Friday, February 04, 2005

An Open Letter to My Songwriting Students

Don't tell me that you want to write songs unless you mean that you want to learn to write songs. The song you have just presented to me is not "God ordained." I think you and I can both agree that God finished His writing gig with the book of Revelation. That being the case, He is no longer in the jot and tittle business. He did not write, "You watcheth over me with the eye of a strong, bold hawk." I don't care if you wrote this down on the plane ride here, it is not the word of the Lord. He is not that stupid. If I worshipped the God that supposedly wrote that line, I would throw myself off a cliff.

Do not tell me that you cannot re-write your song. God will not strike you dead if you change your lines to match your melody. It's called prosidy, and God likes prosidy. God does not like it when you make him take credit for a ballad containing hard consonants in the chorus.

Do not pray over your song. Sweat over it. Disect it to discern what works and throw the rest away. I'm glad you were healed of your cancer, but any song that contains medical terminology makes the baby Jesus cry. Nothing rhymes with tumor.

Why do you think you paid $700 for this week of instruction? It's because your staff is highly qualified to instruct you in the craft. That being said, if you tell me that I don't have enough faith to "feel" your song, I will throw YOU off a cliff. I will not refund your money.

The meek may very well inherit the earth. That does not mean I will grant you a recording contract at the end of this week. Do not call me at home when school is over. Do not send me unsolicited songs and ask me to rewrite them for you unless you (1) have a solid deal with a major recording artist, and (2) acknowledge me as co-writer. I don't work for free, and I don't give away my talent. I am your instructor, not your friend. If you wish to continue this business arrangement, I take cash or Visa.

Your Instructor.