Let me start this post by wishing you all the very best for 2014 ! What better way to start this new year than with something fresh, say songwriting ?
When you’ve been playing covers of songs for a while you will eventually reach a stage where you’d like to try writing your own. The whole process is great fun but not without hurdles. Patience and persistence are your best friends…
One day, an event triggers a creative process in some obscure area of your brain : suddenly, you have a melody in your head, a few words pop out and there you have it, the skeleton of a song… You can choose to ignore it because, when you think of it, turning it into a real song is going to cost you hours and hours unless you’re a real pro. But, if you feel slightly adventurous you will decide to move ahead and try to make something out of it, no matter what.
That’s exactly what Ganymede Gwilym and I did. It all started with a walk in the hillsides that didn’t turn out to be as pleasant as we would have hoped. This inspired me a few words and a melody which I sang to Gwilym. He enjoyed the melody and decided to pick his guitar and try to make out the chords by ear. We used a trial-and-error approach until we were happy with the chords. From there on Gwilym polished up his guitar playing, adding transitions and a nice rhythm to the song. In the meantime I worked on the lyrics and the singing and eventually added the ukulele solo part.
Here is the result, our song Countryside Walk on guitar and ukulele. We hope you’ll enjoy it too !
We have discovered that there are many steps in songwriting, each of them representing a new milestone. Once you are finally happy with the song itself, once you think you have a stable version, it takes quite a few sessions to learn to play and sing it off by heart.
Then you think you’re all fine when you have a nice MP3 version of your song but what about making a video ? Arrrggghh, why is it that when you press the ‘record’ button you feel so stressed that you mess up things that you usually play fine ? Trying to say to yourself “let’s forget about the recorder, it’s not there” hasn’t worked at all. All in all, you have to accept that stress makes you lose some of your potential and learn to accept the fact that, well, you won’t be perfect anyway. You have such a clear picture of how it should sound, how your fingers should play, how your voice should manage the changes, the result is always below what you’ve imagined. No matter what…
Coming out with a song of your own is definitely an achievement, an important step in your music learning process. And who knows, once you’ve written a few, it may become easier… But does it really ???