“Sad music creates a contradictory mix of emotions that are pleasant to experience.”

According to a new study by Kawakami et al. (2013), sad music is enjoyable because it creates an interesting mix of emotions; some negative, some positive. In their study, they found that: “…the sad music was perceived to be more tragic, whereas the actual experiences of the participants listening to the sad music induced them to feel more romantic, more blithe, and less tragic emotions than they actually perceived with respect to the same music.”Read More »

Good Songwriting Tips: Easy to Perform, Sing and Learn, Flatters the Artist

By Cliff Goldmacher

Writing for yourself is where it starts, but keep the artist in mind throughout your process

When you’re starting out as a songwriter, a common scenario is that something in your life moves you to the point where you’re inspired to write about it, and thus, your song is born. This may still be the case – and on some level, I hope so – but if you’re hoping that someone other than you will record your song, here are some essential strategies to keep in mind.

1. Make your song memorable and easy to learn.
There are several ways to create a memorable song. First and foremost, is there something about it that sticks in the listener’s mind and sets it apart? That’s a great place to start. Almost as important, though, is whether the song is easy to learn.Read More »

things i guess i am learning….

anyone else experience this kind of stuff?

so after a few months off i am back playing out and it is different….

the response is pretty good and i like what i am doing but finding my style is getting very loud, bold and expressive…i pretty much attack every part of my music…i am currently in a constant battle with mic stands…i attack the mic and the damn stands keep getting in the bloody way…..grrrrrr

same with vocal, lyrics and guitar playing very loud, aggressive and strong…not to everyone’s taste, which is fine…that’s my artist vision…even with quiet and sweet songs….grrrrr….Read More »

Why I Have to Produce a Lot of Crap Work – To Get Better

The fact is that most of what I write and my performances are crap.  Not horrible, awful, I have never practiced and I’m shitfaced when I perform, typical open mic crap (show up and throw up) but workmanlike crap.  Songs and music that just don’t quite connect with the strangers I am trying to connect with when I play out.

Forget friends and family — they lie.   Your own ears, friends and family, teachers will tell you your crap work is “awesome.”  They lie.  Search out experiences and people that will call you on your crap.

Most of what all of us produce is really weak, dum and misses the mark by a mile (aka crap).  Welcome to being human and an artist.  C’mon.  How much of what you do at your day job is worth anything?  Very little.  That’s reality.  Accept it — if you want to get better.

Getting better.  That’s the golden key.  The silly wish, the hope the dum dream that I can actually write a better song (someday) and get better at my craft.

Of course, this wish is a complete delusion — but I’m rolling with it.   Heck, it’s what drives me to spend the endless hours of hateful boring writing and rewriting and practice, practice, practice.

So I delude myself that there is a pony as I scoop out the stinking , smelly feaceas – with my hands – at the bottom, or somewhere in the steaming, stinking pile of shit.  “I wear this crown of shit,  upon my liars’ chair.” (Whair’s this drum, c’mon?)

The BIG MISTAKE is to actually believe my delusions of my work being awesome  and stop the endless hours of work.  Delusion is fine as long as I keep spending 20-40-60 hours a week (mainly alone) writing or practicing.  But ANYTHING that makes me cut back the work – mostly producing crap — is EVIL.

Does this sound harsh?  lol Not near as harsh as your audience’s attention and lack of interest in your work if you don’t give them your absolute best.  EVERY TIME you get up in front of them.

Here’s the ticket.  If you produce your absolute, exhausted, full-of-doubts, endless hours of work best — your audience will hear and respect that.  They may not “like” it but they will know you have tried your best and will give you respect.  Your absolute best is rarely crap – but equally rarely popular (today).

Can I get an AMEN!?


First Rehearsal Space Use: I have a very loud strong voice, it was hard work, great fun…phew!

Used Music Garage in Chicago.  Never done before.  Just me and me guitar.  Damn, it was hard physical work.  Mainly I need it ‘cus I can’t practice anywhere else and sing real loud – the voice IS a muscle.


Good Open Mic Rules from Nashville Spot

What rules do I have to follow to play the Cafe Coco Open-mic?
1 – Two or less songs per-artist
2 – Be ready and IN TUNE before you play. Please take time while tuning.  Take your time! There is no rush. Tune, Tune, Tune!
3 – Understand that we are a business as well as a venue for your music.  Please do what you can to treat this as you would a normal concert. This is not a practice spaceRead More »

Writing Advice: “your job is to be a storyteller”

This comes from great historical novelist Bernard Cornwell and applies to songwriting as well.

Take Aways

  • Your job is to be a storyteller
  • It’s all about the story
  • Stories start with a question
  • Dissect successful writing
  • Get a few good, loyal ppl to support you

Writing Advice

Find an agent [Do not represent yourself, alone}

The most important thing, the all-important thing, is to get the story right.  Write, rewrite, rewrite again, and do not worry about anything except story.  It is story, story, story.  That is your business.  Your job is not to educate readers …What will get you published?  Not style, not research, but story.  Once the story is right, everything else will follow.  Rewriting is falling off a log, the hard work is getting the story.  I once wrote a 12,000 word story for the Daily Mail’s Christmas editions.  It took eight days to get the story right and three hours to rewrite the whole thing, and that rewrite included a brand new villain.  But once the story was right the piece could take all sorts of pummelling because the story was strong enough.

Every good story, he said, begins with a question.  And if your opening question is right, then the pursuit of the answer will propel the reader through the book.  More important, it will propel the writer through the book.Read More »