by Kim Copeland
Why do we creative beings take ourselves so seriously? While I am an absolute advocate of studying your craft, I think there is a risk of becoming so technically advanced as to lose sight of the real reason for making music - it’s fun!
I always find it amusing when a live audience goes crazy over a song that a publisher has just ripped to shreds. Audiences don’t listen with analytical ears. Their response is based solely on whether or not they enjoy the song.
There is a time for analyzing and a time for enjoyment. Songwriting, at its best, satisfies both sets of ears. Here are a few suggestions for helping your listeners enjoy your songs as much as you do.
First, remember that audiences are always asking two questions: “Then what?” and “So what?” The first question challenges us to make sure that they understand what we are talking about. The second question challenges us to make them care what we are talking about. To make them care, you must make them relate.
There are several ways to involve listeners in your songs. One is to find the universal message that everybody can identify with. Another is to wrap the message in an emotion that most people have felt, or would like to feel.
Secondly, whenever possible, make the song a one on one experience between “You” and “I”. The most effective presentation for your message, story, or emotion is first person. You may have a wonderful message about your beautiful outlook on life, which you are just dying to share with the world. But, as the Toby Keith song says, “…Occasionally, I want to talk about me”.
Conversations are much more interesting than speeches. Singers know this. That’s why it is much easier to get a love song cut than a message or anthem song. If you can begin by talking about yourself (“I”) and relate that to the listener (“You”), they will be much more involved.
As you strive to make your music fun for you, remember to make it fun for your audience too. It ain’t rocket science or brain surgery! Nobody dies; nothing explodes if we don’t write a good song. So relax. Have fun with your creative gifts. Just try to remember that you’ll go farther if your audience has fun too.
Are we having fun yet?