Monday, September 19, 2011

Why Bother With Journaling?

These 7 hints are for anyone's info... why you can benefit from keeping a bound book of notes that you carry with you. A future blog will show how to use your journal to efficiently write dozens of songs, if you want :)

JOURNAL DETAILS: Size and style depends on your special needs. I use an 8x10 fake-leather bound lined journal with 400 pages... The first and last 25 are for organizing NOTES and QUOTES. I fill up about 350 pages every 2-1/2 months.

There are currently about 190 original songs written and performed by me on (last update: 12/31/2011) and I have journal notes WITH sketched out music for another 100 or so, written in only 3 years. I could not write so many songs if I didn't keep my journal WITH me almost always, and record ideas immediately. (I'm forgetful... as we all are when "Life happens.") If there are songs in you that you yearn to write, you can easily do the same!

1. To feel better. Writing helps us to “work out” why we feel as we do, helps us learn who we really are. Seeing the causes for why we feel as we do often helps us to control our emotions and to see that feelings aren’t always logical – or, sometimes, even based on truth.
2. To learn from mistakes. When we record our mistakes, we’re more likely to remember them and learn....
3. To provide a place to record our insights. One day these might make great songs... like the humor of noticing a giant tail on a tiny squirrel, which led to my complete song WONDER.
4. For just plain fun sometimes, to go back and see how we thought or what we did years ago. (It’s good to be able to laugh at yourself:)
5. As a comfort to remember as you read about the bad things that happened to you that you pushed out of your memory, that you survived them... even if not in the ways that you wanted at the time. A cool Bible verse is 2nd Corinthians 1:4 observes that we can comfort other people with the comfort that helped us in the past. There's joy in helping other people. And we can see a bit of good come from whatever happened to us.
6. Journaling provides a data source - important for songwriters. We can record facts and ideas that we can later come back to. It’s especially useful to use margin symbols (like a moon for dreams and music note for song idea). These can help us teaching, recording songs or inventions or magazine article ideas, etc. Example: I recorded in my journal cool research on migratory studies; later I used them to write WHO TAUGHT BUTTERFLIES as a song full of both humor and actual scientific information.
7. Journals provide a good location for records. I jot down info from notes I send friends, and even staple or tape things like cards from people in mine for future enjoyment. And a journal makes a safe place for your Christmas Gift list:)
Much joy to you in preparing your resource journals for future songwriting!
©2011 DianaDee Osborne

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fast Practice for Difficult Singing

Many songwriters record their draft tracks in a home studio. If you do, you'll really love this hint. And if you don't, it still will help you "warm up" before recording a vocal track at the studio.
This hint works for any recording program; I use GarageBand myself, so that's my familiar example to share:)

1. Create a duplicate of the track that you sing to, and label it "TEMP" (temporary).
2. Find the place where you want to strengthen your singing with more practice.
3. Split the track a little before and a little after that place.
4. Open the Notation View (Score) and look at the very front top of your separated-out practice region. You'll notice a little ➤ arrow enclosed in a box after the name of the region, just above the ruler.
5. If you click on that arrow, GarageBand will play the region over and over and over until you press the space bar to stop the play. Other recording programs are capable of doing the same.

Hints for splitting GarageBand tracks are on my blog at
especially in August 2011.
Much joy to you in strengthening confidence as your note region repeats!
©2011 DianaDee Osborne

Monday, September 5, 2011

Great Mistakes - Lost in the Music

My July 28th post mentions that sometimes you should KEEP your mistakes long enough to really listen to them... because sometimes they turn out to be fantastic unpredictable music that adds a unique variety to your music that no one else would think of. Besides.... if you keep your mistake, it is no longer an error but a Design!

This hint is for songwriters who record initial tracks into their computer, such as with a GarageBand program. Sometimes when you play from your draft written music, you "get lost" and just sort of keep playing until you figure out where you were. At least, if you like me are not a perfectionist... if you're eager to record before you've completely mastered your music. The common response is to go back into the Notation view for the recorded track (let's say piano) and delete all your wrong measures and notes.

But consider: The phrase "pregnant pause" has meaning in music too. Quite often, you've gotten lost after a really strong music section. That pause meandering over the keys until you figured out "where you are" just might provide the mood change that bridges your song pieces and adds tremendous depth to your song. That gives the listener time to think and contemplate the lyrics. That gives time to really feel the music.

One of my favorite songs where I kept getting lost is "Prayer Pre-Requisites"... it's full of meandering note sections that I listened to during the song development and decided to not only keep but to copy through the length of the song. AS IN LIFE, MISTAKES OFTEN ADD INTEREST AND COLOR.....
Much joy to you in enjoying PLAYING music... not "working music"! :)
©2011 DianaDee Osborne

DianaDee Osborne GARAGEBAND Deliberate Percussion Mistakes

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Copyright Package Description (updated 1/2/2012)

An amusing Viewpoints newspaper article here on East Coast of the U.S. began with these words after the Virginia earthquake on Tuesday (that never happens in Va!), horrendous thunderstorm on Thursday, Hurricane Irene on Saturday, and resulting floods ---- "Now that we've had the Dress Rehearsal for the Apocalypse...."

Perhaps now we all might be writing the "songs in our heads" a little faster! This is the first of several blogs with hints on how to make preparation for your copyright package a lot (LOT) easier, based on my trials and exciting discoveries of how to streamline the organization.

To begin: You probably know that you can copyright any song just by writing
©2012 Your Name
with your song title. If it makes you feel better, you can add "All Rights Reserved." Of course, in real life, we know that the happier results tend to go to whoever has the biggest lawyer, and we're not discussing seatbelt size.

Did you know that it is REALLY inexpensive AND pretty easy to officially copyright your song with the U.S. Government Copyright Office?
Better yet, did you know that you can copyright 50 songs for the same cost as a single song?

1. The government copyright office (just google that phrase) has set up a rather use-friendly site for filling out the application with their eCO system (see 1/2/2012 blog for more details). The hardest part for authors is trying to figure out exactly what categories fit what you're copyrighting. For musicians it's easy: SOUND RECORDING.
If it is all original material, you still want to select "Music Arrangement" as well as music, lyrics, text, editing, and don't forget audio files.
"Music" = the notes; audio files are the recordings of those notes. Music arrangement is your unique adaptation, especially important if you've included any part of a Public Domain song, such as an old hymn. (Check out for more information on these.)

2. To prepare your copyright package, you will need (a) PDF files for paper versions of your song -- lyrics and scores, OR you can use a music notation method such as the OTEN method described as a resource at; and (b) MP3 files for the audio recordings. That's it! A future blog will give hints on easy organization. IMPT -- Your audio recordings do NOT have to be mastered and all gorgeously ready for CD distribution. You need only enough music to convey your creative concept. Don't delay just to get a great sound. The copyright office doesn't care.

3. You also do NOT have to wait until you've filled an album before preparing a copyright package. See #4 for the easy organization method that avoids this need. Later you or your representatives can do a collective album package if you want. These hints are designed more for indie musician-writers like myself who aren't waiting "to be signed".

4. I define "package" as a set of more than one song. I use a single "collective" name for every copyright package. My example: I have a dozen or so albums. As I write a new song, I assign it to the album name that best fits its theme, such as Amazing Hope 'n' Humor, or "Amazing Peace 'n' Passion." BUT for the COPYRIGHT package, I use a simple 2-step naming method:

(a) The title of my work for every package is
(b) In the space, I put the year and the package letter.

EXAMPLES: My first package was simply "2006 through 2009".
Then in 2010 I prepared and submitted three packages. The last of those is
During 2011 I copyrighted packages in 3-month groups, entitled
for January-March, and so on through 2011-G for Oct-Dec.
I continued the alphabet because it's easier in file folder naming... more on that another day.
Much joy to you in the eager anticipation of formally copyrighting your songs!
©2011 DianaDee Osborne