On writing and performing songs

December 2, 2014 | By | 2 Replies More

I’ve played guitar and keyboard for many years. I’m quite experienced and confident in my playing, but my performances at local coffee shops have consisted entirely of playing “covers,” and it’s getting a bit embarrassing that I haven’t yet written my own songs (even though I do my own arrangements of the songs I sing). As I’ve forced myself to actually start writing songs with lyrics, I’ve become fascinated with the process. This interview with James Taylor offers lots of food for thought.

There is far more out there for those, who like me, are just now venturing into the world of music with lyrics (here are several basic approaches; Here is another good source of basic ideas.)

At this point, I’ve written two songs with lyrics. I do like the result, but it has taken dozens of hours to get these tunes to a point where I find them acceptable. I don’t know whether there is any way to speed up the process. It does feel, though, that I’m a the beginning of a compelling adventure.

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Category: Communication, music, Writing

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

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  1. Ben says:

    The sound of the lyrics can have more impact than the actual words themselves. We have all witnessed this on a grand scale (for example: we all live in a yellow submarine, Parsley sage rosemary and thyme, 99 red balloons? – meaningless yet pleasant sounding. And for the first decade of my life, I always thought the theme to “Stayin’ Alive” was “Stick in the bat” — but that did not stop me from singing along… “bat bat bat bat, stick in the bat”.

    At the point we hear the music, we have not yet processed the meaning of the lyrics. It takes a few seconds, or in some cases years until we find out the lead singer is actually saying!

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