Category Archives: Music

Songs cubed

Ah to write a song. Its truly a gift, to be able to intertwine melodies, percussion, vocals, lyrics, etc and come out with some representation of your effort. Those who have this ability know that sometimes a song just flies out of you, and other times you have to write it by force, just make it happen or you’re stuck with yet ANOTHER unfinished song.

Then, there are times where you start writing one song, come up with a cool part – say a verse – and realize that the part is cool enough to warrant a different song. So, yay, you have ANOTHER song idea, but it didnt move you forward in your process at all.

Im having a situation where one song spawned another, and then the other is starting to spawn yet another. So i started writing one song, and now i have three pieces of songs that i cant seem to finish.

Ah i guess thats the life of a struggling songwriter, maybe its a blessing to be able to just rip out song ideas in bulk. But, its kinda frustrating as for the 30 or so songs ive written, i have at least 90 that are just a chorus, a verse, a melody, etc. Me being me, i have to ask ‘why’. Maybe I care too much. Maybe the parts are all so equally powerful or representative of my emotions or thoughts that I want to spread it across a few songs. Or maybe, just maybe, Im not the songwriter i thought i was, or the songwriter i hope to be. Maybe somewhere in the last few years i’ve lost it, or forgotten it. OR, maybe this is the next evolution, the ability to have so many threads in your brain running that you can write more than one song at a time. Maybe this is how one can write a totally coherent album; start with one song then spread it out across 12.

Maybe.

The attempt…

OK so i figure im going to try to write a blog a week to kick this off…i have about 4 blogs in 3 years LOL. And, im inspired by my buddy Elmer (www.ElmerTheGreat.com) who always has something to say.

┬áTodays subject is going to be music. I was helping a bud out the other day – hes a new guitarist, and suffering thru the ‘first three months’ of guitar playign which can be extremely difficult…your fingertips hurt, your hands hurt, your brain hurts, etc. You realize quickly that humans are not inherently meant to play guitar. HOWEVER, as i explained, the rewards that await the patient player are indeed great.

One premise of guitar and im sure it relates to any other instrument, is the rule of 10. I made that up, but its based on an article i read in the early nineties on practice, i think by Zakk Wylde. It goes somethign like this: When you are learning something, play it 10 times slow until you nail it each time; then 10 times medium til you nail it, then 10 times at speed. If you mess up any of the 10s, start over at the beginning of that 10. Some parts are hard enough that you’re going to have to do 10s for weeks before you nail it. BUT – always give yourself at least 10 perfect runs slow before you try to play it at speed.

It sounds dumb, but ive been playing guitar for 26 years now (since i was 5) and i still always use the rule of 10. Rock on :)