Last Thursday I checked out a songwriting meetup up in San Francisco. Going to this was a sort of compromise—a few months ago, since I've been spending more time on writing songs, I'd been checking into taking one of the songwriting courses offered somewhere like Gryphon or Blue Bear. Ultimately I hadn't signed up for one. I wasn't sure if I was up for the time commitment of a weekly/biweekly course, or the cost, especially because I couldn't really predict how helpful it would be. While doing those searches I found that meetup group, and figured a once-a-month thing would be much more manageable, not to mention that it felt better not to have to commit to the whole series in advance. I could just go check out a meeting and go from there.
The meetup was super helpful and a lot of fun! I had originally meant to attend the first one without bringing a song just to see what it was like, but there ended up being a song I was just working on last week, so I scrambled to finish it up and get the chords settled before the evening of the meetup. I think it was the $25 meetup fee that tipped me over the edge, since I figured if I was paying for the event I might as well get a song critique out of it.
Good thing, though, because it turned out to be like fight club, the organizer made everyone sing.
The group was really supportive and gave great constructive criticism about what could be done better or more effectively. I got some awesome feedback on how to perform the song to bring more out of it (which I was impressed by, since I'm surprised anyone could get past the horrible nerves that made it so I couldn't really pronounce any words in a ridiculous way. Have I mentioned that I have some issues with performing in public?) Maybe more importantly, the organizer and the other attendees were super enthusiastic about the song itself, which was really nice to hear. It's so hard to tell if I'm conveying what I'm trying to convey with the words, so it meant a lot to hear people who are musicians, and not just being nice to me because they're my friends, getting what I was talking about :)
I'd definitely recommend the workshop to anyone who has a song they'd like a critique on, it was a great experience and I'm excited for next month's.