Every day, while dropping off kids here and there for their various activities or buying groceries, I listen to songs on the radio. Lately, I’ve been listening differently, more carefully.
When something about a song captures my attention, even if it’s a song that has lyrics that don’t appeal to me (lyrics are big for me), I try to understand what it is about the elements of the song that gets to me. It might be the arrangement, shifts in rhythm, instruments/sounds used, whatever.
Then, I try to figure out how I could apply those elements in how I write and arrange my music, in order to more effectively present and reinforce the main points of my lyrics.
Because, for me, the lyrics are the point. But in the past, I haven’t paid enough attention to the craft of song writing, appropriately but creatively using changes in arrangement or effectively reinforcing the main point of the song in different ways, bringing up the drama, changing the tone where necessary. That’s going to change. I’m going to do all the work I need to in the background, so that when it comes time to go to the studio the recording part will be as efficient as possible while still being artistic.
I’m not about making songs popular, but I am about making meaningful songs communicate and have a purpose – not necessarily for everybody, but at least for somebody. It will take time, but it will be worth doing, on a personal level. And as I told my students back in the day, “The question is not ‘Is it hard?’, but ‘Is it worth it?’ – and I believe it is.”
The most popular songs in English over the last several decades have a vocabulary that could easily be understood by a 3rd grader.
Seriously. Check out the following article; https://seatsmart.com/blog/lyric-intelligence/ .
That’s not what I’m going for. Songwriters, of course, hope to make a living off of their music, or even to ‘strike it rich’. Since I am no longer 20 years old, and am not exactly a male model, such aspirations are neither realistic nor a point of focus for me.
But in this information age we live in, the age of the internet, I would suggest that aiming for general popularity is not all that important. Surely it is possible to carve out one’s own niche for music on the internet. There is a place and a market for diversity.
So in my music, I aim to go far beyond the average 3rd grade vocabulary. My aim is to write thoughtful music that goes beyond the scope of the popular and saccharine topics commonly heard today, and to present it in a lower voice register than you are ever likely to hear on the radio. I hope to contribute to the body of music available to people by providing a distinct voice, both literally and figuratively. I hope to provide a musical point of connection for people whose life experience is broader or more unique than what they are likely to encounter on their average radio station.
In the meanwhile, I am also providing educational materials for teachers and students – materials that connect the world of music to Social Studies curricula. Check out the ‘Educational’ tab on the site, to see what is there. Teaching was a great career for me for almost a decade, and I want to give back to the profession.
This website is a starting point in addressing the goals I hope to meet. This is my first blog entry. Welcome to the virtual home of my dreams and aspirations. I look forward to getting to know you.