Jamming to write songs or writing songs separately from the band

naveed211

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How do you usually approach it when you’re in a band?

Years ago, my early bands would do a lot of songwriting from long jam sessions and kind of piece things together. That was when we were young and didn’t have a million other priorities like I do now. For about the last decade I’ve been mostly a solo musician, so I’ve written all my songs apart from a band.

I am just starting a band again and have a number of songs prepared. I met with the keyboard player (who is quite good) and it seemed like we weren’t really vibing on the prepared stuff (which he had access to before), but when we started jamming free form it took on a different sound and led to some cool ideas.

I guess I’m just not comfortable with assembling those jammy ideas into an actual song so that it doesn’t just sound like a jam session. It seems foreign to me, but maybe it’ll come together the more we jam.
 

chulaivet1966

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Howdy all....

Yes....I'd guess an informal 'jam' could evolve into a song or composition.

For me....
I have done a few song collabs with a buddy back in 1990 and I was pleased with the outcome.
But, that's not my norm.
I prefer to write alone and uninterrupted without any other interjections.
I'm very particular and deliberate (especially regarding subject choice/lyrics/vocal phrasing) when I take on a new song effort.

I take my song writing reasonably seriously in all aspects.
It may take me up to 6 weeks to get the lyrics and phrasing up to my satisfaction.

Then....time to turn on the red light and get it recorded.
Personally, if I haven't got my song recorded and perceive it to be ready for my peers ears....it's not finished.

Lots of approaches in this context.
I wish all the best in their song writing....did I ever mention "this song writing stuff isn't easy". :)

Have a great day...
 

cousinpaul

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I tend to keep my writing separate from any band stuff or jamming I do. Although I do some co-writing on occasion, I don't like writing by committee. The line between songwriting and contributing to an arrangement can sometimes blur leading to confusion and possible hard feelings. Also, having the band cover your songs can be great but be prepared to offer your band mates the same courtesy if one of them comes up with a song. Not all writers are equally gifted.
 

jaxjaxon

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I have done it both ways. The ones I write my self are done using two loopers, I will make a track with the guitar part save it then have it play back and use the other looper to record a Bass line I dont have a bass but I use a pitch shifter one octave down to get a Bass sound. Then I will record the guitar into the same looper the bass is on but in a different slot. Then I record the Bass on the first guitar track, This way I still have the separate loops for the Bass and Guitar. Now I have a Digital drum kit I will record that into the looper with the separate tracks and over dub on the looper with the Bass and guitar on the one track. I am not a good drummer but it is the only way I have found to get the drums to have breaks and tempo changes in spots I would like them. I take the two loopers and play them back so the other members of the band will get a idea of how the song should be played allowing them the freedom to add what they feel they would like there parts should sound like.
 

Dukex

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I write songs (lyrics and melody) at the same time and don't concern myself with how the song will be arranged (although I usually have some ideas/sounds bouncing around in my head). A song can be arranged many ways.

So for me, the song is first. I don't play in bands, but I have a bass player/songwriter friend who is quite good and has played in several bands, and I'll always place great value in his input because he understands that the arrangement (every instrument and every note) is there to support the lyrics and melody. Jams are cool and fun, I have some, but they are not songs IMO.

Input from trusted others on arrangements = yes.

Turning my song into a jam = it (the jam) better be something very special.
 

ArthurMoniz

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I write songs alone, but am open to input from other musicians and if it
morphs into something better....great.
I try to write songs alone too, but I'm open to communication and new acquaintances and suggestions.
It'd be great to find someone with good writing skills to work together.
Or maybe with personal preparations that they want to turn into music. I'd be glad to have such cooperation and experience. I edit my texts using this service https://www.trustmypaper.com/ For me, the main thing is to correct mistakes, I don't want any ridiculous typos or mistakes in my songs, so I try to attach special attention to this item.
 
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billy logan

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@naveed21 post #1

Without any knowledge or experience I will say something bossy that came to mind:

1) Record your jams - including tuning up and banter
2) Write up a "do not steal these ideas" contract
3) Induce, with money if necessary, one, or several, individually, experienced DJ*s to overlap, fade in/out melodies, hooks, timely stops, rhythm shifts, + nightmare scream, maybe juxtapose 2 sections you hadn't thought went together (+ if somebody screams) etc

*or anyone with editing skills who doesn't know anybody in your group - but someone with "reasonable music sensibilities?" :) :) :)

'Coz I think you might be undervaluing some good stuff in there - good stuff that fresh ears could point out - you might be letting "the imagined perfect" be the enemy of "something v v good to build on"

btw I generally dislike DJ's but some of 'em focus up things real good I'll admit.
 

popthree

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i'm not a super talented multi-instrumentalist so when i write a song, its usually just my voice, my acoustic guitar, and some kind of half arsed attempt at adding other instrumentation. the song melody is set. the arrangement, in as much as it goes V1/Chorus/V2/Chorus/Bridge/V3/Chorus or whatever it happens to be, is set. but i try and be flexible with how other musicians approach their contributions. that allows them to (hopefully) do what they do best, while adding some of their own personality/flavor/style into the mix of what i've already created.

so, in other words, taking something i've already written and 'jamming' on it with a group, can make it better than i ever realized it could be, and sometimes, it goes in a direction i didn't really consider. i figure i gotta be flexible to some degree. if someone is doing something that i think is not serving the song, i will say so.
 

chulaivet1966

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i'm not a super talented multi-instrumentalist so when i write a song, its usually just my voice, my acoustic guitar, and some kind of half arsed attempt at adding other instrumentation. so, in other words, taking something i've already written and 'jamming' on it with a group, can make it better than i ever realized it could be, and sometimes, it goes in a direction i didn't really consider. i figure i gotta be flexible to some degree. if someone is doing something that i think is not serving the song, i will say so.

I gave your songs a listen.

My take:
I think the ones you have would cater well for a band to contribute too and make them sound more complete.
I know....getting any sort of band endeavor started with good musician/personality chemistry is a daunting (nearly impossible :) ) task to say the least.

Even though our writing styles are much different I still think I can recognize a good song, generally speaking.
Your songs are well constructed and performed convincingly with what minimal instrumentation you used..

Good luck with your music path.
 

popthree

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I gave your songs a listen.

My take:
I think the ones you have would cater well for a band to contribute too and make them sound more complete.
I know....getting any sort of band endeavor started with good musician/personality chemistry is a daunting (nearly impossible :) ) task to say the least.

Even though our writing styles are much different I still think I can recognize a good song, generally speaking.
Your songs are well constructed and performed convincingly with what minimal instrumentation you used..

Good luck with your music path.
well dang, thanks for the encouragement. i'm not tight with many musicians in my town. i've tried to make some connections but i guess i'm just socially awkward or something because people don't respond to me or what i'm doing musically, around here. i'm also north of 50 so starting a band or doing anything at all with any of my songs beyond their current state is extremely unlikely.

i guess my response to the OP made it sound like i'm working with a group. i guess i was sort of imagining what it would be like to do that again when i posted. i was speaking to how it 'used to be' when i was in a band. i'd love to find a couple of inspiring musicians to work with again but it seems like a pipe dream.
 
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Larry F

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How do you usually approach it when you’re in a band?

Years ago, my early bands would do a lot of songwriting from long jam sessions and kind of piece things together. That was when we were young and didn’t have a million other priorities like I do now. For about the last decade I’ve been mostly a solo musician, so I’ve written all my songs apart from a band.

I am just starting a band again and have a number of songs prepared. I met with the keyboard player (who is quite good) and it seemed like we weren’t really vibing on the prepared stuff (which he had access to before), but when we started jamming free form it took on a different sound and led to some cool ideas.

I guess I’m just not comfortable with assembling those jammy ideas into an actual song so that it doesn’t just sound like a jam session. It seems foreign to me, but maybe it’ll come together the more we jam.
The only rule is no rules, when it comes to creating a piece of music. Methodology isn't necessarily an issue.
 

studio

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I try to write songs alone too, but I'm open to communication and new acquaintances and suggestions.
It'd be great to find someone with good writing skills to work together.
Or maybe with personal preparations that they want to turn into music. I'd be glad to have such cooperation and experience. I edit my texts using this service https://www.trustmypaper.com/ For me, the main thing is to correct mistakes, I don't want any ridiculous typos or mistakes in my songs, so I try to attach special attention to this item.

So when you write lyrics and try to perform/record them,
do you ever use contractions or dialects foreign
to your environment in order to capture a mood
or a cultural vibe?

For instance, if you decided to write a Reggae tune,
could you emulate the genre given your dedication
to eliminating what could be perceived as grammatical mistakes?
Thanks.
 
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studio

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well dang, thanks for the encouragement. i'm not tight with many musicians in my town. i've tried to make some connections but i guess i'm just socially awkward or something because people don't respond to me or what i'm doing musically, around here. i'm also north of 50 so starting a band or doing anything at all with any of my songs beyond their current state is extremely unlikely.

i guess my response to the OP made it sound like i'm working with a group. i guess i was sort of imagining what it would be like to do that again when i posted. i was speaking to how it 'used to be' when i was in a band. i'd love to find a couple of inspiring musicians to work with again but it seems like a pipe dream.

Never give up Popthree!
don't even think about it.
Your songs are cool.

I betcha there are good folk right here on this forum willing
to collaborate with you!

You just have to ask for help sometimes.
Thanks.
 

chulaivet1966

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Never give up Popthree! don't even think about it. Your songs are cool.
I betcha there are good folk right here on this forum willing to collaborate with you! You just have to ask for help sometimes.
Thanks.

Popthree....

I endorse the above direction.
That's what I did here.

A few years ago (2018) I solicited one of our contributors here.
Prior to contacting him, I listened to his work and level of musicianship which far exceeded mine.
I was very impressed, figured his style would fit my writing perfectly and decided to inquire with him.

I contacted him, we worked out an arrangement/agreement and the rest is history.
As it worked out....in the last 3 years we have collaborated on (8) songs and (1) composition. (all on my soundclick page)
If I hadn't reached out for fear of being rejected they would never have gotten finished to my satisfaction.
Yes....its easy to think...."what if he thinks my songs/comps truly suck and don't grab him at all"?
Well...that's just a chance one has to take but the potential reward justifies the the risk.

So....many thanks to Ken Lasaine for making them come together better than I could have imagined.
If I didn't inquire with him all (9) of these originals would still be sitting in an "Unfinished" folder on the hard drive.
Currently....my "Unfinished" folder is empty.....ahhh....it's a great feeling.
This year I wrote (4) songs and (1) comp....don't know where that creative burst came from so I may be creatively spent. :)
No new songs on my plate right now.

Hope that helps....have a great weekend everyone.

Carry on....
 
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popthree

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again, thanks for the positive and uplifting feedback! boy, i wasn't even fishing so that's really nice. thanks a bunch. i would love to collaborate with someone who A)knows how to mix and master B)digs my songwriting C)has time to work with me. if you are that person or you have a suggestion to whom i need to reach out, please PM me. i appreciate it.
 

chulaivet1966

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again, thanks for the positive and uplifting feedback! boy, i wasn't even fishing so that's really nice. thanks a bunch. i would love to collaborate with someone who A)knows how to mix and master B)digs my songwriting C)has time to work with me. .

That's the main issue from my perspective.

Therefore, I'd re-iterate....give a listen to other song writers' submissions here that might cater well to the genre that you would describe yourself.
May take some time but that's what I did and it fortunately evolved into a positive result.

Good luck with your quest. :)

Carry on....
 

Jim622

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If you are interested in your songs being critiqued or someone to collaborate you might want to check out the Songstuff site.
 




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