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I started a short songwriting course on Coursera and found it a really interesting and worthwhile endeavour. At the moment, we are dealing mostly on the idea generating aspect of it, and more on the lyrical aspect rather than melody. What I never realised was just how useful this was, for me, as an exercise in organising my creative output. I mean, in the past, I tried writing songs but they were rubbish because I had no way of putting together all my jumbled up thoughts into one coherent idea for a song. I wasn’t aware of the very close relationship between lyric and melody in a song – how they must both mesh together properly to produce a good song. So I was wasting my time away plucking at guitar strings, picking out little melodies first, and then trying to think of words to go with it. Well it didn’t work for me. Not at all. Not sure if it worked for others. It must do, for some. But not for me. I just ended up with some really crappy cheesy lyrics. And crappy songs.

Now its not that I don’t have a musical ear, I think. I always dabbled in melody composition, from when I was forced by mum to do piano lessons at 6, all the way up to adulthood (when mum ceased to be an authoritative voice in my life). I love a good melody. Its like crack cocaine to me, lol (not that I’ve ever done crack, heroin, or any of those class A stuff). But that’s just how I’d describe my love of a good tune. I will tinker around with the piano or the guitar and I just love the sounds of a good tune.

But putting words to a song is something I’ve felt completely handicapped in. Its strange because I have always found learning languages, writing and composition easy, satisfying and rewarding. But I can’t seem to write a song I’m happy with. I mean a song complete with words!

So… and I don’t know how or what led me to the Coursera Songwriting course page in the first place. But like an answer to my prayers – albeit an answer to my lifelong desire to be able to write a good song with words – this just… came into my life one day. I signed up for it, needless to say. Took me like 3 minutes to decide this was for me.

Then the course started and my interest waned a little. I doubted myself.. I doubted I had the ability to do this. And I held back on starting the course. Then 5 days after the course started, I received an email reminding me the first assignment was due in 3 days’ time. And that whipped me into shipshape. Lol…

I managed to submit my first assignment in time by the way… although it was done in a day, so a bit rushed. I have learnt about the technicalities of songwriting, if you will. And it is no longer the enigmatic and elusive subject I used to think it as.

More importantly, I find this course to be a journey of self-discovery for me. I’ve learnt so much more about myself, sieving through my thoughts, feelings, and coming clean with them.

Its definitely one of the most worthwhile courses I’ve ever taken in my entire life. And I can’t believe its free. Thanks Pat (course lecturer) for designing such a course. You opened my mind to a world of possibility I’ve always wanted to be a part of. Music has always been a major part of my life. I can live without computers, the internet, handphone, etc… but a life without music is not a life worth living at all.

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