Education

Songwriter Confessions #1

Looking up this week from getting a reggae backing to sound like St Ann rather than St Felicity, I spotted the small dark mist in the usual corner behind the left monitor speaker. I have sometimes believed absolutely that this is my best muse, back from a pizza run to the outer starbelt. Or maybe just the golden ring around Uranus. Anyhoo…It seems to bring inspiration in a dark way: more Keith Richards than Cliff Richard, and I feel the urge to write something that involves leather, whips and a snare drum that sounds like Pavarotti hitting the water from the top board. I dig out my file called Heavy Riffs That AC/DC Lost Under The Driver’s Seat. It would help if the word MURDER appeared in the first lyric line: that always gets the bowie knives out. As Sam Goldwyn said: Start with an exploding volcano and build up from there to a climax.

I can’t emphasise how important the first two lines of the first verse are, in any song.This is where you the artist set the hook in their miniscule attention spans or not. If you simper your way into a song, as per a style I like to call Captain Cliche, you’ve probably lost them before the second guitar comes in. Please avoid a first verse that goes like this: ooh I love you, yes it’s true, what am I supposed to do, baby I know without you, all my dreams are down the loo…blah blah…

Anybody still awake? The only thing that might just save that song would be a beat strong enough to flip Lazarus out of the grave and over the horizon. I never thought that the years I spent writing ad copy for various ad agencies would be worth so much to me now. The rule in advertising is: when you’ve written the headline, you’ve spent 80c of your dollar. It’s got to hook them. It’s gotta say something different about a subject you’ve heard a million times. Take the neverending subject of LOVE ( also known as LURV…the NASTY…and BUMPING UGLIES) If I taught songwriting, one of the first projects I would set would have to be: write a song about LOVE, but make it interesting.Make it different. Make the listener say: I never thought of it that way before. Now Paul McCartney, being famous, doesn’t have to work as hard as the rest of us. So he calls it: Another Silly Love Song. With a chorus that goes: iloveyouiloveyouiloveyou. Phew, Macca…time to open the window!

Here’s how I do it: my song is called: If You Were Icecream… and the first verse is: If you were icecream, I would eat you, with a very small spoon… if you were starlight, I’d go to meet you, halfway to the moon… I think that’s a lot more interesting than Paulie’s but hey, he’s famous, and I’ve just started kicking at the door. For more examples of how I approach first verses and songs in general, scoot along to my new site or click on the link below.

Must get into town for some new acoustic guitar strings. Haven’t changed them for a year, and No..there’s no direct link between underwear rotation and guitar strings. And-a one…two…three…

 

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Education

Cell Phones and the Dentist

Don’t you just hate people who talk on their cell phones while they drive? Blindly babbling away, not paying attention to the road, endangering everyone nearby … so inconsiderate.

Anyway, today while I was chatting on the phone and driving to the dentist, I got a tiny bit distracted and turned onto the wrong road … twice. But I cleverly figured out a shortcut back to where I belonged and pulled into the parking lot right on time. Unfortunately, it was the parking lot at my doctor’s office, not my dentist’s.

Now, I’ve always been a little reluctant to go to the dentist. When I was young, they used to lie to me to get me there. Of course once I knew what was happening I would throw a crying fit — in the car on the way to the dentist, in the elevator on the way up to the office, in the waiting room, in the dentist’s chair throughout the entire visit, in the office while my mother paid, in the elevator on the way down, in the car on the way home, and once again when my father came home that night just to be sure everyone knew how I felt about it.

My mother was afraid of the dentist. And she shared that fear and its effects with her children. She picked our dentist based solely on the fact that he would give her lots of Novocain. Lots of Novocain. Much Novocain. Beyond that, she never really bothered about the skills-as-a-dentist thing.

My own theory is that dentistry was invented by Beelzebub, based largely on the fact that our dentist looked exactly the way I imagined a Devil’s minion would look. And, oh, by the way, when we were finally done and wanted nothing more than to run as fast and as far as possible, he would smile at us kids, with his coke-bottle-thick glasses making him look popeyed, and hand us each a lollipop. Maybe not the best dentist, but surely a clever businessman lining up return customers.

Today, even after better dentists have shown me that there may possibly be some redeeming value in dental care, I still get a bit unsettled before an appointment. Therefore, I have two things to say about the cell phone thing:

1) It might have been the fact of going to the dentist that distracted me and not the cell phone. I think, maybe, my subconscious was trying to get me to go to the wrong place and miss my appointment completely. Self-protection is a very powerful instinct in times of peril. That could explain it.

2) If it was the cell phone use, I think I deserve an exemption from condemnation because, after all, I was on my way to the dentist. Maybe I wouldn’t have been able to talk again when I came out. One little slip of the drill and, oops. Or I could have choked on one of the forty appliances they had crammed into my mouth just before asking me how I was doing.

Either way, I feel completely justified in continuing to judge others if they use a cell phone while driving. Unless, of course, I learn that they were on their way to the dentist.

 

Education

Is College In Your Future? These Tips Will Help

If you’re reading this article, then it’s likely that you or someone you know is about to graduate high school. One of the first things you need to do is to pick out which college you want to attend. Some colleges are better than others and it is important that you pick a good one. Read on to see how to pick a college that works with you.

Be realistic when planning to work while in college. If mornings are not your best time of day, starting a day with an early challenging class is just begging for trouble. Working around your own bodies schedule can help you to ultimately succeed.

If you already know that college requires a lot of money that you don’t have, get a loan. College is an investment in your future. Consider all factors carefully, but don’t be afraid to take out a reasonable amount of debt to secure your future.

Check if there is a study skills class available. Alot of college students did well in high school, but they are lost in college. This course can help build better habits to lead to college success.

Always maintain a healthy diet. The term “freshman 15” exists for a reason. Be aware of what is going in your mouth. Try not to eat too many on the go foods like pizza or fast food. Though such items are quick and inexpensive, but they do not offer the nutrients you really need.

Study as much as possible every day. When you work as hard as possible, you’ll reap great rewards. You should still take time out to relax, but treat your education as you would a full-time job. The more effort you can put into your schoolwork, the better chance you have at having a better career after graduation.

Double check that you have all of the required materials when it is time to take your exams. If you forget an item, this can cause stress while affecting your overall score on the exam. Extras are not always available, so stay organized to avoid disaster.

Every college is different. College can change the outcome of the rest of your life. The tips from this article will allow you to make the best decisions. Keep in mind that your choice will not only impact your next four years, but it’ll also impact the rest of your life. Therefore, make sure you make the right choice.