Unlocking Creativity – Songwriting Is An Art Form

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    From The Art of Songwriting by Randy Klein

    (some thoughts on songwriting)

    A song is a formidable piece of art with an unusual characteristic. It is intangible. It can’t be held, but it can be felt.

    Songwriting is an art form learned in a cumulative manner by writing and listening to songs. The more you listen to songs of other songwriters combined with writing your own songs, the better you get at it.

    Songwriting combines the art of writing words and the art of composing music. It is a craft that can be learned by all, regardless of ones’ musical or lyric writing abilities. And it seems to me that everyone wants to write a song.

    But in truth, I’m not sure how songwriting works and describing how a song is written always seems to fall a little short in terms of how it really feels. It is like a spark igniting when the idea first pops out. The idea begins to manifest and the brain can’t stop thinking about the song until the song is completed. Seems simple!

    I have been obsessed and over-whelmed with the process of songwriting for years. Some songs emerge quickly, not the norm. Songs normally have to percolate, germinate, and marinate. Most come out in bits and pieces, line by line, mostly a word at a time. There is no exact method and each song comes forth in its own specific way. Final rewrites of a song can go on for weeks, months and longer. But once a song is done, it is done, except for when it’s not done. We songwriters feel that we can always make our song better. Songs tend to take on lives of their own.  

    For me, songwriting is all about communication. Being able to show feelings through a song is quite remarkable. Being able to share ones feelings with music and lyric, and then have a listener react to, it is a gift. The gift of creating a song is profound and I am very respectful of this.

    Professional songwriters must maintain and keep the ‘music and lyric songwriting creative muscles’ growing. It is detailed, highly disciplined and organized work along with a belief in oneself, perseverance and a yearning that your songs will be heard.

    I have often thought that being in the music business, or as I tend to call it ‘the songwriting game’ is like playing the lottery. It takes a lot of luck, but it also takes the smarts to know when a door opens, to put your toe in. The business side of songwriting is difficult to navigate and has a slightly intangible quality as well.

    My observations on songwriting come from writing songs and, more important, critiquing and coaching songwriters. Conducting hundreds of songwriting workshops along with private coaching sessions, I have listened to many thousand songs. Having to speak about the infinite qualities of a song has influenced my communication skills and heightened my awareness of how to communicate to many. 

    A fun thing to say is that songwriting is left brain and the business of songwriting is right brain. Creative verses business. But creative business is key to opening up new opportunities. Creative business is also a highly disciplined skillset. The merger of the creative left and practical right sides of the brain make for good songwriting and good songwriting business skills.

    A final food for thought:  As mentioned, for some mysterious reason, everyone wants to write a song. Could it be possible that everyone does have a song in their heart?

    And of course my elevator pitch…I live on both sides of the creative/business divide..…and I have a song I’d like you to hear!

    Randy Klein


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    Randy Klein
    Randy Klein
    Randy Klein, an esteemed figure in the music industry, has crafted a diverse and illustrious career over three decades in the vibrant city of New York. As a composer, pianist, author, educator, and sole owner of Jazzheads, an independent music label established in 1994 with multiple Grammy Nominations, Emmys, Gold Records, and a long list of accolades, Randy has left an indelible mark on various facets of the music landscape. His journey began with a passion for music that led him to formal education at the Berklee College of Music, continuing as an adjunct teaching under John LaPorta. With a Bachelor of Music degree, Randy embarked on a remarkable career characterized by innovation, creativity, and unwavering dedication. As the founder of Jazzheads, he has provided a platform for emerging artists while garnering acclaim for his own compositions and performances, including nine Grammy nominations and prestigious awards like The Hall Center for The Performing Arts fellowship at the University of Kansas and a BMI Foundation Jerry Harrington Award. Randy's historic releases and heartwarming musicals have resonated worldwide, transcending boundaries and cultures. Beyond his artistic endeavors, Randy is a passionate advocate for music education and mentorship, empowering aspiring songwriters through workshops and sharing his insights with students and professionals alike. His prolific writings, ranging from instructional guides to thought-provoking essays, establish him as a respected voice in the industry. Randy's enduring legacy serves as an inspiration to aspiring musicians, highlighting the power of passion, perseverance, and artistic vision. Connect with Randy at [email protected] to discover more about his captivating musical journey and ongoing endeavors.