Miracle Of Faith – Part 1A

Dora Redman & Peter

Dora Redman & Peter

Installment 1A

The Beginning:

As some of you know I’ve been teaching through the WFM Learning Lab a number of various classes on the subject of music for the last decade.  These are private one-on-one classes both on Skype and here in NYC in person.

I have about 15 students, most of which are in the intermediate to advanced stages of their progress.  The subjects taught range from songwriting to pop vocals to orchestration – pretty much all aspects of song composition.

I really love this sideline occupation.  It gives me a chance to meet almost daily with some pretty terrific artists and share with them my 5 decades of accrued knowledge on the subject of music.

One of these students, Dora Redman, has been studying with me faithfully for over a couple of years now learning mostly lyric writing and some songwriting.  She runs one of the biggest churches in NYC that also doubles as a major corporate events facility when church is not in session.  She’s a ex-Texan, pretty as a picture and a regular five foot two human dynamo when it comes to getting’ the job done – Texan turned New Yorker.

Around a year and a half ago she brought an idea into class that struck me at the time as both brilliant and extremely difficult to pull off.  When she presented the idea to me I remember saying to her, “Well, Dora, I warn you, I think you’ve bitten off more than you can chew here, but it’s such a good idea that perhaps you ought to pursue it anyway and see how far you can go with it.”  I honestly thought the complexity of the idea was perhaps over hear head in terms of her writing progress, but she was excited and determined, so who was I to say, “Don’t try.”

So she dove in headfirst and began the research.

It’s probably important to mention here that I, as a teacher, try to stay out of the actual creative process of my students’ work.  I point the way, I advise, I suggest, I try to give parallel examples, but I always try to leave the creative work to them.  Often, because of my experience, I could write the verse, finish the song, solve the chord structure problem fairly immediately, but that’s not going to help them to have me do it for them, so I draw the line at that.  It’s their composition and I do not want to put myself in a position to share the credits.

Dora’s big on research.  It’s also one of my strongest pieces of advice to all artists.  When you’re stuck, can’t make a decision, lost, find yourself on the wrong road, it’s always best to stop and go back to research.  When you can’t reach a decision creatively, it simply means that you don’t know enough about your subject, so stop and research further before plowing on and making rash or weak and eventually wrong decisions.

So Dora researched and researched and then researched some more.  She would come in with stacks and stacks of paper, notebooks, computer printouts, etc. until I finally said to her, “Enough with the research already!  Write the song!  Get something down on paper!”  Six months had gone by and nary a song written.  But she knew her subject – from 10 different angles.

She began to write, but it didn’t come easy for her.  She immediately ran into many of the complexity problems that I foresaw when she originally brought me the idea.  Even with all the research, it was a bit like trying to run a marathon when the furthest you had ever run was 3 miles.

But bulldog Dora was determined and I was inspired by her never-say-die attitude and we kept at it.  She would bring me a verse, a half stanza, a concept for the chorus, a new direction and I kept saying, “Nope. You don’t have it yet.  Go back to work.”

Next: Installment 1B

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2 Responses to “Miracle Of Faith – Part 1A”

  1. Billie Furuichi Says:

    Okay, Peter, give me Installment B on Dora’s story! You can’t just leave us dangling here.

  2. Peter Link Says:

    First people complain because I write too long and now because I don’t write enough … Well, ya’ can’t please all the people all the time :o)

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