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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

But wait, there's more!

By Ted Slowik


That's how much a couple guys are charging to critique your songs during a three-day "songwriting camp" in Indiana. A couple guys from Nashville, who have impressive creds, have organized this camp. You get a demo of your song, backed by pro musicians, and you get to perform it Saturday night during a shindig at the end of camp.

When I heard this I thought, what a brilliant idea for a revenue stream!

Because, essentially, that's what a group of friends and like-minded musicians are doing for free on Monday nights during Songwriter Circle at Chicago Street Pub in Joliet. Alex Hoffer hosts, and joining him for the second weekly circle March 4 were Steve, Mary Beth, Eddie and me.

We sat around for a couple hours, talking and playing. Alex offers very insightful feedback about chords, arrangements, structure--you name it. We played three of our own songs each. The feedback was very valuable. I mean, maybe not worth $1,000, but if you had to put a price on it I'd say it could run into the hundreds. Like a lawyer or doctor charging for professional advice.

I was able to pick up some guitar-playing tips. I had a couple lessons when I was a kid getting started, but I really only know basic chords. I don't know all my sevenths and ninths and minor diminished (or is it diminished minor?) chords. But I know if I keep hanging around this group I'm bound to absorb some good stuff through osmosis.

Anyway, Alex plans to continue hosting these on Monday nights at Chicago Street. They get started sometime after 8 p.m. If you're a songwriter looking for free advice, check it out.