Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Q♦ One night only

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

The old-school idea is that a song should be everywhere and immortal. It should work for any performer, adapt to fit any style of music, entertain any audience, and last forever.

The Queen of Diamonds scoffs at this old idea. In reality, she points out, most songs are heard only once by most of the people who hear the song. The time and place of the listening is usually random happenstance, but it doesn't have to be.

This week, the Queen decrees that you write a song for a specific occasion, a specific time and place. You'll create the song with that one event in mind, and perform it (or play the recording) just that one time, and possibly never again.

What occasion could be so special and important that you would write a song just for that event? Well, if you think about it, there are many occasions that command effort on a much greater scale than writing and performing a song.

If flowers are painstakingly arranged and put in place for a wedding and thrown away afterwards, then you can write a one-time-only song for the occasion. Don't worry about "throwing away" a song; you can always write another one.

If you're going to make a special trip to a card store and mail a card for a friend's birthday, it's not much more effort to write a short birthday song and play it for your friend's answering machine. If your band gets a gig for a Veterans Day event, you should definitely show up with a song that you can dedicate to the veterans in the audience.

Your assignment this week: find a special occasion, and write a song that adds your energy and support to the occasion. Find an appropriate way to have your song be part of the event.

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