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Get A Second First Line Opinion!

Get A Second First Line Opinion!

A second first line opinion means just that.  This songwriting exercise will focus on getting some second opinions about your first lines.  Why bother getting a second first line opinion?

Your first line is critical to your song, It’s probably more important than your chorus!

Why? Because if no one stays after your first line, they’ll never hear your chorus.

So how can you make sure it’s doing everything it should?

Here’s a songwriting exercise that will help you: (1) create clearly articulated first lines that deliver on your intention for the song, and (2) build your first line listening skills for your own songs.

 

STEP 1 :  PICK 5 TO 7 OF YOUR SONGS
  • Add punctuation to your first verse as if it’s a paragraph in a story.
  • Write down the first line of each song. Leave some space between each so you can take a few notes.
  • Be sure to write down the whole first line.  This means all the way through the period of each song.  It’s possible you have a first line that is comprised of several lines in the first verse.  That’s OK.

 

STEP 2:  WHAT IS IT SAYING TO THE LISTENER?
  • Write a few brief sentences about what your take-away is from each of the first lines:  scene it sets, tone or attitude it emotes, the main character it describes, etc.
  • This isn’t what you meant – it’s what it’s actually evoking separated from the rest of your song.

 

STEP 3:  SEND TO ANOTHER SONGWRITER
  • Give the same five to seven lines to someone else and have them complete Step 2 without your description.
  • What’s their interpretation?  Close?  Next county?
  • If it’s not, they are likely starting the song in the wrong direction from your intention, i.e., the message you’re trying to deliver.  In other words, they’re thinking one way when your intention is for them to think another.
  • If so, revise that line.  Don’t look at the rest of the verse yet.

 

STEP 4:  CHECK THE REST OF YOUR SONG
  • Once you’ve got a new first line written that fits with the intention of your song, go ahead and place it back into the original song.
  • Do the rest of the lines of the verse still fit, or are they redundant?  It’s possible your new first line actually delivers a lot of the information your old verse lines did.
  • I like to call your old lines “opportunity lines” – now you have the opportunity to use that space in the song to create even stronger lines!
  • What about your second verse?  How’s that first line . . . ?

 

This is a great group exercise, or just fun to do as an “I’ve got your back” feedback exchange without a whole song going back and forth.

 

More Songwriting Articles About “First Lines”:

 





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