Congratulations to Katie for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with her song ‘T-Shirt’.  Here’s a bit about Katie and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘T-Shirt’?  I am not sure if it is just a girl thing or not….but the inspiration behind this song is based on my own experiences. I have had a couple of serious boyfriends and I love to wear their oversized sweatshirts and t-shirts. It’s as though I adopt their wardrobes when we are together… sadly when things part it is one of the only things we can hold on to. Their smell still lingers, the memories can be visualised, it’s the one thread of hope left that they might come back.
 I always try to use my own experiences, actions and feelings in the songs that I write – that way I can sing and perform them with passion.

How long have you been writing songs?  I started writing a couple of years ago. Until that point I had really struggled with writing. I didn’t really know where or how to start. I wrote my first song, ‘Mine’ when I split up with my boyfriend. Cliché I know but it wasn’t until that point that I had experienced those emotions – and its hard to really relate to things you write about if you haven’t experienced them I guess.

How did you get into songwriting?  After the first song, I actually found it relatively easy. Once I have my first line it seemed to flow quite naturally. Sometimes I write with guitar and other times with piano. It’s not prescriptive. It’s a natural process for me and one I cannot force. I was lucky to be able to attend Ultimate Artist, which is an artist development programme; that course certainly helped me gain confidence and belief in my ability.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  Music is my passion so I am lucky that I love to write and perform. Music is good when you are feeling upbeat and happy as well as when you are having sadder moments. Songwriting allows me to express my emotions that may be otherwise I find hard to. I am dyslexic so English has never been my strongest subject; strangley songwriting seems so much easier!

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I love it when I first perform a new song – when it’s freshly written. It’s probably still got some development but I love to play the song for the first time! I haven’t collaborated yet with my songwriting but I am sure that this will help me grow as an artist.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  I guess getting the hook is the hardest and most frustrating part as it doesn’t just come when you want it to! But as soon as I have a hook or the first line, I am away!

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  It normally depends but I feel that they come at the same time. To be honest there is no set pattern when I write!

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  Song Academy is a great way of getting your tracks heard but also to hear other young songwriters material. We all learn from each other. I haven’t attended any of the workshops but they look brilliant.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  Ed Sheeran I just love the way his writing is so raw and personal. I really aspire to be able to write like he can. For similar reasons I love the works of Gabrielle Aplin, especially her song ‘Miss You’. I think my all time favourite song to sing is ‘Naïve’ by The Kooks.

15 years from now you will be… 32!  Travelling/ touring the world, still creating new music and being able to share it with people.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  Another cliché but I love to be with my friends – I love to dance, party and have fun. I also love to bake however I’m really not very good!!

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

Congratulations to Kevin for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with his song ‘Clara’.  Here’s a bit about Kevin and his songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Clara’?  I wrote a chord progression on the guitar and made an instrumental demo. It had a bittersweet tone so I wanted to tell the story of someone in their daily life. I thought of the struggles that girls my age go through everyday. Feelings of pressure and anxiety, emptiness and longing, but all the while still enjoying life. Clara’s just trying to figure out how to navigate the complicated world around her.

How long have you been writing songs?  I started writing music when I was about 10 years old, so I’ve been writing for nearly 8 years.

How did you get into songwriting?  I was always inspired by music and I started singing and playing at a very young age, so it was just natural for me to try writing songs.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  I found a whole new enjoyment in songwriting when I realized how therapeutic it could be. I just loved to play the piano and try to write something that spoke to me. Songwriting allows me to put my thoughts into an art-form that speaks louder than words.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  I’ve always found the chords and melodies to be the most fascinating and beautiful part of songwriting. If your music doesn’t speak than how will your lyrics?

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  It can be pretty difficult sometimes to know what you want to say with your lyrics. I revised the lyrics to “Clara” several times before they felt right.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  It depends, because just about anything can inspire a song. But I usually like to start with chords and then let the melody lead the lyrics.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?   I think Song Academy has done a wonderful job of giving young songwriters from around the world a chance at sharing their art and getting the encouragement and feedback needed to help shape their craft.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  It’s pretty hard to chose but I think my current favorite artists are Mac DeMarco, Electric Light Orchestra, and Paul McCartney.

15 years from now you will be… I hope to make a career in music, whether it be in songwriting, producing, or as my own solo act. My talents are a gift that I never want to stop utilizing. And there’s just about nothing else that I enjoy more than making music.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  I like spending time with my brother and sister, or just enjoying the outdoors on a sunny day.

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

Congratulations to Skye for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with her song ‘Soaring’.  Here’s a bit about Skye and her songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Soaring’?  A girl at school said I couldn’t win a running race, so I decided to prove her wrong. I wrote this song after I won the race.

How long have you been writing songs?  I have been writing songs for fun since I was seven, but I never really thought they were any good until now. So THANK YOU Song Academy :)

How did you get into songwriting?  Sometimes I just felt like writing down what I was feeling and then I would sing the words over and over again in different ways and it just turns into a song.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve?  It allows me to be free and have fun with music and express how I am feeling. Usually I’m learning other people’s songs so this allows me to be me.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process?  My favourite part is the recording when I start to see all my words come together in a song.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you?  The most difficult part can be writing the music to match the words.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords?  I usually start with the chorus and melodies, and then start thinking about some lyrics and what I want to say.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  I really like that children get to show that they are good writers and get to perform like a professional artist.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs? I like many different styles of music, and my favourites change all the time depending on what I’m learning or listening too. One of my favourites is ‪Taylor Swift, Shake it off.  A more mellow and meaningful song I love is Fix you by Coldplay and I am working on learning a brilliant Tracey Chapman song, Fast Car at the moment.

15 years from now you will be…  15 years from now I will hopefully be on a giant stage singing one of my own songs, with giant inflatable unicorns being passed around the biggest crowd ever.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs?  Hmmmm, My four favourite things to do are: ballet, make slime (which drives my mum crazy!), run for my team Thames Valley Harriers, and busk on the corner of Portobello Road. I busk there most weekends. At first I did it to raise money for two of my favourite charities but now I’m saving for a Puppy!!!

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

Congratulations to Owain for being a Young Songwriter 2018 Finalist with his song ‘Broken’.  Here’s a bit about Owain and his songwriting.

What inspired you to write your SAYS18 finalist song ‘Broken’? I wrote ‘Broken’ after I split up from my girlfriend.

How long have you been writing songs? I have been writing songs since around the age of 13. I began guitar at the age of 12 and decided to try singing at the age of 13, which then led on to writing my own material.

How did you get into songwriting? I had been writing lots of poems and aspired to be an author when I was in primary school, inspired by my Grandad. I always preferred the creative tasks, such as writing a short story or drawing in art. I later adapted this writing skill, going from poems to lyrics when I went to secondary school and my music teacher, Bethan Jenkins, got me into songwriting.

What does songwriting allow you to explore and achieve? Song writing allows me to express myself easily and in a way others can enjoy. It can help get across different perspectives and can also be a very powerful tool in helping yourself, or others deal with a troubling or upsetting situations. Also, I like to think that people can relate to my music and not only enjoy it for the music it is but also the meaning beneath it. Also, it can be used to provoke thoughts in others. I think this is very important because it is good to look at things from alternate perspectives.

What’s your favourite part of the songwriting process? I enjoy all parts of the song writing process, but one of my favourite parts is when you write a powerful and catchy chorus or hook line. I think that these can make or break a song so when you come up with a really strong chorus it’s a great feeling. Also, it feels great when a song finally comes together and sounds complete. It’s a real confidence booster.

What’s the most difficult part of the creative process of songwriting for you? For me, the most difficult part of the process varies from song to song. Recently I have been struggling when coming up with new chord patterns as I have a tendency to reuse chords from previous songs. However, other days I might struggle to work on just one song at once, instead going back and forth between multiple songs which can turn out to be a bad thing as it means applying less consideration into each individual song.

Do you start with lyrics or melodies/chords? It really depends on the song and day. A lot of the time I’ll think of lyrics throughout the day and note them down on my phone, figuring out a melody later on. For the most part, I like to write the riff or chord pattern first, then write the melody and for lyrics to this melody as I find the lyrics the easiest part.

What do you like about Song Academy and our Young Songwriter competition?  I believe the Song Academy and the Young Songwriter Competition have many benefits. They not only provide a platform for songwriters to get their work listened to and get expert advice, but they also do this for young people, who can often feel limited in the experiences available to our age group. Also, there is no other competition like this that I know of in the UK, so I believe that this is an excellent idea and competition, providing a much needed opportunity to young songwriters.

Who are your three favourite artists/songs?  My favourite artists and songs are constantly changing. I like to stay like to stay current and evolve my music with the trends that I enjoy to listen to. Currently, I enjoy artists such as Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran and James Arthur. I also enjoy the Stereophonics, which is I believe is reflected in a few of my songs.

15 years from now you will be… In 15 years from now I aspire to be writing chart songs and deep into the industry. It’s ambitious, but I believe it can be done if I work hard enough.

What’s your favourite thing to do when you’re not writing songs? When I’m not writing songs, I enjoy going out with my friends. I think it’s important to go out and have a laugh with your mates as these times can often inspire a new song or idea so they go hand in hand in a way.

Our SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May at 6pm (GMT) on our Twitter channel.

Come & watch the top young songwriters from across the UK and Ireland perform @WestfieldLondon, Shepherd’s Bush in the Young Songwriter 2018 live showcase on Sunday 10th June, 2-5pm. Around 40 performers including winners, finalists & highly commended entrants, aged 8-18 will perform! #savethedate #newgeneration #talent #youngsongwriters #songwriting #newmusic #freeevent #SAYS18

Full line-up to be announced shortly.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

CREATIVITY • COURAGE • INDIVIDUALITY • SELF EXPRESSION • INSPIRATION

#SAYS18 #StrengtheningMentalHealth #Community  #Songwriting

The Young Songwriter 2018 finalists are announced and are being judged by our star-studded judging panel including Tom Odell, Guy Chambers & Imelda May

Finalists of the hotly contested Song Academy Young Songwriter (SAYS) 2018 competition have now been revealed. The SAYS18 winners will be announced on the 14th May! All finalists and highly commended entrants will perform live in front of family, friends and the general public at Westfield, London on Sunday 10th June, from 2pm to 5pm and the Young Songwriter 2018 compilation album will be released in June 2018.

8-12 years old category

Happy Birthday by Erik Antonyan, Soaring by Skye Bishop, All She Has To Do by Zoe Efstathiou, Interweaving by Daisy Grace Powell, City by Mia Bran, A.S. Bach by Asher Saipe , One Bad Day Won’t Bring Me Down by Laetitia Felix, Head Full Of Clouds by Greta Benn, Hello by Harry Hatcher, Dear Diary by Greta Benn.

13-18 years old category

Free Spirits by Lisa Kowalski, Broken by Owain Felstead, T-Shirt by Katie Kittermaster, Snapped by Lottie Jenkins, Like Lava by Matilda Mann, Trust Me by Tabitha Jade, Way You Move by Oscar Welsh, Only Me by Jade Thornton, Your Picture On The Mantelpiece by Joshua Shea, Bad Boy by Isabella Weinstein.

International category

Here I Am by Madi Earl, This Letter by Joe N Cave, Clara by Kevin Jones.

This year’s panel of award winning judges includes singer songwriters Tom Odell and Imelda May, songwriters & producers Guy Chambers (for Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, Kylie Minogue, & Mark Ronson), Eg White (Adele, Duffy, Take That, Pink), Tim Laws (Gabrielle, Lighthouse Family), Jessica Sharman (for Ward Thomas), Nicky Cox (editor, First News) and Nigel Elderton (Chairman, PRS for Music). A number of the judges will be at Westfield on 10th June to watch their favourites perform live.

This year’s competition attracted close to 500 high quality entries from cities across the world, from London, Dublin, Cairo, Helinski, Johannesburg, Nashville, New York, Reykjavik, Zagreb to Melbourne. 16% of entrants were aged 8-12, 41% aged 13-15 and 43% aged 16-18.  Girls were 70% of the entrants.

Analysis of entrants’ song themes and lyrics demonstrates that song writing is a hugely valuable outlet for young people to express their feelings and concerns and strengthen mental health. The main themes were: frustrating emotions of being in love (16%), moving on from a relationship after heartbreak or when it’s not working (14%), happiness of being in love (12%), anxieties and pressures of life (12%), importance of believing in yourself and being yourself (10%), being empowered in your life and being in control (8%). SAYS18 entrants expressed themselves with such power, imagination and creativity, both lyrically and musically, sharing their dreams, their pain, their hope & hearts with the world.

There were several noticeable differences between the age groups with the 8-12 year olds writing more about friendships and being empowered in your life and the 13-18 year olds focusing on the roller coaster emotions of being in love and moving on from destructive relationships.   A much higher proportion of the younger age group wrote about mental health themes of anxiety and pressures of growing up in today’s society, perhaps showing a need for more support at this younger age.

There was a wide variety of genres across SAYS18 songs, from folk to jazz, soul, rock, punk, reggae & pop. The younger age group wrote across a wider range of genres, with the pop genre as the most popular style. The older age group had a focus on acoustic folk (41%) with jazz/soul/blues and rock being popular styles.

The annual Song Academy Young Songwriter competition has gone from strength to strength since it’s launch in 2011 and is now the leading song writing competition for young people aged 8 to 18 across the UK and Ireland with a strong sense of community. It’s a springboard for the next generation of creative stars to get noticed by key players in the music industry, build confidence, have their voices heard and shine in the limelight.

During the SAYS18 competition period, 16.5 million people were reached across the Song Academy social media platforms and website. 19,000 people were engaging with SAYS18 with retweets, posts, comments, email click throughs. During the entry period there were 4,480 listens to the SAYS18 songs.

Tom Odell, singer songwriter said “When I was 13 years old I started writing songs, and over the following years I became more and more obsessed with it.  But the thing that always kept me awake at night was how to get them out there for people to hear them. This is why I think The Song Academy Young Songwriter competition is a great way to inspire and help through this process, and its something I wish had been around when I was starting out.”

Guy Chambers, songwriter & producer said “It’s a huge pleasure to be a part of this years judging panel for the Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018. I have always been a supporter and nurturer of young talent, so it will be great to see what this year’s competition has to offer. Good luck.”

Imelda May, singer songwriter said “I’m very glad to be part of The Song Academy Young Songwriter 2018 judging panel. Good songwriting is the foundation of all good music. This competition is also simply a great way for songwriters to meet other like minded people and I’m happy to encourage anyone to connect and excel in this beautifully expressive art form and cannot wait to hear the songs.”

Director of PRS for Music, Myles Keller said “This wonderful competition empowers young songwriters, enabling them to showcase their talent and offering them a ‘one of a kind’ opportunity to gain crucial feedback from some of the very best British songwriters. In the early stages of a career, this kind of help is like gold dust and really enables industry newcomers to build strong, sustainable careers. Music is integral to our nation’s identity and it is crucial that we nurture the next generation of songwriters now to ensure a creative future. PRS for Music is absolutely delighted to support such a positive and exciting competition.”

Keep a watch for The Song Academy’s spotlight blogs on each of the top ten finalists and hear the latest news on the Young Songwriter 2018 showcase and star guests to be attending via the Song Academy Twitter feed @SongacademyUK.

A big thank you to our SAYS18 sponsors, PRS for Music, SoundCloud, Focusrite, ICMP and Trinity College London.

Young Songwriter 2018 Press Release Finalists Announced

– Ends –

For further media information, photography, videos, interviews, etc., contact Rowena Atkins, Founder of Song Academy, rowena@songacademy.co.uk 07710 023743.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

Who are we? A Song Academy overview

The Song Academy champions young people aged 8-18 and is nurturing the next generation of songwriters & creative leaders.

We believe we have a unique concept which focuses on the hearts and minds of young people, giving them the tools and platform to express themselves and have their voices heard. We celebrate their individuality. We unleash their creativity and inspire them with what’s possible. We also connect them to a vibrant community of their peers who love writing original songs, as well as exposing their songs to key players in the Music Industry. Overall, we build young people’s confidence and self-belief.  Our focus is on the love of songwriting rather than the love of fame.

The Song Academy runs after-school sessions, holiday workshops, school workshops, birthday parties and an annual nationwide Young Songwriter competition. As a result of our programmes, we have seen a direct correlation in the increase and advancement of confidence, self-esteem, creativity, motivation, well-being and technical song-writing ability in our members. More information is at https://www.songacademy.co.uk.

www.songacademy.co.uk

contact@songacademy.co.uk

07710 023743

We’re delighted to announce the highly commended songs in The Young Songwriter 2018 competition. Enjoy listening to them!  All finalists and highly commended entrants in the UK & Ireland will be invited to perform in our Young Songwriter 2018 showcase at Westfield, London.  The finalists are shown on our Young Songwriter 2018 competition page

In the spirit of developing the songwriting talents of young people we offer an excellent song feedback service, offering ideas on how to develop your songs.  We cover lyrics, melodies and the production/structure of your songs.

SAYS18 Highly Commended, 8-12 year category

SAYS18 Highly Commended, 13-18 year category

SAYS18 Highly Commended, International Category

Keep a watch out for the winners announcement on 14th May!

A big thank you to our wonderful SAYS18 sponsors, PRS for Music, SoundCloud, Focusrite, ICMP and Trinity College London.

 

Song Academy had the pleasure of chatting to Imelda May about what she thinks is important about songwriting.  She shared some ideas for young songwriters to help develop their talents.  What stands out during our conversation was how passionate Imelda is about the art of songwriting and the positive difference it makes to the songwriter.

Imelda believes that songwriting is an art and there’s no right or wrong way to approach writing songs.  During her songwriting journey, from her first song aged 13 to becoming one of Ireland’s most celebrated artists, she has gained a number of insights which have helped her develop and enjoy the songwriting process.

Focus on the song not the end of result

Make sure your song has strong roots and don’t worry about whether it’ll be a hit or whether people will like it.   Approach songwriting as a personal journey where you can be fully self expressed and take a stand for what’s important to you .  The beauty of songwriting is that you can write from personal experiences or what’s going on for those that are close to you. You can change the roles whenever you want.  The power of songwriting is that it’s universal and non-judgemental.  Songwriting is a wonderful way of saying something to someone when you’re uncomfortable telling them directly.  It’s also a great outlet for releasing your emotions.

Imelda writes mostly about personal experiences so she has all the fine details to craft into a song.  If she’s writing for someone else – she’ll ask many questions and do a lot of research to get the fine detail. You need to immerse yourself in what it’s like to be that person and capture exactly what what’s going on in the story of the song.  Memories can be described across all the senses that are unique to the particular person.

Enjoy the songwriting process, don’t be afraid & keep writing

Songs are important but let yourself be free writing and don’t worry about getting it ‘right’.  Learn from your mistakes – it’s a journey.  Songs will be ready at the time and then you often look back on your songs and think oh I’d change that part now.

When Roy Orbiston was asked, “What’s your best song”, he answered, “I haven’t written it yet”.  It’s important to keep being inspired to write better and better songs.

Always carry a notebook to capture ideas

Inspiration for songs can happen at anytime.  Always carry a notebook, and jot down words, sentences, poems and thoughts when they arise out of the blue.  Then when you sit down purposefully to write you have inspiration for your songs ready if needed.

Listen to as many songwriters as you can

Listen to many songwriters’ songs and read their lyrics.  See what inspires you.  Some songs have full lyrical stories, others have space for melodies/composition and lyrics are repeated.  The opening lines are crucial for getting the listener’s attention, drawing them in and making them keen to know more.  Here are a couple of Imelda’s favourite songs:

Roy Orbiston – In Dreams

The Pogues & Kirsy McColl – Fairytale of New York

Sam Cook – A Change Is Gonna Come

What two words sum up the value of songwriting?

Expression and Connection.  Through expressing yourself you connect with others and connection is so important and what makes us human & happy.

Imelda is excited about listening to our Young Songwriter 2018 competition songs!  The entry deadline is the 8th April – make sure you enter your original songs and connect to an international community of young songwriters all passionate about songwriting.

#SAYS18

Show, don’t tell, Jason Blume’s lyrical AID

In this lyric writing series we give music teachers guidance on supporting their pupils with lyric writing – the technique of showing your listener a ‘scene unfolding’ rather than simply telling your audience how the singer feels.

American songwriter Jason Blume, who’s had hits with Britney Spears and the Backstreet Boys, says whilst there are no rules to songwriting, ‘there are tools’ to help you craft that perfect hit.

And all you need is a simple AID – action, imagery, detail.

Action:

Use verbs (action or doing words) to help illustrate what is going on in your song. For example, instead of saying ‘I miss you and I’m sad’, try and ‘show what missing someone and being sad’ looks like :

  • ‘I wipe the tears falling from my eyes’
  • ‘I clutch a tear stained picture of you’
  • ‘I drove by where we first met’
  • ‘I couldn’t walk through the door where we said our last goodbye’

The action words are ‘wipe’ ‘clutch’ ‘drove’ ‘walk’.

And instead of saying ‘I love you’ or ‘I’m in love’, why not show what a person in love does?

  • ‘I wrote our names inside a heart, engraved upon a tree’
  • ‘I hand picked and carried home 100 flowers for you and put a vase in every room’
  • ‘I sing your name like a favourite song’

The action words are ‘wrote’ ‘picked’ ‘carried’ and ‘sing’.

Write a list of action words down before starting on your next song and try and use at least 5 of them in your next song to show what your feeling.

Imagery:

Blume says ‘whilst you cannot see heartbreak you can see the images and actions that convey that a person is heartbroken’:

  • ‘She fell to her knees, laying flowers on his grave’
  • ‘He kisses her photo’
  • ‘His tears hit the floor like a waterfall of pain’

The images are ‘knees’ ‘flowers’ ‘grave’ ‘photo’ ‘tears’ ‘floor’ ‘waterfall’. Blume also states that by including ‘tangible items’ and nouns in your lyrics like ‘furniture, clothing, a car, a house, a specific place, food, you enable your audience to enter your song.’

Along with your list of action words, try and write down a list of images and every day nouns to try and include in your next song.

Detail: 

This is the third part of AID that will help you to show your listener what is going on in your song. This time we’re searching for adjectives (describing words) and adverbs (describing verbs) to help the listener visualise your song more clearly. For example, if we were to go one step further with some of our examples from the Imagery section above and add a bit more detail to the floor, or the grave, you have something like this…

  • ‘She falls to her knees on the cold, muddy ground and lays white lilies on his grave’
  • ‘He tenderly kisses the photo of their wedding day in his old rocking chair
  • ‘His bitter tears slowly hit the wooden floor of his kitchen, like a cascading waterfall of pain’

Even with a few additional adjectives and adverbs, the scenes are much clearer to visualise; you can hear the creak of the old rocking chair, you can taste the bitter tears that fall onto the floor and see him in the kitchen, you can feel the cold muddy ground that she falls to – instantly you have transported your listener directly into the scene of your song, as if they are there with the singer, watching over what is happening.

So next time you’re stuck for lyrics, all you need is a little AID to help you on your way.

Enter your songs into our Young Songwriter 2018 competition before the 8th April.

 

Our Young Songwriter 2018 competition is open for entries until the 8th April.

If your pupils are new to songwriting here are a few top tips to be heard above the noise…

  1. Pick an interesting title
    Even if you are talking about a mundane, everyday occasion or feeling, make it interesting. Compare a heartbeat to a flashing light or the feeling of losing fear by roaring it away – the more inventive the concept around the ordinary, the better. Think of recent hits Dark Horse, Wrecking Ball, Pompeii – interesting titles and concepts talking about everyday feelings to do with fear, love and empowerment.
  2. Make the first four lines agree with your title
    The great songwriter Ralph Murphy says it very well in his books on the laws of songwriting – if the first four lines of your first verse can link back to your title then you’re onto a winner. Take for example Roar:

I used to bite my tongue and hold my breath
Scared to rock the boat and make a mess
So I sat quietly
Agreed politely
.. Now you’re gonna hear me roar

You create an expectation, and then you fulfil it. By doing this, you never lose sight of the message of your song, you keep in mind what you’re trying to say by always referring back to the title, thus never losing your listeners’ attention or the concept you’re expressing in your song.

  1. Playing around with a major or minor scale for new melodies
    Everyone know the monotonous sound of a scale being practised up and down and up and down – but if you’re stuck for melodies, why not try and take notes out of the scale and use those to bounce ideas off?

For example, if we take the c major scale of CDEFGABC, why not try picking out certain notes and changing the order; CDGCDFCB.  Play around with different combinations until your find the melody you’re looking for? You can choose any scale you like in major or minor.

  1. Hooks
    It has been said that the most successful ABBA songs have 5 hooks in each of their songs. A hook is a musical idea, melodic instrumental part, rhythmic phrase or a vowel/consonant sound or word repeated, that catches the ear of the listener to draw them into the song and helps to create its ‘catchiness’. According to popular commercial music today, the more hooks you can introduce throughout the song, the catchier it will be, because it’s constantly enticing the listener and, most importantly, keeping them interested. Listen to the start of Dancing Queen and the vocal ahhs and piano part before the hooky first line of the chorus, or Jessie J’s Price Tag (It’s all about the money, money, money/We don’t need your money, money, money) and try and think about hooks for your own song, either lyrically, repeating the main message of the song (e.g. Roar or Burn) or melodically, on an instrument or vocal oohs or aahs.
  2. Detail
    If you are listening to a song and the singer sings

You wore that shirt
In spring
In the sunshine

that’s all well and good. But if they were to add a bit more detail, you’d instantly have a much clearer vision of the setting which the singer is remembering and sharing with you, the listener:

You wore that dark blue shirt
On April 5th
In the warm spring sunshine

Instantly, there is context, there is detail, there is a picture in your mind and you can see what you are hearing. Imagery in songs is hugely powerful because once there is a description being sung to you, you can imagine it and therefore feel more involved in the song itself. And that’s what songs do, they connect people, they provide solace for people to know that they are not the only ones who feel or think a certain way, and all of these emotions and thoughts are translated to the masses by the medium of songwriting.

So to sum up, our top tips for writing hits are – create an interesting title, make the first four lines agree with your title, play around with your melodies, create hooks and get descriptive!  Have a play and we’re looking forward to listening to your pupils’ songs.  Enter our Young Songwriter 2018 competition before the 8th April.

Enriching young people’s musical knowledge, fostering self-belief and giving opportunities to showcase their creative & musical talents & build sustainable careers in the music industry

In today’s world, being creative isn’t easy. There are so many technological distractions which can easily cut children off from the real world and encourage them to live in a game and social media world. But supposing your child had something they wanted to share but didn’t know how to express it? Or what if they were afraid that their creativity would be laughed at or frowned upon? Or they are starting a new school and have worries but feel embarrassed or unable to talk about them directly, or perhaps they’ve lost someone close or quarrelled with a friend and don’t know how to express their emotions? This is where Song Academy can come in – a place where children learn to write their own songs about whatever they like.

Music and especially songwriting is a powerful tool when it comes to expressing emotions. Songs are often written from the heart – whether joyful or sorrowful – and the very act of composing and writing lyrics and melodies can be very cathartic. Indeed the Ancient Greeks believed if you had sorrow and you wrote it down in a song for Apollo he would take away the pain! Many musicians and therapists believe that songwriting is a great way to discover and process feelings of all kinds – hope, fear, joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiety which can all be uncovered as children learn to play with words and melodies. The physical act of writing down what they are feeling can help children distance themselves from worries and fears as well as express wishes, hopes and dreams.

Song Academy is not a run-of-the-mill after school songwriting club; it is a safe, creative environment which offers children the opportunity to write out and sing their feelings, expressing themselves freely through song. They get the unique opportunity to write with others, understand how other children might be feeling, and so learn how to be sensitive towards others, as well as exposing them to a multitude of different view points and ways of life. Also, they are learning how to sing, how to perform to an audience, both individually and in a group, which helps them gain confidence whilst extending their knowledge of music theory & composition in a fun, exciting environment.

The Song Academy staff are all young enthusiastic professional songwriters and musicians who delight in helping children find their own words, melodies and voice.

For the gifted young songwriters our international Young Songwriter competition offers a unique platform to get their songs heard by key players in the music industry and stand out for their creative and musical talents.  The SAYS18 entry deadline is the 8th April.

Song Academy supports music education and is a powerful extension to the music curriculum in schools as well as the English and PSHE curriculums, through running songwriting clubs and workshops in primary & secondary schools.