Special Event: David Grover Shares His Songwriting Process

 

We live in a musical city. There are orchestras playing in halls, bands playing in the park and musicians trying out their craft in the subway. Sometimes I think even the honking, the whistles and the crowds sound like music!

A very special musician is coming to play in the auditorium here at the New-York Historical Society this Sunday, May 5. David Grover is the former lead guitarist for Arlo Guthrie. For more than 40 years he has used his music and lyrics to teach children about the important things in life – holidays with family, planet preservation and respecting each other. He’s performed in many great places, including the White House!

Before his 12:30 concert, which is free with Museum admission, he is leading a very unique and special songwriting workshop for a group of young songwriters.  I know they are very excited. It turns out David is looking forward to it even more!

“Performing and singing is totally fun and connecting with kids live is the best. But for all that, there is nothing that compares with just using your imagination, talent and brains…you can create a song everyone can hear and it’s a song that would never have existed without your effort and caring.”

When I think about a song and the songs that I’ve loved over the years, they all are like poetry (something I love to write). The songs that appeal to me also have an intriguing instrumental component to them. I really like to listen to David’s guitar playing with his lyrical words. Putting it all together seems daunting to me, but not for David. Here’s what he said about writing songs:

“The man who taught me the most about writing had a saying about songwriting: There are 10,000 rules…and there’s also not any rules.

He believed (as do I) that it’s okay to break any rule as long as you know what the rule you’re breaking is.”

David wrote a song called Get On Board. He wrote it when he was in Phoenix, Arizona, and met some people at “Kids at Hope” who wanted to put words from their organization’s mission statement into a song. David really connected to a phrase they used a lot in their communications about every kid being important. The phrase was “No Exceptions!”

“I liked the thought and I also thought, ‘That would be a tough song to write if had to rhyme the word exceptions and have it make sense.’ So of course I had to try. After going through a few (hundred) words like: depression, confession, impression, (I knew we were in a) recession, and many people had professions and got out their aggressions. Anyway you get the idea. Those were maybe one tenth of the words I went through, but go through them you must. It’s fun! It’s better (and harder) than any crossword puzzle in the world, and makes Scrabble look like Candy Land.”

Take a look at some of the handwritten notes from David’s songwriting process. And then look at his final lyrics. Finally, listen to the beautiful song that was created. This is so inspiring! I hope you will be inspired!

SONG NOTES #1

SONG NOTES #2

Get On Board    words & music  D Grover

Get On Board there’s a train a leavin’

Get On Board we’ve got room for you

rich or poor young and old together

Get up here and get in line

 

Sing Hallelujah and clap your hands.

Hallelujah every Girl and Boy

Hallelujah every Woman and Man.  No one gets left behind

No Exceptions ..  It doesn’t matter where you come from

No rejections …  We’ll take you just the way you are

This connection feels like perfection and we’re headed down this road feelin’ ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT

 

There’s a world we’ve got to build together

There’s a world that needs a guiding hand

We can learn to learn from one another

If you see a hand toss them a line

 

Sing Hallelujah and clap your hands.

Hallelujah every Girl and Boy

Hallelujah every Woman and Man.  No one gets left behind

No Exceptions ..  It doesn’t matter where you come from

No rejections …  We’ll take you just the way you are

This connection feels like perfection and we’re headed down this road feelin’ ALL RIGHT ALL RIGHT

Get On Board .. Get On Board

C 2009 Two Monkeys Music

02 Get On Board

 

[We have a few more spots for talented songwriters between the ages 9-12 for Sunday’s workshop. Please email familyprograms@nyhistory.org if you know of a child who likes to write songs!]

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