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The Three R's of Successful Songwriters
By Paula Carpenter - 08/12/2002 - 01:27 PM EDT

Yes. RHYMES, RESOLVE, RESILIENCE. You gotta have all three, in order to make a successful run at songwriting. Let me just elaborate a bit:

RHYMES

Acutally, I'm fudging a bit here. I'm using RHYMES to mean EVERYTHING to do with craft! I know there are other Muse writers who address craft, and I generally address motivational aspects, geographical situations like NOT LIVING IN A MAJOR MUSIC CENTER... but... I REALLY am such a craft afficionado...I jjust have to talk about it!

Great songs have outstanding craft. Even if you are gifted as a thinker, as a visionary, as a person who can come off with the ideas...you really need to be able to FORM it into a wonderful, listenable song.

So for my purposes here, RHYME is the "R" that is going to stand for all things re: SONG FORM! Rhyme Schemes, Verse Structure, Tools (like Q and A, opposites, etc) of the Craft "Trade".

All great songs are well-constructed. The rhyme scheme is consistent throughout. The VCVCBC or AABA or whatever form you USE.... is consistent. The tools you choose to use, you apply well and creatively. In short, your CRAFT and FORM have to be in place, or even a great idea won't hold up!

I always say, it's kind of like the mold you pour jello into.... without it, you'd just have that big glob of "stuff", with no way for the people it was intended for, to enjoy it. You gotta have FORM, and since I'm doing R's here...we'll call it all RHYMES!

RESOLVE

Well, really, what can be said? You MUST be committed to hanging in there, sticking out the hard times, and in general, keeping on keeping on with the great stuff you are writing, until your goal comes into view.

You are going to meet some obstacles along the way, and you can count on it. A publisher who doesn't "get" your best song, a critiquer who made you feel lousy, a co-writer who dropped the ball...SOMETHING always comes up. It's that way in life as well. The secret is to just keep going, keep pursuing your goal of excellent songs, cuts, and a place in the business of music.

It's easy to get discouraged... just remind yourself YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES... and get on down the road. Keep writing, keep listening for great ideas, keep reading, keep going to movies and listening for "hook" lines...keep your ears and mind OPEN for the IDEAS you will need as a songwriter!

RESILIENCE

Really closely associated with RESOLVE...is...RESILIENCE! There's no doubt that hardly anyone meets with success pronto...on the first song, first try. It takes some re-writing, some going back to the study of the craft, and a HUGE, MASSIVE ability to take criticism. Publishers you play your songs for may not immediately jump on your train...you may have to go to the next one, and the next one...

...you need to learn to have a thick skin. If you BELIEVE in YOUR TALENT, do not let one person's opinion take your dreams away. You must continue to HAVE FAITH IN YOUR OWN TALENTS...or no one else will.

Bounce back! Tell yourself YES when you are told NO... KEEP ON KEEPING ON! It's your dream...don't allow anyone to take it away from you. Only YOU can give up, no one else can stop you, unless you stop yourself.

So... learn your CRAFT -- RHYMES
Pledge to use it long and well -- RESOLVE
Don't quit when others slow you down-- RESILIENCE

You can do it...yes, you can.


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