March 2016 Meeting

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A bunch of us at a member’s home. Our assignment this month was to present a new original song based on one that we already loved, but with our own unique chords, melody and lyrics.

The moment before the songs. And the drinks.

The moment before the songs. And the drinks.

February 2016 Meeting

Featured

This month, the assignment was to write a song that had something to do with James Bond. Six out of the seven of us delivered. A couple of the songs were kind of anti-James Bond, which was interesting.

james bond song songwriting

We were only 7 songwriters this month, plus 6 guests.

November 2015 Meeting

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The assignment for our group this month was, “Write a song that has anything to do with the month of December.” Most of us did complete the assignment, presenting new songs on everything from how to spell December, to wassailing, to being afraid of a big Santa, to losing a family member, to imagining somebody loving you in that month, to baking a gingerbread slaughterhouse.
TSA_Nov13-2015

October 2015 Meeting

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It was a great evening at a member’s home (we change each month’s meeting location). The assignment for the month was to write a song about art or artwork.  Over half of us delivered, while giving and receiving feedback to make our songs better. Welcome to first-time attendee Gabrielle.
TSA_Oct2015

Sandy Blakeley’s “Worried Man”

Eric sent in this video of Sandy Blakeley performing his song Worried Man at the September TSA meeting. Sandy wrote this song when he was a member of Sea Elephants in the 80s and early 90s.

He says, “I do like to play this one still. Not quite sure why, but it seems to resonate with me.  It is about somebody who makes it back home during an intense storm and has no choice but to sit there and watch it. At the same time he worries about someone he is waiting for who is supposed to already have arrived. He wants to go back out to look for them but instead has to sit and reflect on what is going on.”

Toronto Songwriters June 2013 Meeting

We thought we’d share some pictures taken at our June 2013 meeting. Eight songwriters attended. Stephen, Chris, Sandra, and Anastace presented new songs.

TSA-June-2013

L-R: Chris, Mike, Robin, Stephen, Sandra, Eric, Anastace.

TSA-June-2013

L-R: Stephen, Chris, Sandra, Robin, Marc, Mike, Anastace.
Eric says something cheesy and snaps the picture.

Stephen-Targett

Stephen presents “happy song”, in which a love triangle plays out during a bank heist.

For more pictures, go to page 2.

Monthly Songwriting Assignments

Each month, we unleash chaos theory and cook up a songwriting assignment for the next  month’s meeting. The assignment could be anything from a general theme or a definite song title to a challenge to write, for example, ten new songs in ten days. Members are free to work on the assignment or follow the path of personal inspiration instead. Some of our best songs have come from assignments.

2017

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August: Bring 2 songs. Previously written ones, that is. We’ve all got songs no one else in TSA has heard yet. Let’s each of us bring a couple of them and have a fun night of getting to know each other a bit better through our songs.

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July: Wizard of Oz. Write a song inspired by the Wizard of Oz.

Optional: bring us a song from your own personal songwriter inspiration.

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June: Video Exchange Revisited. Submit a short video, get one back submitted by another participant. Write a song inspired by the video you receive.

Optional: bring us a song from your own personal songwriter inspiration.

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May: Write a song that has something to do with Science Fiction. You get a high-five for a  new song about sci-fi that you can later share over wi-fi in hi-fi.

Optional: bring us a song from your own songwriter personal inspiration.

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April:
Video Exchange. Submit a short video, get one back submitted by another participant. Write a song inspired by the video you receive.

Optional #1: Write a song with a singalong component. Teach us the singalong part when you present the song.

Optional #2: Bring us a new song from your own songwriter personal inspiration.

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March:
Write a song that has something to do with a PRODUCT. Maybe it’s the iPhone, maybe it’s your favourite brand of evaporated milk. Maybe it’s an imaginary product. Maybe you hate something about a particular product.
We’ll send our finished songs to the manufacturers and all make thousands of dollars, or be taken to court, as the case may be. May the muse be with you.

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February:
Write a song that has something to do with “no emotion.” Maybe your song could actually be called, “No Emotion,” or maybe it could be related to that feeling —  whatever tickles your fancy. It could be the opposite of traditional Valentine’s Day ideas.

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January:
Write a song inspired by Leonard Cohen.

2016
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November:
Write a song for Remembrance Day. Our meeting falls on November 11, Remembrance Day. So write a song called “Remembrance Day” or a song that has something to do with Remembrance Day.

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October:
Write a song with lyrics based on the viewpoint of a gender other than your own. This could be fairly broadly defined and could include any creature of the animal kingdom, trans-gendered giraffes being a definite possibility.

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September:
Lyric Exchange. Write lyrics to the title “The Lift” — submit these lyrics by next Friday August 19. We will then send your lyrics to another TSA member who will write a song based on those lyrics. Try to complete 2 verses and a chorus (a complete song is ideal but submit as much as you can).

This is an opportunity to whip off a set of lyrics in 10 or 20 minutes!! You won’t have to work with them!

To participate, contact us via the contact page for further information.

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August
Write a song about a cause. Any cause will do, but maybe one that you are passionate about. Below are some possible causes to get your creative juices flowing, but you would probably want to get more specific:

• Advocacy & Human Rights
• Emergency & Safety
• LGBT
• Animals
• Employment
• Media & Broadcasting
• Arts & Culture
• Environment
• People with Disabilities
• Board Development
• Faith-Based
• Politics
• Children & Youth
• Health & Medicine
• Race & Ethnicity
• Community
• Homeless & Housing
• Seniors
• Computers & Technology
• Hunger
• Sports & Recreation
• Crisis Support
I• mmigrants & Refugees
• Veterans & Military Families
• Disaster Relief
• International
• Women
• Education & Literacy
• Justice & Legal
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July: 
Write a song about a mythical creature or fictional character.

Optional sub-assignment:
Include a “riff” that reflects your mythical creature or fictional character.

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June:
Write a song that has some talking, speaking, or rapping in it. A tiny bit or a lot — it doesn’t matter.
One example of a song that has a LOT of speaking in it is Somewhere Down the Crazy River (Robbie Robertson) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4KP9PNSUME4

Optional sub-assignment:
Write a song that has a time signature that is not 4/4.

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May:
Write a song with a one-word chorus. Or two words if you absolutely need two, but you get the idea. One word can paint a thousand pictures.
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April:

1. Choose a song that was written specifically about another person (E.g. Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” Elton John’s “Daniel,” Jefferson Starship’s “Sara.”). The name doesn’t necessarily have to be mentioned in the title of the existing song, but that might make it easier and fun to do.
2. Write your own song from the perspective of the person who was mentioned in that song.
Have fun!
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March:
Write a song based on a favourite song. Take a favourite song of yours — famous or not — but somebody else’s song that you think is great. Then rewrite the lyrics so your lyrics exactly match the meter/structure of the song you’ve chosen. In other words, you could take your lyrics and completely replace the original lyrics. Then, rewrite the music using your new lyrics.

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February:
Write a song based on James Bond. Really, it’s about anything related to James Bond. Shake it and stir it any way you want.

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January:
Write a song based on a phone number. Here are some options:

  1. Use the digits in the number to suggest a chord progression. For example, if the first 4 digits of your phone are 4213. In the key of C that suggests the chord sequence F, Dm, C, Em or, if you want something jazzy, FM7, Dm7, CM7 and Em7.
  2. Use the digits to represent notes in the scale. 1 thru 8 give you do, re, mi … If you get 0 or 9 you could decide they are wild cards or a rest.
  3. Write about something the number suggests. 967-11-11 could be food related for example. 911 might prompt a cautionary tale. What is the first phone number you memorized? What does that bring to mind?
  4. If you’d rather use another number, PIN, SIN, serial, address, etc. Go for it.

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2015

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November:
December. Write a song about December — whatever that suggests to you.

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October
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Work of art. Write a song based on a work of art — preferably a painting but not necessarily. Yes, we’ve done it before, but it was voted top choice, made topical by the Rheostatics reunion shows at the AGO last weekend. They recorded a whole album of songs inspired by the group of seven.

Close-runner-up assignment: Write a song based on or inspired by a dream — preferably one of your own. Apparently ingesting vitamin B is supposed to aid in dream recall.

Attend a TSA Monthly Meeting

Complete and submit this form if you would like to attend one of our monthly meetings as a guest. There is no cost. We will contact you privately by email with details and directions.