Tonight in my songwriting quest, I went to a song-in-progress workshop hosted by the local songwriters’ association. Guests are invited to bring one song – either recorded or playing it live – and songwriting experts and other participants critique it.

I brought a recording of my most recent song, “Among the Shadows,” which my husband and I recorded in our living room last night. I’ve been working on it for a couple of weeks now and my husband added his guitar, which added a whole other dimension in my opinion. This was the first time playing one of my songs with somebody else so that in itself was fun.

Back to tonight. As I expected, the group as very supportive and it was cool to hear everybody else’s song-in-progress.

Here were the critiques/compliments about my song:

The main critique of my song was that the chorus and the verses sound too similar and need some more differences between the two. Not a big surprise as I used the same chords throughout, although I tried to switch the order in different places.

One person really liked the lyrics and the message behind them.

One person said he liked my singing voice and that the song had a Pretenders sound to it, but he was waiting for the big chorus, which never came.

Some tips that I found really helpful:

A song is a short story – it should have a beginning, middle and end (especially in the singer-songwriter and country genres.)

When writing a song, decide what the goal of the song is – is it for commercial purposes? If so, what kind? A specific genre?  To get picked up by radio? (If radio, it should be about 2 1/2-3 minutes long, which pretty much all of my songs are.)

Who is the singer singing to?

Definitely things to think about when reworking my songs and rewriting new ones.

Here’s the song I played tonight: