Monday, October 17, 2011

Notes from Bob Kauflin Songwriters’ Dinner

Editing and collaboration.
Years ago, Bob used to get writers to present their songs to a big group. This didn’t work. People expressed contradictory opinions and confusion resulted. Now they do it with an American Idol style panel. 
A great song (or the makings of a great song) will be recognisable straight away. 
Bob might say ‘great tune idea’ then send them back an edited version. The writer may or may not like Bob’s edits. If they don’t like them then they should re-write it themselves. But the bad line can’t stay in. 
If you have to ask 'what does it mean?’ then the song is not worth working on.
Bob encourages a good collaborative attitude between writers. If someone else can come up with a great lyric for your song - ask for help. Bob will often say - "you go work on this with x."
'If we don't ALL think this is a great song, why would we inflict it on the church?'
What hinders process? - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
Bob might suggest concepts.
Don't defend your line. Come up with a better line.
We need to be much harder on ourselves. None of us has done our best yet.
Don't give in to despair/discouragement 'I'll never write another good song again.' Boo hoo. If you don't try you certainly won't. 
Hard work. Need to work with each other in this.
What hinders collaborative process - when someone insists that others must like their idea.
What makes a good song?
Mark asks - Do you have a style vision ... A unity you're aiming at? It’s easier to collaborate if you all share style vision. [great question!]
Bob says, I don't know. - Here's what I'm aiming at.
Easy to sing - range a-d
Stepwise movements
Not too many unexpected twists - except one good one.
Easy to learn.
Easy to understand (for all believers)
Creative imagery vs confusing language
If people don't get it, it's not a good metaphor.
Isaac watts quote.
Normal words put together in a good way.
Hard to forget - memorable - words and tune.
Hard to dismiss - compelling, inspiring, fresh
Hard to categorise - appealing to one generation is easy. Needs to be a style that appeals to everyone - A really good song. Songs that unite not divide people. Style maybe ... If it’s authentic, you'll probably get away with it.
So styles may be different on one album... but what looking for is what comes out of you. 
Stay away from wanting to write in a 'style that makes people love us.'
Worship isn't a 'sound'. People think that worship sounds like 'this'. Organ, or hillsong.
Bob wants 7-8 songs out of 12 that churches WILL sing.
When focussing on words, we tend to be wordy and not leave 'space'
Q - What Songs of yours are the most popular?
A - hymn-like ones. (Q - same with emu?)
Shouldn't judge song by whether our fans like it. Fans are too generous. Won’t make us better writers.

1 comment:

  1. THanks for putting me onto this Simone. Very helpful. Will add to the list...