Songwriting Challenge #1

Its September and fall is upon us.  With school starting and the weather cooling, its a great time to start new projects.  And what better project than songwriting!  If you’re like me, you have wanted to write music for a long time.  Maybe you’ve even written a few pieces for specific readings, or written a Responsorial Psalm.  Maybe you have pieces of songs all over the place that just need finishing.

This community is for you!  In order to get this community started, I think its important to start writing and recording SOMETHING.  And that’s our first challenge.  Record yourself playing or singing something.  This challenge is meant to allow us to start introducing ourselves to each other and get some of the technical challenges of recording and sharing out of the way.  If you can’t come up with something, record yourself performing a cover of another song.  Record 30 seconds on an instrument.  Just start by recording something.

There are a lot of tools out there to help with recording and plenty of websites to describe the process.  I will be posting some links in the forums and I encourage others to post their own tools and sites.

Feel free to post links to your recording in the comments section.  There are many ways to share links to recordings.  You might look into Soundcloud or Reverbnation to start.

This challenge will close on September 30th.  Happy recording!


10 thoughts on “Songwriting Challenge #1”

    1. Rob, your psalm has great potential. Do you have lyrics and chords you can send to me?

      BTW, I recommend having the Comments automatically expanded when a person comes to this Songwriting Challenge page.

  1. I think a small drum like my darbuka would be great on the response part of this psalm. I found myself playing along. Here is the post to a psalm I wrote and recorded that includes my darbuka, which is a middle eastern drum.

    A member of Amy Grant’s band played one in this video from her Sirius XM interview last year-

    I also have an idea for something I have been meaning to write about and perhaps now I will make time to write a blog post here. I think people should have the opportunity to participate musically at mass in more ways than just singing. I think there should be more use of small percussion like egg shakers and small drums. We put too much emphasis on singing and not everyone can sing, as I know, having experience a paralyzed vocal cord and a tremor on my larynx from Parkinson’s disease. I will write more about this later.

    1. Shakers and small drums would be interesting. I know that a lot of youth groups and Catholic grade school choirs have percussion like you mention. Good idea. Hand clapping is one way many congregations add percussion, but Catholics are generally more reserved than Baptists or evangelicals. We used to do some clapping at St. Matt’s Church and the choir director would sway back and forth in a long flowing dress as she led musicians and singers.

  2. Joette wrote: ” I will post a psalm I wrote and recorded that includes my darbuka, which is a middle eastern drum.”

    Joette, sounds good. Would you like to have help improving your psalm or getting a fuller or better recording? Would you like to have it written down as sheet music? André van Haren at could possibly help with that. He has tutorials on engraving music using Sibelius.

    1. I already have it written down as sheet music. I would not remember my songs if I did not notate them. I know I could get a better recording if I had money to pay someone to record it for me. Any easy recording tips that are free?

  3. I originally wrote this contemporary-ish setting of the Psalm 16 text for solo voice with a couple of backup singers. I decided to record this alternate choir arrangement to make it a little “broader”.

  4. I’ve just added a “song player” jukebox to my Home Page, with many of the songs I’ve recorded through the years in one place (up to & including my most recent releases). I like this idea, since I’ve gone through so many musical phases (rock, dance, indie) and never felt like I fit in anywhere. Recently I’ve caught a few live videos of Billy Joel and Joe Jackson, which makes me feel like I’m not alone–there are other “mixed-bag” types of artists, which I can relate to. It feels right to put it all together in one place. Happy listening!

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