What went particularly well during your mentoring sessions?
I think that Claire and I clicked well and had good open communication. It felt a little awkward at first however, after a little while it started to feel more casual. When we started talking about song inspiration (around 20 minutes into the mentor session) the conversation continued well and I felt really comfortable. When we got to talking about storylines, and lyrics and how musicals portray this in a different way than pop songs (as an example), since both Claire and I love musical theatre this conversation was high energy since we were both passionate about the topic. Since we both have similar passions in music (musical theatre, singing, guitar) conversation flowed pretty naturally and I felt comfortable sharing my song with her.
What learning challenges emerged? What did you do to hold yourselves accountable for the learning?
One learning challenge that emerged from my mentor session with Claire was that songwriting is a very personal art. This makes it harder to teach and give feedback than learning guitar for example, since it is such a subjective thing.
However, Claire was able to provide me with some feedback as to what she would do if this were her song. One piece of feedback that I have been focusing on is finding a place where the storyline of the song could be expanded in order to make the song longer. Which I will expand on later in this blog post. We found that if she gives me tips as if this was a song that she wrote then she has more feedback to provide. She also emphasized that since this is my song, it is ultimately up to me to decide what I want to do with it.
Another topic that we could talk about in detail is how she starts writing songs and her inspiration. This will help me in the future when I start writing my next songs. This helped move along conversation/interaction, and learning once she ran out of feedback for my song. In addition to this she gave me some song artists suggestions to listen to if I want to possibly feel inspired to write. We found ways to give and receive feedback about my song as well as other topics to talk about that could possibly improve my songwriting process in the future.
What three strategies could improve the quality of your mentoring interactions?
1. Prepare more questions in case there is a sudden lack of topics to discuss/feedback to give.
Although I came with a couple questions in mind for this mentor session, I used them all within the first 10 minutes because we are still getting to know each other so the beginnings of our mentor sessions are a little awkward. However, closer to the end of my mentor session, we had already covered the majority of what I wanted to accomplish so far in my In Depth project. It would have been helpful to have had a couple more probing questions to ask her in mind.
2. Taking notes while Claire is talking
This would prevent me from having to do extra work after my mentor session trying to remember specific details of things she said. Then at the end of my project I would also be able to look back and see my process made as well as the kinds of things I have worked on. This would also be useful while trying to write my next song because I could take the feedback from my current song and apply it to my next song as well.
3. Not feeling the need to fill every second with talking
When I’m not close with someone I don’t feel very comfortable sitting with them in silence. However, after showing Claire my song, she may need time to digest, analyze, and think, but she will not have the time to do this if I am trying to fill every second with some sort of conversation. This may improve as my mentoring sessions continue, however for right now I am going to try and keep this in the back of my mind when I have my mentoring sessions.
2 weeks have passed since my last In Depth post and a lot of work has been done but not much progress has been made. I spent a lot of the long weekend thinking about Claire’s feedback, trying to find a part in the song where I could expand the storyline and make the song longer. She gave me a couple of suggestions, but she also said, “Sometimes short and sweet is better. If you think this is all you need to tell this story, then that’s great too!” However, I did agree with her that it could be expanded. I tried to rewrite some parts, rearrange others, write free writes about this story to see what ideas could come from that. Unfortunately nothing seemed to stick out to me, and I have ended up with a bunch of scribbled out lyrics all over my notebook. Although I haven’t progressed my song much, I still feel as though I have made progress overcoming obstacles that at some points became a little frustrating. I started to think that maybe this storyline just really didn’t need to be expanded. Even if this may be true, I decided I wanted to continue to push beyond that point of frustration and continue to brainstorm ideas because it could only improve myself as a songwriter.
When I was sitting in english class last week (or 2 weeks ago?), and Mr. Morris was talking about Romeo and Juliet, he said the phrase, “written in the stars” because we had started talking about fate. This phrase immediately jumped out at me as a theme for a song. I have started carrying around my songwriting journal everywhere so that if I ever have an idea all of a sudden I can write it down for later. In my In Depth contract I stated that I am going to attempt to write a duet, I have a few ideas of how I want this to be the theme of the duet, however nothing is set in stone yet. I’m really excited to see how writing a duet will be different than writing a solo!
When I write, I write for me.
– Claire Lundin