Another great workshop with Tina Shafer and Jenny Bruce. It was an incredible weekend which makes it difficult to go back to work (working my desk job, NOT going to work musically). I saw some familiar faces and some new faces (you were sorely missed Ari Zizzo!) but definitely again a wide variety of musical genres, great song writers, interesting perspectives and just a great time.
I think one of the best things I got out of the workshop was not to hold up or wait to have things figured out or for the perfect opportunity to GO for something. Case in point: Jenny asked us if we were signed up with a PRO (performance rights organization). I explained I wasn’t signed up because I was waiting til I had a contact at one of the organizations because I felt like otherwise I would just be another artist on their roster that wouldn’t really mean anything. Jenny said, “You shouldn’t wait.” First off, you can always change PROs if you’re not happy w/ one, and secondly there’s so much they can be doing for you. If you are a member of a PRO, you can always make an appointment to meet a representative and get help with any number of things from finding producers, collaborators, other songwriting organizations etc. They are there in the city and have resources to help you. All you need to do is go in there and ask for it.
So I think that’s a big step one for me. Step two might actually be prior to step one which is just to take a step back and breathe. This workshop, instead of coming in with my guitar and writing pad, I looked like I had luggage for a short weekend vacay out of the state. I had brought a portable amp, electric violin, delay/looping pedal, two guitar cables, mic cable, microphone, and mic stand. Trying to write a song for violin with loops and delays and playing and singing can really get tricky (to say the least)! I frequently want to do everything at once, do it now, and I’m eager to do so! Not necessarily a bad thing in and of itself, but maybe not the best for the creative process.
Some good thoughts I got about all this as I embark into the scary unknown of playing violin, singing, and songwriting all at the same time : P
Don’t worry about the loops and delays right now or even amplifiers. Work on the song. Have the song be what it’s supposed to be and get comfortable with just the playing and singing. Then you can start adding all the bells and whistles. That means just having the violin out and singing which is what I love to do anyway. I’ve just felt so silly about it; plunking away on my violin like a little miniature guitar and singing my songs. Just feeling small in comparison to other performers out there with their big guitars or keyboards and their full sounds. Rule number six. It would be a good idea not to take myself too seriously ; )
The other thought was to use the tools at my disposal and to record my songs or works in progress to help get my vision out of my head and into reality. As I work on the song that way, I can begin to see what it is I could do to perform the song live. Both of these are very useful and a way to help me unhamper (if that’s a word) the creative process and just to work on my music.
Finally, I want to start preparing to cut a demo. If I’m gonna do that, I’m gonna need to make some tough decisions including what songs to put on the demo, how I will perform them, and budgeting out the amount of money I need to get the project done. MAN it seems like a lot not to mention the continued practicing on songs I have, continued writing, continued learning, continued networking, and on and on and on. But in the end, that doesn’t bother me too much. I love this stuff. If I can get out of my own way, I know I can accomplish so much!
Really happy to have a songwriting workshop getting me pumped up about 2012!