Saturday, June 13, 2009

Why community music matters

Community music is incredily important, but it seems that here in Australia fewer and fewer people participate. You only have to go to an ANZAC day dawn service, or carols by candlelight, to hear how afraid people are to sing out loud and sing out strong. That's because people don't really sing anymore. Growing up in a Christian family, attending a christian school, you really take singing for granted. Outside of the church it's a different story...few sing, and when they do, they are terrible. When was the last time you heard someone singing happy birthday in tune? Does anyone even know the tune anymore? They've still just about got the rhythm, but the pitch is gone. How long before the rhythm is gone too? Sharing the singing of a song which has words everyone can believe in is a wonderful, joyous experience. That's the church's big 'secret' weapon. I see sports clubs still using it too. I think solidiers still sing songs while they're doing their training together too, at least, they do in the movies. But the general public is falling mute. It's very sad. That's why I'm starting a community group for songwriters. There's alot of people writing songs who never get heard, and if you compare them to the radio, then perhaps that seems correct. However, after years of listening to songs, I'm not so fussed about what's in the charts, though I still like to know what's current. What's really moving isn't someone trying to get me to buy their record. It's someone sharing the contents of their mind with me and striving to communicate more effectively. That person is someone I can be friends with. Maybe it's the same with blogs?

On feedback and critcism of music

There are very few good critics in the world. As someone who has been writing songs for a long time, I've gradually, and painfully, learned that not everyone has some thing to say that you need to pay attention to. These days I take postive comments about my songs with a smile, and I take negative comments critically. A person who says that your song 'needs more oomph' or 'is too flat' is not offering you useful feedback. They are just using unecessary words to tell you something you can see from their face: they didn't enjoy your song. If you try to imbue these words with meaning you are only hurting yourself and your pride in your work. Everyone who likes music wants to believe they have somthing useful to say about it. Unfortunately, that just isn't true. These days I only listen to people who can give me very specific pointers eg 'the title is in the wrong place', 'that phrase syncopates badly at bar 100', and so on. I will only accept what they say if they have some qualification to back them up - either academic or real world.

Friday, June 12, 2009

The music business

Think about how much the music business is really about what other people listen to, about what other people think is cool. It's called the herd instinct. Music seems to be, for the most part, something that humans use to *ahem* lubricate the mating game. Once the mating has happened, the mortgage, the kids, the job and the car seem to take over, and no one has time for music anymore....well a few do, but they're just loons. Fruit loops. Like me!

My mission is to celebrate the ordinary everyday emotions that people experience. What's wrong with that? I'd like to know! After all, why can't I celebrate being bored at work? Why can't I celebrate the sun at lunchtime? Why can't I celebrate the fact that as I travel on the train everyday I'm overtaking those suckers on the freeway? More importantly, why can't it be just as much fun to listen to those emotions as to hearing about someone else's love affair, which is what most songs seem to be about. I'm not going to live a soap opera just to find material for songs.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

It's all content.

Hi Reader!

Congratulations, you have arrived at the blog of a total and utter fruit loop. I'll be writing about songs and music, mostly, from my unique perspective - the total outsider. I am just the right side of normal, but I have few allegiances. Maybe that's because of my upbringing - I moved every 3 years of my life so far (now age 34) all over the world. My only allegiance is to the truth, and to writing songs.

I think I'll leave it at that for now.