Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Sean on August-1-2008

Stevie Z over at has just posted his idea to do a monthly songwriting challenge.

I’m clipping the post here:

By Stevie Z

Partly inspired by Jonathon Coluton, partly by Bob Goyetche and partly by Robbie Hancock, I’ve been mulling this idea over for a couple of weeks now.   I’ve also looked for something like this in the past, and I couldn’t find it.

What I would like to do is have a monthly “challenge” – not a contest because it’s not about the best, it’s about the songs.  I’m going to also talk about this on my next episode of The Sieve! which is (believe it or not) coming out this weekend.

Every month I’m going to present a topic, a genre, and a specific word or line, and it will be up to the presenters to submit a song that follows those rules.  I’m trying to make it fairly specific because it is, after all, an exercise in songwriting, and the more challenging it is, the more, um, challenging it is…, does that line sound stupid to you too ??

Another reason that I’m doing this is because I find personally that I need that ’spark’ to get a song going.  I can’t just sit down with some idea that I’ve come up with and bang one out – I need a couple of ideas to string together before it flows.  I’m hoping that some songwriters out there will come up with some good stuff, and I’m also hoping that people will send them in.  I might put a poll up so we can have a “people’s choice” or something like that, but I might not, what do you think?  I can tell you now though, there won’t be prizes, save the satisfaction of a job well done, and a tune well liked.

Here are the rules I’m thinking of settling with:

  1. The Challenge is open to anyone, anywhere in the world (or universe), professional or amateur.  Individual musician or band.
  2. Any instrument (or none at all) can be used…this includes spoons, saws, plate glass windows, vacuum cleaners, etc.  Submissions can be A Capella, but it still has to be a song, not a read poem…..that challenge will come later….
  3. I would prefer it if the song was written specifically for the Challenge, which is the whole point, and the reason for making it fairly specific each month.
  4. All submitted songs remain the property of their authors, but must be licensed under a Creative Commons License allowing non-commercial use (IE Podsafe, IE they must be allowed to legally play on non-commercial podcasts without licensing fees being paid.  For more info go to Creative Commons Canada.
  5. Submitters have 30 days from the date the challenge is issued to send their songs in.
  6. The songs must be in the genre specified, plus be about the topic specified, and contain the word or line…um….specified.
  7. Recording quality is not as important as the song – if you can record a decent enough version using your kid’s Fisher Price tape recorder sitting on your kitchen table, great.  Bear in mind, however, that the quality should at least be good enough so that people can understand the lyrics, and it isn’t painful to listen to.
  8. A sampling of songs will be played on episodes of The Sieve! as well as other podcasts.
  9. All credit, links, info, etc. will be given to the song’s authors.
  10. Your mileage may vary.
  11. This is not a ‘contest’ in that there are no prizes.  This is merely a challenge to get the creative juices flowing, and create some entertaining listening for people, and to get your name and songs out to the world.

That’s all I can think of right now, please feel free to email me at if you have any other ideas or suggestions.  Being as this is August 1st, I’m going to issue the first Challenge this weekend on The Sieve! which you can find here. I’ll also post the Challenge on this blog as well.

Good luck, and happy writing!

Stevie Z

It looks like fun.  I think I’ll give it a go if I can think of something to fit the theme.  — dtg

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