Who is organized in their song process?

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I have a bunch of songs that need tweaking from 50/90 as well as some from FAWM, plus others besides. They may require word changes or notes put to them, recordings, then proper formatting for others' use. Its a bit overwhelming. What methods do you all use to decide which songs to polish first and what are your steps to doing so and what is your success rate in a defined period of time in completing what you started in these forums? I sure could use some organizing tips.

This is not an optimal strategy, but I went through and re-listened to my 50/90 output the last few days and figured out which 20 of my solo tracks I wanted to continue to work on. And I'm going to work on them chronologically, oldest to newest. And let me know, @kc5, if you want me to work on any of our co-writes.

kc5's picture

You mean collabs right [@ metalfoot]? Yes. Lets stay in touch between 50/90 and FAWM. I'd love to continue that collaboration relationship!

5090 + FAWM + other songs = overwhelming. So for now, concentrate on 5090 songs. From your last 10 songs, pick ONE that you like the most. Make note of which other ones are close. Is this song worth [X] more hours of my life? If no, I pick a different song.

What is the point of revising this song? What do I need? A writing experiment may only need lyrics typed out. Something for my own enjoyment may need a chord sheet, and a simple demo. For a jazz band, I'd need a lead sheet. For an orchestra, I'd need full arrangement and notation of all the parts.

When I revise, I look at the big things first. Does this song work? Is the chorus easy to remember, easy to sing? Does the intensity rise as the song progresses? Does the story make sense [if it's supposed to]? If the song doesn't work, make it work.

Then I revise each section. I usually start with chorus, then go to verses. What am I trying to say? Does this section say it clearly? If not, why not? I make sure each line is there for a purpose, work on the rhyme scheme, and get the verse rhythms similar to each other, I kill cliches, and search for more powerful words and phrases.

I do the same thing for the melody and harmony [chords] *IF* I decide to put music to my lyrics. It's a fun, creative game, but using a different part of the brain. Is this chorus effective? Would this melody line be more effective? What about those chords?

You could go over and over and over and over on a song. So I'll usually set a time limit. "I've got X time to rewrite. So I'll do the best I can in that time, then move on." "I've got 4 hours today, and 3 songs I want to record. I could do a one take demo on 1 of them, spend an hour on song 2, and then record keyboard parts on song 3 for the other [almost 3] hours."

That's my writing time for today Smile I hope that's a help. My success rate is: 100% of the songs I have taken time to revise are better than they were before I revised them. 0% are perfect.

I have a different method...only do 8 songs...work on those! Biggrin

I just write em and move on. I don't think I've ever re-recorded a song.

I planned not to actually redo my songs on 50/90, I would rather write new songs. I figured it's better to use the songs in 50/90 as a template to see how far I've gone from writing my first couple of songs to my recent ones. It's also useful to see what I did wrong in writing my songs, and what to improve on when writing my next song.

Like @Fuzzy, I'm in the write 'em and move on camp for most songs. But each FAWM or 50/90 yields a song or two that I continue to perform. And since last 50/90, I've done instrumentals that I use (the recordings, not live performance) in the yoga classes I teach.
Tonight, I'll be playing two or three of my current 50/90 songs, and maybe a couple of songs that came from past FAWMs.
I have a project planned for the 8 solo banjo instrumentals I recorded this 50/90, too - yoga-related, again.

I think I'm a bit like Veg and Chip up there... I try... to as I go, do this:

-- If after a time find is worth saving, goes into my "Song File" book, in "green" color font, -- indicates, is noted to me and NOT printed.

-- If entered in that file, it then "here" gets a [] in front of the Title, indicating it was looked at, and as above (so I don't keep scanning the 5090 list). (You can see, I didn't get to far even on that : )

-- Then, if printed, the green turns to black color font; and, it goes into my "Song Book" ... to be worked on.

-- Typically, in short order is thrown out, and re-colored green in the file, again (I revisit on occasion and "see" something... etc.)

-- I seem to have/keep about 50 songs, I'll "guess"; all of different "context" use

I think, not sure, --I have a top~10ish of what I like to play. But, seems to happen 1, 2 x's a year I play the entire book and pull some forward, "hearing" something. The Songs in this "play book" get formally CR'd, registered, to a "collection" (I have my "notes" and time line for other if ever an issue ("here", FB, other counts too)..., like "Patent" work, --your notes, do count, etc.)

--- --- ---
It's interesting to me that, if they remain in the "Song Book" for performance, --they never change after that (barring a jam session, etc.) They do become what THEY want to be ... and fiddle with them, until they make "that" clear to me : )

Since ALL, are "reactions" of some kind to something..., they make sense to me, and actually : ) --others too ... who are from that "Context".

This context issue is why I never say I don't like a song, -- I just don't have a reaction for it and don't bond. So, for example, most "hate" songs, I really don't get, men/gender-haters, race-haters, suicidal, "Legalistic" "Christian" songs, etc. I am not "legalistic" in my taste and do like some edgy stuff, but, it doesn't cross some kind of emotional line "with *me", anyway. ~~No judgment, but how I even pick my own stuff, --Effect on me.

Too, then, they do seem to affect/effect others, -- and that potential, though rare ? : ) keeps me doing stuff, "here", not just for myself, -- as I did for years. What for if not "reacted" to ..., but now know "different".

Organization, what's that?

I wouldn't say that I'm organized, but my playing partner and I finished recording a CD this last spring and 3 of those songs were previous 50/90 songs. My criteria for doing more with a song is:
A. Do I like it?
B. Can I do it acoustically?
C. Do others respond well when I perform it?
There are a few from this year's 50/90 that I really like. Some I've already tried out in open mics and they've gotten a good response. When I get around to it I'll re-record them I think. I really like to be able to perform a song live if I'm going to record it though.

I like to write new songs and move on. But if I only write new stuff, and never edit or revise, I only get rough drafts. I lose out on half the learning process. So typically a month after FAWM, I go through the lyrics I wrote. Do I remember the chorus? Any of the words in the verses? There are usually a couple songs that have stuck in my brain for that month. They've usually changed a little. I may have changed some words, or the melody in my head isn't the same any more.

This 5090 I wasn't able to record much. I have 50 songs without demos. 30 of those aren't even in my song notebook. So my first step is going to be pull those lyrics off 5090. Print them. Decide which of those 50 I'd like to demo, and to what extent. Busy season is coming up, so my free time is going to be even more limited.

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I like your idea of color coding the stages, @nutation. I'll have to swipe that idea. I may not use it the same way as you since I come from the mostly lyric angle with sometimes a melody, sometimes chords on guitar, but I never thought about color coding the font as an indicator of the stage--love the idea...and so easy to change as the song moves through the stages! I might color code, needs melody, needs chords (usually word tweaking (if needed) occurs when I put to melody/music), then other colors for other things. Cool idea!

@iveg, you make some great points about the time involved. I guess that's part of the overwhelm (especially since life outside of writing stepped up a few notches for me recently as far as prioritizing my time). There WILL be favored ones I will work on first and then some I will ditch, but some I will work on improving later when I've had a significant brain break from them and can look at them with a new eye. Part of what really slows me down is that I started as lyricist only with occasional melody. Moved into lyricist melodian, then to lyricist, melodian, learning guitar chords, now playing "some" guitar chords I can play, but skills need improving and broadening (time is an issue with learning too + ability) and I can't do what I envision--so takes me a long time on some songs and -- others just have to wait.

So I have many songs that hover awhile at the several stages. Few are anywhere near polished. Hopefully as I make contacts with local musicians (which is just beginning to happen after 2+ years of songwriting online -- I had none when I began), perhaps I can make a good connection EVENTUALLY where they can collaborate with me using different sounds as well as continue to collaborate online for something more polished than what I can do on my own. I sure like the sounds of that 100% success rate on chosen songs using the method you stated above.

@katpiercemusic Yeah...I often get stuck at "B" and my audience is pretty much family and occasionally my daughter's friends who happen to be around while I'm practicing, so ....Hmmmmnnn. Eventually as I get better I suppose. I dream of being where you are in that you are confident enough to open mic--someday (??)

The ones that I feel strongly about > the ones I want to play for other people > the ones I want to memorize

i basically start with basic demos. after that, the ones that i like just seem to work their way into my playlist, and with each new take the vocals might get re-done, or guitar parts worked further out, or drums/bass/keyboards modified. be that as it may, i am way behind on mixing/arranging. it goes back years. and it seems to be fairly typical when reading these boards. i guess the bottom line for my style is: everything is pretty much always in flux. things get worked on, but it's tough to say if they're ever finished. but, i don't want to overcook anything either... anyway, if someone asked me to get organized, the first order of business would be to find my 'favorite' song and work that until it is 'done', then pick up on another one, and so forth. maybe someday...

Hey kc... If you look at my page, you see too:
[] = made it to file 1
~~ = left it here, and just Archive this page, per arc feat.
[Reviewed to here] = in the title of that status

I only got to #17 of 60 and took a few hours.

Then, as explained.

But I like getting to, worthy of print out quickly. Over 90 days... It is easy to forget melodys if some, any sound file was not done, -- even then, it can loose context.

Like I said, I got 50 ish, I'm happy to play, jam too... An maybe 10 ish I should be famous for : ) -- I just don't get why you all don't see that and send money.