How I Approached Songwriting with My Youth Band by Scott Belle (Youth Band Leader on Base Studios’ The Junction Project)

  • by nicbriggs

    Tuesday, 1 August, 2017 - 13:13

It’s been a good seeing the journey that the group I’ve worked with over the past six months have been on. I want to look back on the first time they approached songwriting, individually and corporately.

Explain the simplicity, demolish the expectancy
Often, young people are in a world of reading and taking in written information, many thanks to the culture of modern technology. You know what I’m talking about - the social media, screen-filled world. They’re already in the system of sending or receiving something of themselves; whether it’s a current status about recreation, life skills, the big questions or how emotional we’re feeling.

I explained to my guys about starting blocks and building a song from just one word. We began with a brainstorming exercise to find a bunch of words, that could be something you could create a theme around your song. Hope, hopefulness, reality, restoration, restoring family life or relationships, and after some tweaks here and there, you have it…a song about hopefulness in the midst of family life which could transform and stir your passion to believe and put into practice what you want to see in the future. This kind of thinking in crafting a song, creates simplicity and demolishes our high expectancy for the songs we already hear that we think aren’t achievable.

 

Create a space to create
So the beauty about ‘The Junction’ Project is that there’s space to be you and build on new skills.

One of the challenges with creating a song together, where you have five musicians that want to play, is finding the resilience to listen, find your space and fit your sound in where you can. By using words and themes as a starting block, we could get every musician to be part of creating the theme. This meant that when they came to playing their particular parts, they played them from a place of ‘hope’ or ‘pain’ and were able to feel a part of the creative process.  

 

Embrace each other in collaboration

It probably takes the most time to encourage young people to include, support and accept each other’s collaborative ideas. Before I even started to look at songwriting with this particular group I wanted to establish some values which reflected the true sense of collaboration, that ‘everyone is in this together’. The hope is always that they get to know each other, appreciate the unique gifts and skills within the group, and choose to encourage each other. This ethos and atmosphere is what exceptional songwriting comes out of. The song then becomes everybody’s song, with each person embracing their role and encouraging others to do the same.
 

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