How Do I know When My Song is Really Ready?

Featuring Paul Baloche Posted on February 1, 2010

Jimmy and Carol had a friend who was a reviewer of songs for a major Christian music company. They sat in his once one day as he shoved some demo tapes around on his desk and sighed. “I get a lot of songs with strong starts—a good four bar hook—then everything falls apart. Can’t anybody finish a song anymore?”  Another reviewer expressed the same frustration—“A lot of them start off okay, but somehow the train never gets out of the station.”

Your song should be self-contained: strong start, strong middle, strong logical finish, no loose ends, no rambling, no confusion as to what this song is about. In our classes we’ve all three had students who wanted to go into lengthy explanations before presenting their songs. We asked them, as kindly as we could, not to explain the song, just sing it. When you have to explain your song it means you don’t feel good about it. You can’t follow it around explaining it every time somebody sings it. So make sure it speaks for itself without explanation before you ever release it.

You’ll know your song is ready when it’s the best you can make it. Don’t be an early settler. Polish and repolish your song, hone it and distill it, until you’re sure there’s nothing more you can add to it and nothing you can take away.

Chris Tomlin
“I usually am never able to finish a song immediately. It’s usually best to let your songs have time to develop into something more wonderful than you originally planned. I see so many stubborn writ•ers who don’t want any part of the song to be changed. A mature writer knows when a song is finished.”

Be so convinced of the power of your
gift that you dedicate yourself to
the work of excellence.
No negligence.
No second best.
Of course, your song
may not be perfect. In
fact, sometimes it
may not work at
all. That’s
all right;
put it aside
and try again.
But even a failure
should always be the best
you can do with that song.

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