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Lessons and playlists

Writing tools: the curio book

If you want to write—whether prose or poetry or songs, fiction or nonfiction—one great practice you can adopt to fuel your work is keeping what I call a curio book. This could be a small paper notebook or a notepad app on your phone—anything that you have with you wherever you go. Use this book to...

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Understanding song form

Adapted from The Complete Singer-Songwriter (Backbeat Books). Click the cover for more info. Beneath all the nuances of melodies and lyrics, most songs are built from the same basic parts—some kind of sequence of verse, chorus, bridge, and so on. For writing a song, learning to play someone else’s song, or communicating with other musicians,...

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Facebook etiquette for live music fans and musicians

Performing musicians rely on social media to connect with their audience, and fans love that kind of direct communication with artists—it’s a mutually beneficial relationship. But as with most aspects of human social interaction, things can get…awkward on social media. People can be insensitive and even rude to those they mean to support, without realizing...

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Syracuse winter workshops

Central New York musicians: take advantage of your indoor time this winter and sharpen your guitar playing or songwriting in these workshops led by Jeffrey Pepper Rodgers, founding editor of Acoustic Guitar magazine, grand prize winner of the John Lennon Songwriting Contest, and author of Beyond Strumming and The Complete Singer-Songwriter (more about JPR). See...

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David Rawlings on writing songs from tradition

[Poor David's Almanack] came out of 20 years of thinking about folk music and the roots of things, and seeing that so much beauty comes out of the fluidity of writing from things that move you. Sometimes I listen to songs that I love and I think, 'Wow, it’s like we’re all standing on the...

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