The first challenge – before even thinking about song structure, lyrics, or harmonies: picture who will be singing the song and create from there. Now – pitch a song to Matt Dusk. It certainly takes it from an exercise, a mere limbering up and flexing of our musical muscles, to something very real!

I tend to write songs that stem from personal experience or sentiments I just have to express, a sort of catharsis. When I took an on-line songwriting course presented by Pat Pattison I was introduced to techniques to help me create a song instead of just singing the ones that were bubbling out of me. It was a very interesting creative process that felt more like a game than therapy.

It is only the first week of the S.A.C. Song Challenge and I’m already being pulled from my well-worn patterns. First – I am writing a song for someone else’s voice, in someone else’s chosen style instead of my own. I tend to do subdued better than groove. But it feels good to stretch. Second – I am encouraged to collaborate, to co-write a song – with musicians I have never met! I have taken my first tentative steps forward by drafting a playful, jazzy song (lyrics & melody) and inviting instrumental and rhythmic input from others. I am excited to see how it will turn out – and also overwhelmed that in less than 4 days we will be into a new challenge demanding a new focus, a new feel, and another song.