We all know of songs that have been written by well- known or not so well- known composers, and many of us can remember a time when we created a song but we got on with the business of living, and never thought of ourselves as musicians, or specifically, composers. Whatever happened to that song ?
When did I write it?
The activity of songwriting is not limited to persons educated at a music school, ot tutored into learning piano basics or other instruments. This is because there is an intuitive element in melody, harmony, and rhythm that people have which allows us to appreciate what we hear. Some people, are able, through this faculty, to create songs that cause others to marvel. Remind yourself of the time when:
- as a child at play, you put words and music together to make a jingle that found delight among your friends
- you wrote a poem and gave it a melody
- at high school, you were a member of a singing group and you created a song that you enjoyed
- you wrote and sang a tribute to someone special
- as a member of a church or community choir you created a song that was performed by the group
- with your guitar, you strummed out an instrumental riff that sounded great
Where is that song?
Good question. As far as you can remember it was never noted anywhere. So where is it ? Very likely it is still in your head and no one will be able to benefit form your gift because you have not used it. You might be the only one who knows of it.
What can I do with it now?
Now that you remember that there was a song, or many songs, it is time for you to look for it/them. Check anywhere that you might have scribbled something down. Do any or all of the following:
- Grab your phone and record what you remember
- Search for a musician or songwriter to help you complete it
- Get in touch with an audio engineer and arrange to do a good recording of it. If you don’t want to sing it yourself, you can hire a singer
- Establish ownership with the Library of Congress or with a Publishing Rights organization
- Have someone prepare a lead sheet showing the lyrics and the chords only
- Have someone score the song on a music sheet, from which anyone can play or sing it
Over the years in my music circles, I have heard so many people express regret that they didn’t not have a copy of their song. A friend of mine Kevin, told me how he heard a group singing the chorus of a song he wrote twenty years before, and he could not claim ownership because he had nothing to show. I also know of Sharon who composed a four line jingle and recorded it. Ten years later her brother took it to his friend, a musician, and now she is enjoying the payments she gets from licensing it to a music library. They chose it for a travel destination ad. Every time that ad plays, she sees $$$$.
You can do so many things with your compositions and even if you record it and make no commercial gains, you can be happy that you can share it with family, friends and future generations. The world needs your music. Can you imagine what would happen if John Lennon did not record IMAGINE?
Can you recall a song you wrote? Well you have work to do. Get busy !
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