Wednesday, March 01, 2006
The ten step Marty Haugen song writing program
Make sure that you write your Marty Haugen song in the right environment and setting. It will really help if you put on a Barbara Streisand or an Andrew Lloyd Webber CD; the inspiration they give will really boost your song writing ability.
Many Marty Haugen wannabes claim that they personally find Kermit the Frog singing Rainbow Connection a real inspiration in their efforts to follow in the song writing footsteps of the Master.
Think about things like your favourite pet. If you don’t have a pet, then think of Lassie or Barney the Dinosaur.
Choose a song structure from the following options:
1. Verse, chorus, verse
2. Chorus, verse, chorus
3. Verse, chorus, verse, bridge
Choose and complete a song title from the following options:
2. Justice is...
3. Make us...
5. Lovely, lovely...
6. People of...
Find your favourite cute furry soft toy. Give it a big cuddle and hum your favourite Blue’s Clues song to it. This will help to keep your song writing focus and inspiration going.
Choose the appropriate time signature for your song from the following choices:
1. 4/4 Jingle timing
2. 3/4 Waltz timing
Pick an instrument to write your song on from the following options:
1. Folk guitar
2. Casio keyboard
3. Folk guitar and Casio keyboard
Write a tune. It needs to have a happy feel – think 1980’s show tune, or 1970’s elevator music.
Make sure your melody is easily sung by finding a child and trying the tune out on them, if it takes them more than two attempts to grasp the melody then the tune is too complex and needs to be reworked.
If you chose option 3 at step three then you need to make sure that your bridge has a completely different melody to the rest of the song – this helps to keep things lively.
Write the lyrics to your song.
For a song to be a true Haugen classic it needs to incorporate some or all of the following words and phrases:
Justice, community, gathering, eat at the table, communion of hope, peace, injustice, bread, singing people, new song, light, open our minds, you love our failures, weakness.
Do not consult the Catechism or any other official Church documents during the lyric writing process, it will just complicate your lyrics and taint them with an official hierarchical flavour which doesn't work for Haugen songs.
Test your song by doing the following:
1. Play your song on a Church organ, preferably in your Diocesan Cathedral. If it sounds good played on the organ then you need to start over. If this happens you might want to spend more time listening to Rainbow Connection before beginning the writing process.
2. Find a group of at least ten children and get them to sing your song. If it sounds the same with them yelling/singing it as it did when you finished writing it then you could be on to a winner.
3. Try it out at your local rest home. If the most tone deaf residents have no problems remembering your song after hearing it only once then you definitely have a hit on your hands.
An aspiring Marty Haugen song writer tests his latest composition