the point or anything but Juneau DOES have a vital music scene. In fact, Juneau is a veritable hot bed of all the arts; we have FIVE levels of live theater up to and including professional theater, a professional symphony, a jazz and classics festival as well as a folk festival, we have nationally-known (and internationally known too- people like Tommy Sands, Ladysmith Black Mombasa and Ewan McColl in his day), celebrated musicians who perform here, we have house concerts and we pack our auditoriums, we have songwriters and singers and bands and orchestras. We also have artists of other sorts like Rie Munoz and Herb Bonnet who sell their paintings all over the world, Native Alaskan carvers and scrimshaw artists and silver etchers. And lots more.

We in Juneau are busy, creative people. I am just attempting to found a song circle.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: GUEST,LizzieZ
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 01:48 AM

I just finished taking a fantastic songwriting course, free, from a prof at Berklee, offered through Coursera.com. The course will be offered again this summer. Go to coursera.com, click on the link "universities" click on Berklee.

About 100 of us are creating a group to continue together on line. The summer class (probably July) will surely form similar groups.

Meanwhile, a course in guitar and one in improv are starting soon, probably next week (the Boston bomb shut the Berklee campus for a week, pushing back the starting date for these two courses.)

Free. No obligations. Coursera is a recent start-up backed by venture capitalists who hope to make big bucks by offering free quality education.

Take the next offering of the songwriting course, you'll have lots of cyber-friends for mutual encouragement in songwriting.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: GUEST,Allan Conn
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 02:49 AM

"I am just attempting to found a song circle"

And it is a great idea. Let's face it you are only needing several people to sit round and play to kick it off. I only commented re the size of the town because you seemed to suggest that it being so small was somehow an impediment to there being the type of thing you're looking for. And likewise then added because it was so isolated. I don't see either of those as impediments to what you'd like to do. Firstly because it isn't so small a catchment population in the scheme of things and secondly because even people in isolated places need hobbies and interests, and have talents! I'd be more on the glass half full page. Especially if there is already a thriving music scene.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 03:52 AM

Thanks, Allan. I know you are right. I'm not sure if I should have used 'song circle' for it; it is not really the term for what I have in mind. I have heard musicians from 'up north' speak of the writing camps they enjoy and learn from. What I normally call a song circle is the kind of jam I already attend, where a group of people get together to make music. It is great fun, in fact, my favorite kind of thing.

LizzieZ, I may end up doing something of the kind online but at this point I'm really looking for a live group.

Thanks, guys.


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: KT
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 04:57 AM

Call 5 or 6 songwriter friends. Explain what you have in mind and invite them to participate. Have a time and place in mind for at least the first meeting, and some idea of how you'd like to see it go. Have participants bring an instrument, writing materials, ideas.

Have a plan for the initial gathering. Allow time during the first meeting for exchange of ideas about expectations, desires, ground rules, etc.

Plan an exercise - perhaps a songwriting exercise to get everyone started. I think I'd avoid a sing around of already completed pieces at the first gathering, since you want it to be a group that will inspire and encourage new works. There will be plenty of time to share completed pieces later. Having a specific structured activity will have everyone starting at the same place.

Have an assignment to work on for the next gathering, either another exercise or activity or prompt. This will assist in the development of songwriting skills and encourage the establishment of a practice of writing.

Something to consider - Will this be an open, fluid group where anyone interested in songwriting can drop in any time or a smaller, more intimate group where participants are committed to helping one another develop their songwriting skills? Two very different approaches.

KT


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: GUEST
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 11:25 AM

Ah. Great ideas! I strongly suspect that the person at the helm should be someone who has participated in such an endeavor. Do you know anyone like that, KT? :)


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Subject: RE: Songwriting Clubs
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Apr 13 - 09:00 PM

That, by the way, was I. My cookie was dropped, precipitously and silently.


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