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Speak Your Music

Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles

Lesson Three: Growing My Idea

Sarah explains how her collaboration with a musical friend helped to shape the final version of her new piece.

Your Assignment

  1. Watch the video in which Sarah collaborates closely with her musical friend Jesse.
  2. Note how she invites her collaborator to respond to specific parts of her song, and how she works to refine Jesse’s feedback and contributions.
  3. Think about someone in your life with whom you would like to share this work-in-progress.
    • Who is someone that I trust and with whom I’d be excited to share my creative ideas?
    • Who can give feedback and contribute suggestions to help me continue to develop my creative ideas?
    • What are the questions that I still have about my work?
      1. What’s missing and what do I still want to add?
      2. What could be better, but I’m not quite sure how?
      3. Is my original message for the song clear?
  4. Find a space where you feel comfortable sharing your work and where it’s safe to do so. Take a deep breath and go for it!
  5. Remember that this part of the process can help to elevate your creative ideas and develop them into full songs. You can always take the feedback and collaborative ideas that you like and leave the rest!
  6. Make sure to record your collaborative conversation using your phone or an online digital audio workstation (DAW) like SoundTrap, so you can be sure to consider all of the ideas that come up.

Explore Other Parts of Speak Your Music

Introduction | Express Yourself

Mazz Swift, Clay Ross, and Sarah Elizabeth Charles share their backgrounds and processes for creating music.

Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson One: Finding a Theme

Mazz shares her distinct approach to using improvisation as a way of generating musical ideas to use in composition.

Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Two: Tweaking, Tinkering, and Messing with Your Music

Mazz shares her recommendations for manipulating and organizing basic musical ideas in order to explore different compositional approaches.

Artist Focus on Mazz Swift | Lesson Three: Finished! For Now …

This video features the questions that Mazz uses to determine whether a piece of music is done or requires further editing.

Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson One: Building a Frame

Clay introduces his band Ranky Tanky and talks about the origins of their song “All For You.”

Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Two: Making It Yours

Clay breaks down how he used source material from the Gullah tradition and West African music to create his original song.

Artist Focus on Clay Ross | Lesson Three: A Life of Its Own

Clay explores how “All For You” evolved into new shapes as Ranky Tanky collaborated with other artists.

Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson One: My Big Idea

Sarah describes how she uses a big question to spark the idea for a new song that explores the relationship between all human beings.

Artist Focus on Sarah Elizabeth Charles | Lesson Two: My Musical Brainstorm

Sarah demonstrates how she creates a musical foundation for her new piece, and then shapes a melody on top of that foundation.

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