To Do With Those
Musicians Send You
a songwriter's point of view)
recently completed a CD of original songs and gave out copies to
friends and family. Several weeks went by and I didn't hear a word of
response from any of the 25-30 people to whom I had given them. I
finally prodded one of the usually more vocal of these recipients
into a half-hearted response. He allowed as it was probably an okay
album, but it just didn't do much for himnot like my previous
album which he has practically worn out from playing so much.
was not particularly encouraging feedback. But I had to take it
seriously. It was, after all, representative of 100% of all CD
recipients who had responded.
began questioning whether I should take my desire for sharing in
another direction. Forget songs and music and recording. I'll just
make bird feeders and lawn ornaments to give away. If I'm going to
embarrass people with white elephant gifts, why they might as well be
giant butterflies or plywood cutouts of old ladies bending over. At
any rate, I did embark upon a musical sabbatical of indefinite duration.
something amazing happened. Perhaps it was the threat of my creative
energies turning cynical and homemade pink flamingos appearing on his
lawn, perhaps he was just exceedingly bored or had gotten his
medications mixed up. For whatever reason, the friend who had panned
my CD listened to it a second timeand then a third.
day there was an e-mail in my inbox that wasn't about Canadian
pharmacies or home refinancing or anti-s_p_a_m software. It was my
friend, confessing that the songs had grown on him! He had figured
out what they were about, enjoyed the lyrics, become familiar with
the melodiesand now he couldn't get enough of what he was
hearing. Well, what do you know? Maybe my future in music wasn't
washed up after all! 100% of respondents were now saying they loved it!
made the difference? Familiarity.
in a while, when we hear a song for the first time, we know right
away that we love it or hate it. The vast majority of the time, it
has to become somewhat familiar before we have any real feelings
about it one way or the other. This is where people in the music
industry have the advantage over people like me who are just trying
to be a blessing. When a song is played on the radio, you're forced
to listen to it until you either grow to like it or grow to prefer
when somebody gives away homemade recordings, they get listened to
one time (maybe!) out of curiosity or politeness. Typically, the
listener then thinks hmm, that didn't do much for me,
sticks it in a drawer somewhere and forgets about it. I confessI
have done this. It is a rare (and believe me, delightful) exception
to hear back that someone has allowed the music to be a blessing.
should YOU do with those embarrassing homemade tapes and CDs?
PREPARE: Get someplace where you're all alone and you're sure
nobody can hear what you're listening to. If you're in your car, roll
up the windows. Make sure you are in the best possible mood and are
feeling genuinely magnanimous toward the entire human
raceespecially the member who gave you the recording. (I am not
advocating the use of illicit drugs. Certain herbal preparations may
be helpful, but be careful if driving.) If you are a religious
person, make sure you are "prayed up".
Hit PLAY. Note: Don't overdo! It is always better to break up
overwhelming tasks into manageable smaller tasks. Consider listening
to just one or two songs a day, or even per week. You know your limitations.
LISTEN. This is the part that may stretch your horizons. Let
the songs bless, or entertain, or amuse, or confound or whatever it
is they do.
FOLLOW UP: Send some kind of feedback to the poor, pathetic
Don Quixote-like dreamer who made the music. Tell him or her which of
the effects in line 3 above, the song(s) had on you, or make up your
many chances should you give a recording
to grow on you?
are no hard and fast rules. It usually depends on how close you are
to the maker of the music. The following chart gives some
recommendations. If the CD doesn't grow on you within the number of
listens indicated, you are under no social or ethical obligation to
future spouse: see above and honestly evaluate if you want to be
doing that for the rest of your life.
homemade music a chance! In the time it took to read this article,
you could have listened to several songs and sent one or two
affirming, encouraging e-mails.