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Table of contents for Woo Hoo
- Woo Hoo - Part 3 - Chaos Theory, Mathematics and Songwriting
- Woo Hoo - Part 2 - Are You Having Any Fun…?
- Woo Hoo - Part 1- The Process
- Woo Hoo - Part 4 - Structure Development
This is the second post of a series that looks at the songwriting process as practiced by Kelli and Andrew. If you’re easily offended – you might want to skip this one – or at least don’t listen to the audio.
Written by Sammy Fain and Jack Yellen for an obscure Broadway production called “George White’s Scandals of 1939,” this song sums up our approach to songwriting and hell - maybe even life. There’s a current groundswell in articles and media that reflect on this - from Randy Pausch’s Last Lecture to Brian Clark’s recent blog post - the concept seems to be - If you’re not doing what you love to do - then what the hell are you doing?
Just Do It…
Kelli and I are songwriters - it is what we do - pretty much every week for the last two years we have gotten together and attempted to write a song. It is the most unpredictable process that I have ever been part of and the trick to it is - you guessed it - just do it, but its also more than that - its about having fun while you do it - at least - that’s how it works for us.
Cutting up Frogs…
As songwriters we use language like: lyric, melody, harmony, chorus, pre-chorus, verse, middle 8, bridge, Intro, Outro, solo, etc. We are interested in structure, in what a song actually looks like when you break it down into its component pieces. If you substitute song for frog, its just like being back in biology class - we take songs and pull them apart, open them out, see how they work - in order to learn how to put them together.
One of our favorite techniques to get a session going is to just riff on a song that we both know - the purpose of this is to get the musical muscles moving. The act of playing and singing, of swapping out words, of creating variations on a theme, all act as lubricant to the song creation process.
Because Kelli and I come from such different backgrounds it is generally classic songs that we play with and because at heart, we’re both complete and utter children - the humor tends to be pretty basic.
So - in order to get the session moving on and to bring a little humor into the room - we started riffing on The Temptation’s classic track - “My Girl.” Its a great exercise in supportive team writing - each individual does their bit while at the same time encouraging the other to move forward and develop their part. Practicing like this on a classic track really helps create an environment for serious song study.
Refine and Improve
My favorite part of this whole post is that second version - the fact that we took something that was inherently silly and attempted to deliver it as professionally as we could - its the process of continual improvement. We never know where an idea is going to come from or in what form it will arrive - what we do know is that it is likely the idea will need polishing, will need refining, will benefit from practice.
Part Three - Genesis
The next post introduces the actual theme that will eventually become the song “Woo Hoo.” Having spent 30 minutes or so setting up the environment, laying and singing, we start to get down to the real work….
- Woo Hoo - Part 1- The Process
- Hey - Another Bad Day - Part 2
- Mike’s Organ!
- Marketing, Makeovers and more Music
- Still Marketing….