Went along to a ‘songwriters workshop’ offered as part of the Burnsong festival. The idea was that music professionals would critique your offerings on CD (or in one case a live performance). There were three in the panel, and they were ruthless in not listening to any tracks all the way through. This wasn’t unkindness – it reflected both a practical concern to address every song submitted, and the actual practice of the music business if you submit your songs to producers, labels or artists. Like everyone else, I secretly hoped my song would be acclaimed as genius, played right through because they couldn’t bear to stop it, and held up as a shining example. This did not happen (for anyone). They were fairly critical of the song (When I Went To Your House), and their criticisms, if uncomfortable, were sensible and, on reflection, correct. They asked if, as a narrative song, it had a ‘payoff’ at the end – ironically, they faded it out just before the very last line (they weren’t to know that).  On the whole it was an informative afternoon, with a few key perspectives offered which I hadn’t thought about, in terms of arrangement and the wider promotion of songs. I saw several other OOTB characters there (I’d be interested in knowing what they thought about it)  and, more interestingly, lots of serious and capable songwriters who have never graced OOTB.

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