Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Q♠ Know your audience

Q♠ Queen of Spades in The Rock Songwriter’s Deck: 52 Ways to Write a Song

It's always good to know your audience and write songs that are appropriate for them. For example, if you're writing for young children, use simple puns; save your clever literary allusions for a song for New Yorker subscribers.

The Queen of Spades invites you to take this audience-pleasing art to its extreme by writing a song custom-tailored for a single audience member. Pick one person whom you hope to please with your song, and figure out exactly what that person would like in a song.

If you have an opportunity, find out what's in their music collection. And take notes on their personality, interests, and personal values. (But don't be a stalker! Your ideal subject is someone who's already a close friend or family member.)

After doing your research, write a song that your chosen audience is sure to love.

When you have a chance, play the song for him or her. It's a success if they sincerely like it. If not, you can attempt to figure out where you went wrong, and you might learn something in the process. You might not know your friend as well as you think you do. Or you might have strayed too far outside your core strengths while trying to complete this assignment.

But if your song does succeed with your chosen audience member, you might find that there are other people outside your usual audience who also like this song. Have you learned a few new tricks that might help you appeal to a broader audience?

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