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I love listening to the songs that readers of my blog have been writing, and I love giving suggestions for improvement. Lately, I’ve been getting a lot of requests to listen to songs my readers have been writing, and am doing my best to listen and get back to you all. That said, I have some requests and suggestions for you if you’d like for me to listen to something you’ve done. (If you’d like for me to listen, please read this entire post.)
- Please don’t send a sound file to my email. It’s better to upload it to a secure site such as SoundCloud, or some other equivalent online service, or upload it to your own website and then send me a link. If the song is unfinished, or if you’re worried about security, most online services (SoundCloud included) will allow you to upload privately, and the song won’t appear on your profile. You can then send me the link privately through email (contact info at the end of this post).
- I will make the assumption that you think something needs fixing. It can help me understand the kind of musician you are if you tell me what you think is wrong with your song, and also what you think is right about it. Don’t just send me a link and ask me what I think of your song. Tell me the specific problem you’re having if you can. Example: “I’m almost finished this tune, but something about the verse melody is bothering me.” That’s a good kind of question, because it tells me that you’ve got the issue narrowed down a bit, and then I’m able to be more concise in my suggestions.
- My expertise is in musical composition and performance issues, not sound recording techniques. I’m not the person to ask if you should have used an AKG K-181, or if it’s OK to apply phantom power to a dynamic microphone. There are better people around to answer those kinds of technical questions.
- My time is a bit limited. I love listening and helping songwriters whenever I can, but I probably only have time for a reply, and then an additional correspondence if you want to fix things and request another listen. This is not an open-ended offer of help, so I’ll do my best to make concise suggestions for improving what you’re working on.
- (I don’t necessarily like this, but) I tend to prioritize requests to listen by tending to purchasers of my songwriting manuals first. That’s mainly because I assume that they’ve been applying the guidelines and principles I’ve described in my books, and problems with their songs are often solved quickly.
- I don’t charge for this, so please consider this an offer to give some quick observations and help, not a songwriting lesson as such.
I always respect the work that any songwriter does, and so you can expect me to be respectful and courteous always in my correspondence with you. It’s never my style to express myself negatively when I’m helping others. I confess that I’m opinionated when it comes to music, but I only express those opinions if they’re relevant to what you need from me.
Also, keep in mind that some music will sound great even though some basic principles of songwriting have been violated. That’s the nature of music. So if your song is working well and people seem to like it, be happy with that! It’s then time to move on to your next one.
If you think I can help you solve a problem you’re having with a song you’re writing, please write me and include a link: songs [at] secretsofsongwriting [dot] com. (reminder: no sound files, please).
All the best with your songwriting projects!
Written by Gary Ewer. Follow on Twitter.
“The Essential Secrets of Songwriting” 6-eBook Bundle looks at songwriting from every angle, and has been used by thousands of songwriters. How to use chords, write melodies, and craft winning lyrics. $
95.70 $37.00 (and you’ll receive a FREE copy of “From Amateur to Ace: Writing Songs Like a Pro.“)