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A  Songwriters perspective on American Idol

American Idol Myths

The Kelly Clarkson story

Songwriting Tools and Techniques

 

"Bill Pere embodies the link between music and science" -- The New York Times
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SHOULD YOU BUY THIS BOOK ?
( See here what others have said )

SONGCRAFTERS' COLORING BOOK: The Essential Guide to
Effective and Successful Songwriting

by

 Bill Pere

It's All About Choices:

Should you buy this book?  Of course I'd like you too, but whether or not you "should" is something only you can decide.   What you'll find in this book is probably the most in-depth analysis of songwriting to date.   There are techniques and perspectives never presented anywhere before.  This book has been used by songwriters across six continents (still working on getting some to Antarctica).  The techniques presented led to having one of my songs on a Grammy Award winning album.  To see some of the reactions, go here.

Songcrafters' Coloring Book is a book about choices -- your choices, both artistically and commercially. Unless you know all the options for a given choice and the likely results for each option, you cannot make an informed decision.  This book gives you the information you need to make informed decisions and move forward along your path with your eyes wide open.

I am frequently asked by artists:   Should I write for myself  and have no audience, or should I write for an audience and have no self?"   There is a third choice -- you can have BOTH.  Songcrafters' Coloring Book shows you how to write in your own way, and make it affect an audience the way you want it to.

Songcrafters' Coloring Book focuses on the creation of great content, so that great performers (or you, if you are a self-contained singer-songwriter) have material worthy of their artistry.   In the music business,  it the exceptional song or the exceptional artist that is noticed and rewarded.   Being just "good" is usually not good enough.  "Songcrafters' Coloring Book" gives you the tools and techniques you need to move beyond "good", to become exceptional.

You might ask, "Can the performance and the song really be separated ?"  Think of an artist you like. It would probably be fair to say that you donít like every one of that artist's songs, and some more than others. Clearly just because a favorite performer does a song, doesnít mean that you'll like the song.  Going further, think of the few songs (songs, i.e. lyrics and melodies) by that artist which you like the most.  If those same songs were done by a different artist with a solid arrangement and performance, you'd probably still like the song. A truly good song can live apart from any specific artist.

For convenience, and throughout Songcrafters' Coloring Book, I use the term "artists" to refer to both individual and bands, unless otherwise stated. The term "writer" or "songwriter" refers to the one or ones who wrote the song, regardless of who performs it.  This is a book about about writing great songs, independent of who performs them, and tools for empowering you to make conscious, informed choices.

When you buy a book, or attend a workshop,  or hire a coach, , the bottom line is that you want to come away being able to actually do something that moves you toward your goals.   There is a natural tendency to believe that only books or workshops by the most successful songwriters will give you what you need.  This not necessarily true, as  most songwriters at all levels tend to write by instinct, and when trying to coach others,  these successful writers share what works for them.  Because it is instinctual, it is often hard to put into clear terms that others can act upon.  I've heard many of the most successful songwriters spend an hour or two describing how to write a good song, and what they've really done is described their own personal process in a way that is not necessarily actionable or applicable by others. (Examples:  " I stand and look at the wall and mumble";  "I turn off all the lights and lay there with my eyes open";  "I sit in the bathtub and splash rhythms in the water while humming".)  These techniques have clearly worked for the successful folks who describe them, but will they work for you?  Not likely.

Ideally, what you want is specific tried-and-true information that can be applied by any  person, to any style of  music, to reach any set of goals.   That is what makes Songcrafters' Coloring Book unique.   For the first time, all the individual elements of songwriting are broken down and explained, and presented clearly to you as choices you can decide to make or not make in pursuit of your own goals. There are no rights or wrongs -- just decisions and results, all based on solid data and proven principles.  My focus in this book is not to bother you with what works for me, but to help you decide what works best  for you.

Some Background:

In my 30 years of working with songwriters, performers, producers, and generally creative people, I am often asked one question by those just starting to spread their creative wings -- "How do I become an independent artist ? "

I always have the same answer : -- "Wake up in the morning, walk over to your mirror, and proclaim to the reflection there "I am an independent artist ". That's all it takes.

Of course, that really was not the intended question.  What was really being asked is " How do I become a  --fill-in-the-blank--  independent artist ?"  Fill in the blank with "successful", "respected", "famous", "good", "creative", "competent", or any of a dozen other adjectives.

So should you buy this book?  Any book or course or program which guarantees you success is probably not going to be able to keep that promise.  This book simply attempts to help you write better songs -- and ultimately, it is you who decides what "better" means -- not some expert, or critic, or some record executive, or your best friend, or anyone else.  If you want to write better songs and would like some high-powered tools, techniques, and guidelines that you can use -- or not use --, then this book will be useful for you.  The one guarantee I can make is that you will find some techniques, concepts, and strategies which you have not seen before, and you'll be able to see how they can help you achieve your goals.

The double edged power of artistic belief:

Believing you are an artist is sufficient for you to be an artist as long as there is no adjective in front of  "artist".   Once you add "successful", "respected", "famous", "good", "creative", "competent" or any other adjective in front of  "artist", you have introduced a context for evaluation.  However, the evaluation and ultimate decision is still 100% yours. "Successful", "respected", "famous", "good", "creative", "competent" and descriptors of that type are accurately evaluated only by what you define them to be. "Success" is what you say it is.  For one artist, it may mean being able to perform three nights a week, sell a few CD's, and make enough income to pay the bills.  The joy of doing what he/she loves is the main reward and constitutes "success".  For another artist, "success" may mean a number of people who know their name or a number of dollars in a bank account, but it is still they who define that number.

"Respect" is what you say it is. For one artist it may be having their name known and spoken favorably by other well known artists in a particular genre. For another artist it may be having a critical parent finally say (s)he was wrong and that you've proved you can make a living doing music.

Bottom line -- being an artist with one or more adjectives before the word requires that you clearly define that adjective in terms of your life and values, and have goals that help you decide when you've achieved what you set out to do.

If your definition of success is "to sell a lot of CDs and downloads", how will you know what "a lot" is ? Be specific in your goals , in terms of both quantity and time, and when you reach one goal, you can always set another one for yourself if you wish. But if you have just one open-ended goal, you'll never really know if you've arrived at it. If you your goal is to sell 5000 CDs or downloads in one year, then you'll know exactly when you've gotten there and you can assess how you feel . Upon achieving that milestone, are you very satisfied or do you now want to sell another 5,000? or 10,000? The same songs or new ones ? In another year or in 6 months ?  It's always you who makes the decisions.  

A good book challenges the way you think.  A great book changes the way you think. 
This book will help you make the choices that are right for you.

So, should you buy this book ?  That is simply one of many artistic and business choices along your path.  So far,  all types  of artists across the U.S. and  Canada, as well as on five continents have decided  that it's a good choice to have this book.   But ultimately, only you can decide if it is right for you.    If you'd like to see what others have said,  click the link below.
                                          (Copyright 2011 Bill Pere. All Rights Reserved)

                                            ( See here what others have said )

                        (for Songwriting Retreat photos and reactions,go here)

Check out these samples from the book

Bill Pere is widely regarded as one of the top songwriting analysts and critiquers in the industry today