Deidre Rodman Struck's Blog (19)

The Somewhere Project Is Ramping Up!

Hi Songwriters!

It's not too late to be a part of the Somewhere Project! Here are some ways to get involved:

1.   Write a song based on the lyrics "There's a place for us". Excellent songs will be featured on Carnegie Hall's Somewhere SoundCloud:

2.  Go to Neighborhood…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on February 24, 2016 at 10:38am — 3 Comments

SOMEWHERE AND THE SWEET-OUT-OF-LINES, PART 1: NEW YORK

Hi everyone!

The Somewhere Project is ramping up! If you haven't yet started writing a song based on "Somewhere" from West Side Story, it's not too late!

If you haven't heard about the project yet, go HERE for a great overview on Carnegie's Somewhere Page, and to see artistic contributions from young people all over the city.

Then, there are lots of ways you can contribute…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on February 12, 2016 at 12:10pm — No Comments

Where is YOUR "place"?

So, I've been mulling over this song "Somewhere", from West Side Story. Specifically the opening line: "There's a place for us".

It's made me think--where is MY place? MY home?

And, well, the answer turned out to be more complicated than I thought.

Years ago, I wrote a set of songs based on the town where I was born; Twin Falls, Idaho. I recorded an album based on a sense of this place, which I did not know, but which I felt connected to, because…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 6, 2015 at 9:36pm — 5 Comments

THE SOMEWHERE PROJECT!

Hello, Songwriters!

I hope your fall is getting underway with pumpkin-spiced items and fuzzy blankets of goodness.

Autumn for me is a time in the city when the energy changes; you can almost sense creativity in the air as the leaves change and projects begin.

And so..it is time for us to begin a project, too!

As some of you may know, this year marks Carnegie Hall's 125th Anniversary, and to celebrate, they are presenting "The…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on October 14, 2015 at 9:30am — 5 Comments

LOVE SONG

HELLO, Songwriters!

If you don't know (or don't remember) me, I'm a Teaching Artist here at Carnegie Hall, and also a piano player/singer/songwriter. Last year all of us in the songwriting group partook (is that a word? It looks funny as I type it) in a lot of group songwriting prompts and challenges, getting to know each other and generally having a ball writing songs and listening to each other's songs.

IT IS TIME, PEOPLE. Time to catch up with each other, and…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on February 13, 2015 at 8:30pm — 4 Comments

THE UNCONVENTIONAL: Finding Yourself Through Taking a Risk

I'm sitting here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, getting ready to go check out the studio where we will be recording the winning song from the songwriting contest, on a beautiful spring day. (although my day started with me saying to my 2-year-old, "Cream cheese is NOT PAINT.")

Actually that's the perfect segue to the…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on May 22, 2014 at 9:17am — 3 Comments

Communal Title: Born Beautiful, Part 2

Hi!

I am LOVING everyone's posts, songs, comments, videos, participation, etc etc lately! It makes my heart SING and I know that is cheesy but I do not even CARE.

I hope that if you haven't yet, you each take part in the songwriting activities we have specially crafted for you on the site. And that each of you is considering entering our songwriting…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on April 29, 2014 at 9:20pm — 3 Comments

Get Into The Groove!

As you will all be made aware in the next day or so, our next songwriting challenge asks us to use one of my favorite songwriting tools--a groove, vamp, or ostinato. What does that mean? Basically it means setting up something repetitive that feels good first. Then the song is built on that. From "Thrift Shop" to "Thriller", this device can be heard practically every time you turn on the radio.

I used to have a songwriting partner, and we would give each other challenges, kind…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on April 13, 2014 at 12:09pm — 4 Comments

Communal Title: Born Beautiful

Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on March 31, 2014 at 10:00pm — 6 Comments

Communal Title: Brainstorming with an MX Songwriter

Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on March 14, 2014 at 9:08pm — No Comments

WHAT'S IN A TITLE?

Hello, Musical Exchangers! (or "MXers" as I like to call you)

It's been really fun reading everyone's title brainstorms from the What's in a Title activity. If you haven't done it yet, go give it a try-it's literally a 3-minute exercise!

In the exercise everyone was asked to jot down song titles for 3 minutes, without stopping to judge them. There have been some…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on March 9, 2014 at 8:00pm — 5 Comments

SONGWRITING ACTIVITY #5: Major to Minor

Sometimes when I'm stuck in my songwriting, I do something very simple: I take the melody I'm working with and try it with both major and minor tonal centers underneath.

For example: in the below video I take a piece of the folk song "Shenandoah", which is traditionally in a major key. Just to shake things up, I try it using the relative minor.

If your song is in C Major, try it in A Minor. If your song is in D Minor, try it in F Major. And so…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 25, 2013 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments

SONGWRITING ACTIVITY #4: BIG HAIR, BIG HARMONIES-Don't Stop Believin'!

Harmonies.

 

Ohhh, how I love harmonies. This could be because I grew up in a church where singing four-part hymns was the norm every Sunday, so I learned how to sing the different parts from a pretty young age.

 

Or it could be because two of my earliest-owned record albums were Abba's Super Trouper and Jan and Dean's Ride the Wild Surf.

 

Or it could be because I came of age in the 80s, when harmonies were big (and hair was…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 13, 2013 at 10:30pm — 2 Comments

SONGWRITING ACTIVITY #3: PENTATONIC MELODIES

Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 9, 2013 at 9:55pm — No Comments

SONG FROM ACTIVITY #2: CHORD PROGRESSION

I finished my song :)

Here you go!

 

 

Criminal







House on fire, stop



Search in all the cupboards for the contraband



Before the sound of sirens stops



Threatening the reward of leaving for the promised land







The windows locked



Can't find the door



All exits…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 7, 2013 at 9:44pm — 2 Comments

SONGWRITING ACTIVITY #3: MELODY: Randy Newman and the Pentatonic Scale

Here is the song that comes to mind for me lately when thinking about a great melody:

 

There is so much I like about this. SO MUCH.

 

But what in the world does it have in common with this?

 

That's right-the pentatonic…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 4, 2013 at 8:00pm — 2 Comments

SONGWRITING INSPIRATION #2: PEOPLE (Tribute Songs)

It is said that no man (or woman) is an island. We are all connected, and these connections can serve as powerful inspirations for songwriting.

 

There have been approximately 1.1 bazillion songs written about love/breakups (see: every song by Taylor Swift), which makes a lot of sense. Love is universal. I've written some on the topic, for sure. But I've also been inspired by people who I don't necessarily know.

 

Sometimes a song is about both. "Layla", for…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on October 25, 2013 at 8:06pm — No Comments

SONGWRITING ACTIVITY #2: CHORD PROGRESSIONS

 

Jolene, by Dolly Parton

 

This week's question is: what chord progression inspires you?

The activity is to write a melody based on that chord progression.

 

I've always been inspired by, well, chord…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on October 17, 2013 at 10:30am — 6 Comments

SONGWRITING INSPIRATION #1: PLACE

It almost feels like the impossible question.

 

"Who are you as a songwriter?"

 

I've been asked this question a lot throughout my career, and I find that the answer is ever-changing.

 

But that's the beauty of it, right? As artists we are always pushing ourselves to the next level, discovering gems under rocks others might pass by. We cross boundaries, blur lines, open doors (even if we don't always know what we will find behind them). What inspires…

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Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on October 12, 2013 at 12:52pm — No Comments

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