What You Can Learn From An Expert Musician

What You Can Learn From An Expert Musician

As part of the Royal Albert Hall’s Education and Outreach Program, they invited 30 budding songwriters aged 16 to 24, to the Elgar Room for an inspiring workshop with Ryan Adams. Ryan has always been so prolific to me, and the things he writes about always feels like they transcend several generations, and situations. It is interesting to see some of his thoughts on his creative process. I am a physical therapist, so I thought to myself, self, what can you learn from an expert musician?

Ryan Adams Royal Albert Hall
Ryan Adams Royal Albert Hall

Here are ten things that the young talents learned and how it can apply to you:

1. Always carry a notepad and pen so you can write down overheard conversations, colors and things you see. ANY situation can be inspiring. (I carry around Moleskin pad in my pocket at all times for any time inspiration hits.)

2. Choose what you want a song to do, before you write it. (You have to set a goal before you decide how you are going to go after it.)

3. Look at the subject from different points of view and several points in time. Time isn’t linear – you could maybe start at the end and work backwards. (Think outside of the box, and look at ideas from different angles.)

4. The longer you sit around playing, the better the chances are that you find something that works. (Practice, practice, practice. Thats the only way you become good at your craft)

5. A thesaurus should always be key to a songwriter’s process. Turn to any page and find a word that resonates or inspires you. (Vocabulary, the more of it you know, the easier it will be to convey your message in a language that is understandable to your audience)

6. It’s crucial to disconnect and reconnect to help awaken something deeper inside when writing. (Unplug and disconnect from your occupation and situation at times. It will help clear the mind and re-focus)

7. If stuck, turn yourself into the character you’re writing about to alleviate your frustrations. You might even end up somewhere totally unexpected. (Engulf yourself in somebody else’s shoes and practice compassion and empathy to get a better understanding of things.)

8. Riff optimism: don’t entertain fear or doubt. When you are writing, nobody is listening or judging you. (You have to be courageous and not worry about what other people think)

9. Take existing songs that challenge you and reconstruct them as yours. Finding your own path through emulation will help you learn from the greats by doing things on your terms. (Surround yourself with 5-10 people who did what you want to do successfully, then emulate them and what they did.)

10. Go where your heart wants to go. Whether you’re working on a political or a spiritual battle cry, songwriting is always a personal journey. (Follow what you love and listen to your heart)

 

ONE THING I LEARNED TODAY:

Wisdom and knowledge can be gained from many different people in different settings.  It is beneficial to listen to experts on any subject and topic and see if you can apply it to your field or business. Experts became experts by doing just this: Practicing their craft and learning from prior experts.

 

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