BMI’s Creative teams provide advice, make introductions and work with writers every day. So, who better to answer this month’s question?
Charlie Feldman, BMI Creative, New York:
One great way to evaluate and improve your song as you are developing it is to do work tapes throughout the process and listen back. It helps to give yourself a period of time away from listening in order to gain a better perspective. Be your own toughest critic and if you are doubtful about a word or line in your lyric, don’t settle for it. Craft and improve the word(s).
Dave Claassen, BMI Creative, Atlanta:
In songwriting, what separates many is the skill of active listening. Like active pickups, active listening amplifies the source to make its signal louder or more impactful. Active listening requires one’s maximum focus and willingness to understand, experiment with and critically reflect on what one hears. It’s mindfully engaging with what you hear—not just passively listening—and showcasing it in multiple styles / song formulas that others can experience for themselves.
Practice actively listening to:
- your own voice
- to what you hear / what you want to hear
- to what your peers hear / want to hear
This kind of listening doesn’t come easily; it requires patience, humility, drive, and vision. The upshot is that there’s a learning curve to everything, even listening. If practiced with discipline, like making music and crafting songs, one can perfect his/her craft. You hear me?
Keep an eye out for more helpful info from BMI’s many thought leaders right here in The Weekly!