How are these seemingly different worlds all connected? Culinary, designing buildings, creating great songs…working as an effective team mate or “co-idea generator?” I’ve been toying with the idea for some time, and in browsing through an interior design magazine at the book store the other day (looking at kitchen design of course) it came to me. Teamwork is such a cliche, but think of how a team in the fast-paced, high pressure kitchen of a 5-start restaurant work together on their products and services. Think of the teamwork involved of building the brand new, World Trade Center on that tragically, historic spot. Think of the fact that the average number of writers to collaborate on a #1 Pop song today is 4. That’s a lot of teamwork! So cliche? I don’t know, but I like my eggs well done, scrambled with cheese…any kind of cheese.
1. Opportunity to be influenced by a different process
Each songwriter has their own natural songwriting process. Sometimes these processes work very well, but other times there is much room for improvement. One writer can get stuck “inside their own head or vision too easily.” Co-writing is a great opportunity for you to improve upon your own process by seeing how another approaches the same song – what works and what doesn’t work – and to adopt some new writing techniques. This same benefit exists in any organizational or workplace environment. Being influenced by a new process and/or new ideas often leads to creation of new creative solutions. Try it today, take your ad campaign concept, architectural design, new recipe for your food truck and throw them out to the team. See if they improve upon your “masterpiece” through constructive collaboration. Now, what if your work in progress seems stuck? Well…….
2. One man’s garbage is another man’s treasure
Songwriters who have been at their craft awhile have songs they either dislike or can’t finish that a songwriting partner may see something in, therefore turning a potentially “lost idea” into something unique and special. You scratch my back, and I’ll scratch yours. Every voice at the table has something unique to offer, providing we truly have open forums. Your “throw away song” could be a hit tomorrow, and your “lost idea/invention/service or product development project” could be the next i-phone or Post-it notes…IF you open up your doors and let someone else in to help shine the light on your creation, look underneath the hood and help you to turn coal into a diamond. Maybe this process will help you adjust the way you work or view your own methods and…..
3. Open new doors to try new things and create new sounds
Just like your own process, every songwriter develops their own style and sound. Working with another songwriter can help you to see things in a different light, and to possibly try new things that you may not have otherwise even thought of, helping you to achieve a new, different sound. OR, it may teach you (if you are open to learning) a new way to achieve the desired result. Hit song, new smart-phone app. Etc..etc…
4. Critiques are more effective
An important part of the songwriting process is to critique your work, to find out what may be helping the song to strive, or what may be holding it back from succeeding, and to tweak it’s structure for the better. Doing this yourself is important, but working with a co-writer offers you the opportunity to put a new set of eyes on the song and to actively and openly discuss all parts of the song. Again, this may lead to seeing things differently and help you to open new doors to tweak your song (or not tweak your song) for the better. So, if you’ve come this far, please remember, you stand to gain nothing at this part of the game by saying you’re open to critique, but not actually listening to feedback from the other truly with an open heart and ears.
5. It can be fun, helping your creativity to flow!
While some songwriters prefer to do it themselves because their songs may be deeply personal and/ or introspective, there is no doubt that a collaborative effort can be fun and exciting. Working with another offers the opportunity to piggy-back off each other’s excitement and energy which will show in the music. The same can be said for grabbing a white-board, some markers and a designated time for brainstorming each day within the confines of your own field/business. Or for that matter at home! What if while working together in the kitchen on a Sunday morning, you and your better half in this casual setting… brought up one “problem” and focused together on the solution. What would that look like? Could you have fun with it? Could the ebb and flow of the cooking and clearing process jog your creative juices? Come on, brewing the coffee, scrambling the eggs….seems perfect environment of “Getting things done” in a non-threatening setting to achieve one solution to at least “Try” for the week ahead right!
Okay, go make it happen. Create one solution this week, improve on one idea or product/service, open your ears to the others around you. You’ll be amazed at what happens.