SONG BEFORE IT’S A SONG

The video below is a clip of an entire series that John Mayer did at the Berklee School Of Music in 2008 (before Battle Studies, as the video will show.)

There’s good stuff here about songwriting, having compelling chords, fighting for good melody, etc. But the most interesting thing to me is when Mayer reveals a song he’s working on. (2:14 in the video.)

The groove he’s playing eventually became “Assassin,” what I believe to be one of the most underrated of all his songs. It’s cool to hear a song in its earliest form, but also interesting to hear a crowd having a very positive, visceral reaction to a song that isn’t even really written.

 

ON WRITING (MORE)

songwritingI’ve moved most of my ministry-related blogging over to bethelsongs.com, but since this blog is back to a what’s-happening-in-my-life motif, I figure I can blur the lines a little bit.

As many of you know, 2013 was my a great year for songwriting. A co-write of mine was released and still seems to be growing in its impact on worship in local churches.

This year, my version of that same co-write was released on another project. Not only does this count as a second “cut”, but I had the privilege of singing it on the record. In addition, it’s looking like that same song will be released as a choral piece before the year is done.

I’ve also met some cool people doing cold co-writes – writing with folks I’ve never met before! Those sessions haven’t yielded any hits, yet, but I’ve already learned a ton from the people who sat down and worked with me for all those hours.

Personally, I made two songwriting commitments for 2014. The first is a commitment to finish more songs. I’m notorious for giving up on songs too early. Personal standards are good, but mine have crippled me a little bit. I had gotten to a point where I didn’t want to finish a song unless it was the best thing I had ever written. (This is a dumb way to think about songwriting, by the way.)

The second commitment was to get one cut a year. By this, I mean, have at least one song a year get “used” in some published form. The music business is a weird, fickle thing and it’s in an odd state right now. But that’s irrelevant to me. I think we have too many songs that say nothing and I’m ready to step up to the mic. And you can call me a greedy capitalist if you want, but I’m determined to provide for my family, bless my community and pour money into my local church.

This new songwriting commitment is teaching me some good, hard lessons about the discipline of songwriting. But I’m grateful for it and I’m determined to use this gift God’s given me to bring Him glory.

RUN TODD RUN

Screen Shot 2014-04-12 at 11.43.43 AMWeekly Recap

Tuesday night – Did a 20-minute run on the treadmill. For the last couple minutes, I bumped the speed up so I could get a bit of push toward the end. I had wanted to do an “outside” run, but it ended up being too late…and cold.

Opted for an episode of “Arrow” instead of “24.” Sometimes you gotta’ take a break from Jack Bauer.

Thursday morning – Another 20-minute on the treadmill. Decided to go a bit harder at the end by bumping up speed every two minutes toward the end. It didn’t get terribly hard. Since outside running is so much different than doing it inside, I don’t want to get too far ahead on the treadmill. I’d like my outside runs to be at least close to the indoor stuff. I’m not very good at the morning running, but I do feel better during the day when I do it.

Friday morning - Finally got outside for a jog around 10:30 or so. Bumped up the timer to 16 minutes and it was tough. Way warmer than I expected. I wasn’t pleased with my speed, but I kept thinking of how good I would feel hitting my “longest” run yet. This go around, I’m worrying less about distance or speed and just trying to be consistent on getting moving. I’m also realizing how much I need sunlight. Outside running isn’t fun, but I know it’s good for me. Probably gonna’ try to keep up the two treadmill/one outside running schedule. (Side note – I’m one of those dudes who keeps sweating long after the run is done. That ain’t fun.)

Saturday afternoon – After some major Easter-prep errands, I jumped on the treadmill and did a very quick 20 minutes. (“Quick” means I don’t have time to stand on a stopped treadmill to finish an episode or movie on my computer.) Fortunately, it didn’t throw me off my schedule too much and I made up to church Saturday evening with just enough time to spare.

Four total runs and another week down. Thanks for reading. And don’t forget…running sucks.