Songwriting as an Evasion of Work - Songwriting as a Part of the Work

Yesterday's disappearing post revisited:

While Taylor takes his oboe lesson, I like to take my Steinberger guitar along and practice in the waiting room. So I was just beginning to tackle the G melodic minor scale played in block diatonic fourths. (The first chord reads G-C-F#-Bb-E-A, low to high, just so you can get your bearings.) These chords prove relatively easy to play, fingering-wise, but are a bitch for me to remember. And I get to the chord built on the third degree of the scale (Bb-E-A-D-G-C) and - blammo! - this bossa nova marches out, screaming "Follow me!" And of course I do, and in a matter of twenty minutes I have this progression with a wisp of melody that sounds like Jobim-meets-Glenn Lyons. Taylor's lesson ends and I borrow a pencil and scratch out the progression on the back of yet another project I've promised myself I'll tackle ("Diatonic Fourth Exercises for Saxophone" by Dan Gaynor). I even have a title for the song: "You Were Saying?" Then, a few hours later, I look at the chart again and - blammo! - the second verse appears: the same as the first but transposed a tritone! The good ones are like this. They just reveal themselves. Of course you still have to wash them off and comb their hair, but they simply arrive.

One of the challenges of learning is to focus on a goal: "I am going to work on the G melodic minor scale played in block diatonic fourths." Very often, five minutes into that work, we find ourselves elsewhere: "Oh, I need to change my strings. Oh, what's that hard part in 'My Cherie Amour?' Oh, have to remember to call so-and-so." Or a song comes along. Sometimes the song totally sucks. If it totally sucks, then it's just as much a bunch of distracting static as anything else. "You Were Saying?" may totally suck. I don't know yet - it will take some more washing and hair-combing to see. But another challenge of learning, while focising on a goal, is to engage the heart. If I cannot put my head, my hands, and my heart into it, it probably won't do much, or go far, or lead to much. So "You Were Saying?" was a piece of my heart, a little crush on a chord.

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