Who, What & Where About Songwriting Organizations By Anne Freeman,
you are a beginning songwriter, there are some things to think about
before joining a songwriting organization. But first of all, congratulations
for starting your creative journey! Secondly, don't rush!
Spend some time exploring your "muse," your inner creative voice.
Express yourself any way you want to and don't worry about "doing
things right" at this time. Become comfortable with writing songs.
You have the rest of your life to learn the Whys and How-tos of
writing songs. Fortunately, songwriting is one area of the music
business where being young and pretty are not important to
your success as a songwriter. Relax and have fun with it.
you are ready to join a songwriting organization, there are several
different kinds to choose from. We'll take a look at them now.
& International Songwriter Organizations
or international organizations represent many genres of songwriting.
Most are not genre-specific and have members writing all types of
music. These are formal organizations that require dues for membership,
have elected and/or appointed governing boards, an executive director
and an office or offices with full-time staff. They provide a variety
of services for their members, which include professional songwriters
along with aspiring songwriters. They are headquartered in major
music cities and may have satellite offices in each of the major
Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI) is one such
organizations. NSAI sponsors local chapters and workshops for its
aspiring songwriters who do not live in a major music city. Local
NSAI workshops have regular meetings run by volunteer coordinators
who are appointed by and trained by NSAI. NSAI workshops offer songwriting
lessons using professionally designed songwriting curriculum, peer
song critiques, performance events, speakers, and more. You can
find the location of local NSAI workshops on NSAI's website at www.nashvillesongwriters.com.
large songwriter organization is the Songwriters Guild of America
(SGA), which you can learn about by visiting their website at www.songwriters.org.
The Songwriters Guild has excellent resources regarding the legal
aspects of songwriting, such as a model song publishing agreement.
Songwriters Guild can offer important services to you as you begin
to place your songs with artists.
example of a genre-specific national organization is the National
Academy of Popular Music (NAPM), which is a part of the Songwriters
Hall Of Fame. NAPM was created by the Songwriters Hall of Fame specifically
to assist its nonprofessional songwriter members to learn the craft
and business of songwriting. As its name implies, NAPM focuses on
popular music. www.songwritershalloffame.org.
large organizations, such as The Recording Academy (The Grammy People),
serve members representing many aspects of the music industry, songwriting
If there are music-related organizations of any kind in your area,
it's worth doing some research to find out if they provide services
and activities for songwriters.
types of music-related organizations, such as the Acoustic Guitar
have local chapters for its members around the country. The chapter
events may also include songwriting or music composition as part
of their offerings, so they are also worth looking into.
and international songwriter organizations develop resources and
activities with the serious-minded aspiring songwriter in mind.
You don't have to be a professional songwriter to join them, but
you will find their activities and services are based on the assumption
that you want to become a professional songwriter at some point.
If financial resources are an issue to you, you may want to wait
to join one of these organizations until after you've participated
in more local organizations and started to gain some songwriting
skills and knowledge of the music business.
you live outside of the USA, you will find that many countries have
national songwriter organizations, as well.
and Regional Songwriter Organizations
and regional songwriter organizations that are not affiliated with
a national or international group are alive and well and quite possibly
meeting in a city near you! State and regional organizations will
typically have a governing board, one person who is îin charge,"
a newsletter, and will hold regular meetings. They usually charge
nominal membership dues to cover the costs of postage and other
miscellaneous expenditures such as meeting room rentals. They most
likely will not have any paid staff or permanent headquarters.
organizations will sponsor songwriting workshops, open mics and
other activities for aspiring songwriters. Look to them to also
organize occasional or annual large events with music industry professionals
to run workshops and seminars. Some even sponsor songwriting contests.
and regional songwriter organizations can be an important stepping-stone
in developing your songwriting skills, performance skills and your
knowledge the music business. They usually have ties to the national
and international organizations, and the music industry in their
respective states. Some will have ties to the major music centers.
Their membership will include songwriters of various skill levels,
so you won't be excluded if you are a beginner.
songwriter groups or clubs are typically formed by one or two songwriters.
They offer their time and effort to help themselves and area songwriters
to learn about songwriting and to provide a forum for performing.
Organizational governance is casual. Most are free or charge nominal
dues for postage and phone calls, or rent for a meeting room. Activities
tend to focus on developing performance skills for open mics and
peer song critiques to help build your songwriting skills. If they
are located near a major music city, they may also offer music industry
speakers and events. These are great places to get started, learn
the basics of songwriting, find a cowriter, learn to perform, and
enjoy meeting and talking to people who love to write songs!
positive outgrowth of the Internet has been the formation of Internet-based
songwriting organizations, so you needn't worry if you live in the
trundra or the Outback! Most of these do not require dues to join.
Two of the largest are Just Plain Folks, based in the USA, and The
Muses Muse, based in Canada. They provide all kinds of resources
and information for aspiring songwriters, including newsletters,
chat boards, articles written by music biz pros, book stores, discounts
on some services, and more.
Plain Folks is forming local chapters to provide aspiring songwriters
more organized, local activities. Visit these organizations at www.jpfolks.com
Another example is SongsAlive!, which is based in Australia, at
All of these songwriter organizations accept members from all genres
and from all over the world.
by the MusicDish
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