Month: May 2012

Strings, Woodwinds, Percussion…

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If I ever find myself witnessing a flash mob in person, it should be something like this:

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Ten Things I’m Thankful For Tuesday

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1. A Nashville Symphony dress rehearsal that’s open to the public, free of charge. My friends and I had really good seats, and the experience reminded me that spending a fortune to sit close to the stage is totally worth the sacrifice.

2. The Tim Keller book that just came in the mail.

3. The Stephen Sondheim book on its way to me in the mail.

This was the vantage point from our seats at the symphony.

4. Summer. It would be a good opportunity for reading the aforementioned books.

5. My dudes. I’m really thankful for guys I’ve become friends with recently and ones I hit it off with when I first moved to town a few years ago. It seems like there are a few pockets of young men coming together in an interesting way – like little brotherhoods forming. Heaven knows we need each other!

6. An extra cell phone battery. The phone someone just gave me is the same kind I bought years ago, and I still have the battery from the one I bought.

7. Dark, scary skies just before a thunderstorm. They’re just beautiful. And they have a way of reminded me that God is a force – someone whose power must be respected.

8. Large, durable boxes for moving. I’m just moving across the street, but I need these boxes nonetheless.

9. The Cosby Show Season 1 DVD collection. Finally rescued it from my DVD wish list and brought it home.

10. Those rare individuals who walk into your life and make you feel you’ve been friends with them since childhood.

The Worst Songwriting Tip I Know

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I was in high school when I became fascinated with songwriting. It’s funny to think about that, because I was not a natural, and songwriting didn’t come easily for me. Still doesn’t.

Nevertheless, I can’t seem to stop loving it.

When I started reading books about the craft of songwriting, I was amazed. Some of those books have really great content (all kinds of tips, encouragement, and insight for writers). But inevitably, and unfortunately, there are also songwriting books with content that is really…uninspiring.

I still remember the absolute worst writing tip I ever read. I call it the worst not because it was awful but because it was all wrong for me. What was the tip, you ask? Basically, the author recommended a little trick for finding song ideas, and the strategy was simple:
eavesdrop!

That’s right – eavesdropping on conversations of strangers was recommended as a way to find material or inspiration – a quote, an expression, a story, whatever. So, I tried it at a local coffee shop.

On my very first day of eavesdropping, I found out that listening in on random conversations of random people can lead to regret. I definitely heard some things I didn’t want to hear. And as a result, eavesdropping quickly disappeared from my arsenal of techniques. Thankfully, song ideas spring from a lot of different sources.

Song ideas pop up everywhere – sometimes in the middle of sitting with a buddy for a drink.

Ideas for songs are everywhere. They have a wonderful way of flashing by in the everyday observations and interactions of life. For example, ideas pop up sometimes in the middle of sitting with a buddy for a drink (of Kool-Aid). When something like that happens, a lot of writers reach for a napkin to jot down the idea.

Other times, you simply find yourself getting ready in the morning, singing a phrase that’s stuck in your head, though you have no idea where you got it from.

And of course, there are those turbulent times — moments when it seems the wrong person has walked out of your life, and a song basically pours out of you as soon as you open your mouth to express your feelings.

So, eavesdropping didn’t work for me, but I’m glad life sparks inspiration in plenty of other ways.

Libby Elmer

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“So much of life is about learning not to focus on those who look like they are perfect, but instead accepting God’s forgiveness when we fail, forgiving others who have failed us, and continuing on in the struggle to live a holy life. I think perhaps that is where God receives the most glory.”

-Libby Elmer