Tag: S.A.C.

Challenge #1: An invitation from Matt Dusk

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.


The S.A.C. Songwriting Challenge: Six Songs in Six Weeks

For the next 6 weeks I’ll be using this space to blog about the S.A.C. Songwriting Challenge.  If you’d rather not read about my adventures in songwriting land just click on the Stages, Circles & Jams tab above and you’ll be taken to my usual open mic reviews.

I really have no idea what is expected of me except that I am to write 6 songs in 6 weeks, collaboration/co-writes encouraged. I don’t doubt that I can write 6 songs – I hope I can write 6 songs I like.

Before even setting eyes on the first week’s assignment I have immersed myself in the S.A.C. Challenge by sampling all the musical clips posted by my fellow songwriters. I am struck by the age range (from a 12 year old songwriter to folks with 40+ years experience playing & writing music) and the many different musical styles represented.

The possibility of collaborating intrigues me but I’m not quite sure how it works at a distance: A sort of musical pen pal with notes and ideas flying back & forth? Or does one present a semi-finished project and ask for specific assistance (help with a bridge/harmonies/instrumental break)?


Ready to write!


This will be an experiment in writing on demand as opposed to when a song comes to me. Looking forward to learning…