NT’s Top Ten Songwriting Tips

  1. Do it everyday! Have a writing routine and make sure you stick to it. Lately I have got into the habit of writing something at the piano just before dinner – I find there’s something about being hungry that makes me really creative! Saying that, It doesn’t matter where you are. The great thing about songwriting is you don’t have to be at the piano – in fact a lot of my songs were written in the car whilst driving. But this discipline of writing everyday means in time you will have collected a huge volume of songs or song ideas. The best songs will start to make themselves known because you’ll want to keep singing them.
  2. Don’t forget your ideas! Make sure you keep a notebook with you at all times. This can be digital or paper or in my case both. When I started writing songs I’d record everything onto a cassette tape but now I use the Voice Memo recorder on my phone. There’s lots of great phone apps – I’ve used one called Music Memos which is very cool.
  3. Always be in songwriting mode! Observe the world around you and listen carefully to the things people say and how they say it. Also, your own thoughts, dreams and things you see and hear all around you are rich with potential song ideas, titles, rhythms or melodies.
  4. Set yourself a challenge! Be strict with yourself. Write a song in a given time frame. Give yourself a topic to write about. Write a song that has loads of chords in it. Write using 2 chords only. Write a complete song a day for a whole month. If you always write on guitar try writing on piano or another instrument. These challenges will create some interesting songs!
  5. Embrace technology! There are so many free music apps available. Try using the music you can create on these as a starting point for a song. It could be a drum pattern or a complete backing track. Try writing a song over the top. If you can afford it buy a drum machine or a synthesiser. See where the sounds take you.
  6. Have high standards! Even if you’re doing this for fun ask yourself – Is this lyric the best it can be? Is this melody memorable? Do I like this song? If not, don’t be afraid to rewrite.
  7. Experiment! Rules are made to be broken! When you’ve written a song why don’t you try moving the verses around, start with the chorus, make the bridge section longer, insert an instrumental section, try a key change, get rid of the introduction, add an extra bar at the end of the second verse, add a pre-chorus, try slowing down or speeding the song up, try singing it in a different key(higher or lower). Obviously you don’t have to do all of these things all at once in every song, but you can try it!
  8. Sing out loud! Try singing the melody out loud. Is it memorable? If you sing it to your friends or family can they sing it back to you easily after one listen? If not, work on it until it’s so catchy they can’t get it out of their heads! Is the melody of the verses different from the melody in the chorus? If not try starting the chorus on a different note – see what happens. Look at the shape of the melody in the verses and make sure the shape of the chorus is different enough to stand out and be memorable.
  9. Get rid of words you don’t need! Often you will have a lot of words you don’t need just getting in the way of the singing and melody i.e. just, so, that… Remove them and see what happens!
  10. Co-write! Writing songs with others is great fun and can be very productive. But don’t forget to listen to each other and respect them. Don’t go with a blank piece of paper. Take your ideas note book with you. That way you’ll always have something to work from. Recognise a good idea and don’t be upset if your ideas don’t get chosen. It doesn’t mean they’re bad ideas they just may not fit the song you’re working on right now. Be passionate and enthusiastic and write great songs because you love writing and not because you want to be famous or rich!
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“You helped me do something today I never thought I could” 

Friends, we need your help. The aim is simple, to deliver an exciting new songwriting and music project designed to empower young people in recovery from addiction. And we need you to help us by making a donation to make this project happen.

This is a new project, in an area of the country we’ve not worked before, and with beneficiaries who would benefit from the time and creative expertise of the Songwriting Charity’s workshop leaders and support workers.

We’ve named this project, Stronger Together, the objective is to embrace the needs of young people aged 14-19 who have experienced difficulties because of drugs and alcohol, and supporting them and empowering them through the art and craft of songwriting and music creation. The project will start on 18th April 2017. We have a base for the project. Young people who are already engaged in recovery are aware of the project and will be meeting with us soon to talk about the next steps.

Workshops led by Nathan Timothy and his team of freelance artists  will work with young people who will self refer over the course of six weeks, focusing on their strengths rather than their difficulties, helping them to look forward to the future with positivity and hope. The project will be based in a safe and welcoming environment, one that the young people will be familiar with and comfortable working in.

The funds raised will be used to entirely fund the costs of workshop leaders, session workers, pastoral support and venue costs. The route from donor to beneficiary couldn’t be clearer or more direct. We are accountable to our beneficiaries, and to you, the donor. We will share the successes, difficulties, impact, the things we make together and the changes that occur as a result of the project.

The title of this post is apt. Many children and young people say to us “You helped me do something today I never thought I could…..” this statement reminds us how powerful songwriting and music creation can be. It shows how opportunities like this can help by providing positive social experiences, addressing problematic attitudes and perceptions, and distracting from negative and damaging influences in a creative way.

Please consider making a contribution to this project, and in doing so you’ll help us replace a young persons feelings of hopelessness and negativity with a sense of pride, optimism and achievement.

Contribute here.

Nathan Timothy Receives Prestigious BASCA Gold Badge Award

Founder and CEO of the Songwriting Charity, Nathan Timothy, has been honoured in this years Gold Badge Awards for… “inspiring and empowering a whole generation of children and young people through music.”

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The BASCA Gold Badge Awards have been presented for over forty years and honour those who have worked tirelessly to support the British songwriting and composing community. This year, Nathan shares the list with a glittering collection of creative individuals.

Crispin Hunt, BASCA Chairman said: “It is a great pleasure for BASCA to celebrate the creativity, inspiration, taste and genius included in this year’s list of Gold Badge Award recipients. Each of these remarkable individuals has helped shape the architecture of the music Britain loves in their own unique and significant way. For BASCA’s community of songwriters and composers to be able to congratulate and pay tribute to their influence in our profession at this joyous event is an honour. It’ll be a good one.”

We’re very proud of Nathan for all of the hard work and dedication he has put into his songwriting career over the last couple of decades, and his work inspiring and empowering children and young people through the wonder of music and songwriting.

We hope you’ll join us in congratulating Nathan.

Well done, buddy!

Songwriting Charity label debuts new album, Stronger Together

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The Songwriting Charity launches One Song One Day Records, a label set up exclusively to promote and support the charity’s creative projects in schools across the country. Debuting on the label is an exclusive new album containing a collection of songs written and performed by children involved in one of its projects. ‘Stronger Together’ marks a unique two-year collaboration between the Songwriting Charity and Kent based Milton Court and Kemsley Primary Academies.

Cathryn Andrews, Executive Headteacher said, “So many of our children have benefitted immensely from the wonderfully creative process that Nathan and his team provide. ‘Stronger Together’ is something that is beyond special – a collaborative and celebratory song that weaves the work of the two schools together. Each song signifies the growth and development of creativity, wellbeing and a sense of belonging for each one of our children.  Amazing songs by amazing children brought to life by an amazing Charity”

Songwriting Charity Patron, Rupert Hine said, “The Songwriting Charity powerfully illustrates how children working together creatively as a team can rise above their individual practical difficulties and limitations and create something fun or even beautiful in a field that is very close to my heart.”

Nathan Timothy, Songwriting Charity Founder and CEO said, “We’re inspiring the next generation of songwriters! One Song One Day Records is all about building on the positive experience we’ve provided, inspiring children to want to write and record songs again and again. Making their hard work available through digital platforms like iTunes and Spotify children can show their parents, families and friends and enjoy being famous in their own living rooms! Downloading or streaming the album is also a fabulous way of supporting The Songwriting Charity. All royalties will be ploughed back into future projects so we can provide more workshops in schools and inspire even more children to take up songwriting.”

Stronger Together is available to download or stream from iTunesSpotify, Google Play and Amazon

The Songwriting Charity has so far worked in more than 500 schools around the country and abroad. The charity’s work has positively impacted on the wellbeing, self–esteem and confidence of more than 20,000 children and young people since it formed in July 2011. To date, 1100 songs have been written by young people for young people, covering issues such as bullying, health, mental health, equality & diversity and relationships.

Notes:

The work of the Songwriting Charity engages with children and young people to generate creative energy around issues that impact on their lives such as bullying, health, mental health, nutrition, wellbeing, school transition, the world around the, all through songwriting. We address and boost their emotional health and wellbeing through the delivery of intensive songwriting and music technology workshops. All of our workshops and programmes are unique, presenting children with opportunities to sing, write lyrics, perform and record their ideas both individually and as a team – learning about their world and supporting the progress of their friends every step of the way. Recorded material is then available for children to download and schools can use the songs for presentations, assemblies, and special events or for use out in the wider community.

The Songwriting Charity formed in July 2011 and has bases in Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Kent and London.

Nathan Timothy is a member of the following associations: BASCA – The British Academy of Songwriters, Composers and Authors, AIM – Association of Independent Music, Musicians Union, The BPI and PRS.

Rupert Hine has worked with some of biggest names in the music industry as a producer and songwriter including Tina Turner, Bob Geldof, Thompson Twins, Suzanne Vega, Chris De Burgh, Rush, Wilson Phillips, Dusty Springfield and Stevie Nicks.

Find out more about the Songwriting Charity here:

http://www.songwritingcharity.org

 https://soundcloud.com/the-songwriting-charity

https://twitter.com/SWCharity

https://twitter.com/OS_OD_Records

http://www.youtube.com/user/SongwritingCharity

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Songwriting-Charity/

http://swcharity.wordpress.com

 

Milton Court Primary Academy is federated with Kemsley Primary Academy and sponsored by the REAch2 Academy Trust. 

Nathan Timothy Foundation ‘The Songwriting Charity’, www.nathantimothyfoundation.org

The Songwriting Charity has offices in Cambridgeshire, Gloucestershire, Kent and London.

Company No. 7719125

Registered charity no. 1146228.

Patrons: Guy Fletcher, OBE FRSA and Rupert Hine, APRS

For all enquiries, please contact John Quinn: john@songwritingcharity.org

Getting better as I try, innit

On the 6th June, NT & JQ will be leading 18 riders on an overnight cycle round our capital. The team aims to raise £10,000 to get our anti-bullying initiative Bully Beat into more primary schools. Bully Beat helps children to understand the effect, impact and consequences of bullying, it also helps to build their confidence and improve their self esteem, the very things that bullying can erode and destroy.
Parents often tell us by email or via social media just how much Bully Beat has helped their children gain in confidence, and the boost to self-esteem they’ve experienced being a songwriter and recording artist for one very special day!
With your help, we will reach many more children affected by bullying behaviour.

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On this occasion I am out with fellow Nightrider participant Nick Lomax. Nick, Fergus and I are three Girton Dads and along with one Girton mum and 16 other riders, we are taking on the Nightrider London; 100km or 62 miles around London starting at Lee Valley VeloPark or Crystal Palace Park. It’s at night, on the roads and with London’s late night revelers, city custodians, workers and night buses running while we cycle our hearts out. Taking in the major sights and climbs, this is going to be one hell of a night of cycling.

Nick has been a rock and is a magnificent coach (salute), a role he has accidentally assumed owing to the many questions I continue throw his way about this and that. All of us are raising funds to beat bullying through the Songwriting Charity’s brilliant songwriting in schools programme, Bully Beat. It’s…

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Preparing for Nightrider 2015

SWCharity Nightrider

Between now and June 6th, we’ll be pushing out blogs written by some (if not all) of our registered Nightrider charity cyclists. Most of the people taking part are like me (JQ) novices when it comes to cycling and participating in this kind of challenge. There are also a number of seasoned cyclists on our side who have contributed much already in terms of advice, information, hints and tips on getting the most of this experience. Terry Maley, Dewayne Artrey, Fergus Gracey and Nick Lomax, thank you!

Our first contributor is Sarah Willson, Project Accountant, SAMSON Materials Handling Ltd, Ely. Sarah is one of eight SAMSON MH employees including Songwriting Charity Trustee, Sharon Hall, taking on Nightrider to help us to beat bullying this year and beyond. Sarah has started training hard for the challenge and is doing well and shared the following with us, “Ok, chose nice country roads and managed 13.5k. Could have gone further, just didn’t know how far I had gone but quite pleased with that. Saying that not sure bum could handle more. Not sure if I’m going to be able to sit down tomorrow. Ordering padded leggings this afternoon!”

13.5k is a good distance, keep it up Sarah. Don’t forget the old maxim ‘little and often’. Getting saddle time in these early days is vital. I’ve been advised that padded shorts/leggings are also a must have!

Sarah is fundraising for the Songwriting Charity‘s anti-bullying programme Bully Beat. Bully Beat helps children to understand the effect, impact and consequences of bullying, it also helps to build their confidence and improve their self esteem, the very things that bullying can erode and destroy. Parents often tell us by email or via social media just how much Bully Beat has helped their children gain in confidence, and the boost to self-esteem they’ve experienced being a songwriter and recording artist for one very special day!

With your help, we will reach many more children affected by bullying behaviour. Please support us and support Sarah Willson’s efforts by making a donation here: https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/sarahwillson1

 

 

‘Thinking out Loud’

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Children of Queenborough School and Nursery in Kent miming the Ed Sheeran/Amy Wadge Song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ in a special video tribute, part of a school music project, filmed by Nathan Timothy, CEO of the Songwriting Charity.