An open letter for everybody

December 25th, 2010

For many, there is never a better time to feel more happy, than Christmas. It’s full of food, laughter and of course presents. Family and friends come together and rejoice in this beautiful festive period. Even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, it’s still an excuse to get merry. I mean, why not.

But here’s what I also like to do. I look back on the year, and smile. I become thankful for all the great moments I’ve had. I also look back on the sad and angry times… and learn from those moments. But MOST important, I look at the future (in this case, 2011) …and make some SERIOUS goals for myself.

So this is what I want you to do also.

I want you to grab a pen and a piece of paper. I want you to write down all the things you want to REALLY accomplish in 2011. No I’m NOT talking about some stupid new years resolution, which most people fail at miserably anyway.

I’m talking about GOALS. Stuff to GET DONE with NO excuses. Here are a few things some of you may consider:

* Write an album worth of songs which you can actually take to MARKET

* Perfect your performance so that you can perform to a single person or a crowed of 60,000

* Get your lazy self to the gym and work out a minimum of 3 times a week NOW

* Look at your bad habits in the face and become the change you wish to see

* Study like crazy so you WILL pass those exams with NO fear and NO problem

* Create a better character and personality ethic so you can GET that job or promotion you’re been after

* Once and for all STOP smoking and drinking lots if you actually gave a damn about yourself and the people who love you

* STOP spending your time on useless and meaningless things that will produce NO results for you

* CREATE new friends who you ASPIRE to be like. You will NEVER be a winner if you choose to hang around losers. Yes, I said it.

* BE more loving towards the people that care about you.

I could go on and on. Realize that life is what you make of it. At the end of every year, you will only be known for only one of 2 things: Results OR Excuses.

Which one do you want to fall in?

Have an amazing Christmas and a New Year filled with ‘results accomplished’ …:-)

Shamir

What is the biggest songwriting mistake that holds back the majority of songwriters from reaching their full potential?

November 14th, 2010

The biggest mistake that most Songwriters make is they try and write music or lyrics using self one instead of self two.

This means that they use their "conscious self talk" to try and "piece together" a song.

They may say, "ok, I begin with this chord, so what can I do next?" "Well, I know that this chord will work with that one, so let’s try that".

Or…

"Ok, so now I have a verse, I need some to follow it up with some kind of chorus. What chord progression can I use that will fit as a good chorus?"

Basically these songwriters take the "rules" of music and try and use self one to piece things together like a puzzle.

Said another way, they try and "think" their way through their song writing by using what they "know" about music.


Does this sound familiar to you?


If it doesn’t sound familiar, then good. You’re already on the right track!

If it does sound familiar, don’t worry. It’s possible for anyone to change their song writing approach so they rely on self two… the master songwriter to step in and create…

So why is it so bad to try and use self one to create music?

The most important reason is that the majority of your songwriting potential doesn’t exist in self one. Your creative "genius" exists in self two. By trying to use self one to create music you won’t even be scratching the surface of what’s easily possible for you with self two.

Here’s a small piece of information that illustrates this important point.

Scientists has discovered that this "talking in your head" (self one) uses around 40bits of processing power per second. Compare that to the processing that self two has at it’s disposal which is estimated to process around 10 million bits of information per second.

If you can learn to let self two drive your song writing process, you will put yourself WAY ahead of 99% of songwriters. The vast majority of songwriters have already accepted only what their conscious mind or self one can create for them. When you open yourself up to self two you will be using resources far more powerful than the vast majority of songwriters.


This is the biggest reason that the "musical geniuses" of the world are so far ahead of the rest


This is the biggest reason that the "musical geniuses" of the world are so far ahead of the rest. They do the seemingly impossible because they know how to allow their greater, more powerful resources…

… their self two to drive the whole process.

Also keep in mind the formula that we discussed recently.

Your Performance = your full potential – Interference

As you can remember, self one is the interference that prevents you from your full potential. So trying to write music and lyrics with self one is actually trying to create something with a tool that usually does more damage than good.

Instead, you need to rely on self two to do the creating.


Self Two Is A Deep Resource


Self two is a deep resource. It contains knowledge and information about all the music you’ve ever listened to… Everything you’ve ever learned about music… In fact, it contains everything you’ve ever learned about anything.

This is the type of miraculous resource you are drawing on when you invite self two to do your song writing, and it’s not hard to do when you know how.

The biggest obstacle in letting self two into your life and allowing it to "take over" is the issue of trust.

The thing is: self two is unconsciously driven. This means that when you let self two "take over" from self one, you will not have conscious control anymore. To allow this to happen requires you to trust self two.

If we take a look at some quotes from some very well known songwriters and composes, it becomes obvious that these musicians are allowing their unconscious resources to direct their songwriting process.

In these following quotes, you will notice that these musicians don’t know exactly where their musical ideas come from.


This is a sign that they are creating with their resources that they are not aware of… their unconscious resources or their self two.


Let’s take a look at the quotes.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, talking about where his ideas come from says, “Whence and how they come, I know not; nor can I force them.”

Also, pop songwriter Michael Jackson talks about creating entire songs in his dreams, which is a big sign that the ideas are created by his unconscious resources.

He says, “I wake up from dreams and go, Wow, put this down on paper.’ You hear words, everything is there in front of your face… That’s why I find it hard to take credit for songs I’ve written. I feel that somewhere, someplace, it’s been done and I’m just a courier bringing it into the world.”

So the next question is, if trust is the key to releasing self two, how can you build this trust so self two can control the music you create?

The easiest way to build this trust is to simply practice some of the exercises that invite self two to "take over". Once you’ve accumulated some personal success, confidence in self two will quickly grow.

In the next part of this six steps to song writing success you are going to learn how to unleash self two, the master songwriter that exists within you.

-Article written by Geoff Williams from Genius Songwriting

Get Into A Deep State Of “Heightened Creativity and Performance”

October 31st, 2010

Have you ever been watching a sports game, where all of a sudden an individual player began absolutely dominating the game, and everything they did turned to gold?

Or have you seen an athlete at the Olympic games come out and smash their personal best and the world record at the same time?

Scientists associate this exceptional performance with what’s called a “flow state”.

This is the time when the natural gift of the athlete “takes over”, completely uninhibited by the critical and often self-sabotaging filters of the left brain, which as you now know, is self one in action…

And when an athlete enters into this “flow” state, they simply perform at a new level of excellence.

Here’s the good news…

This “flow” state doesn’t exist in just sports. You can get into a “flow state” in any area, including song writing. In fact, music and other areas that require creativity actually depend on your ability to enter into this state.


The Gifted Songwriter Within You Will Naturally Emerge


It’s in this “flow state” where self two will take over, and the gifted songwriter in you will naturally emerge, and create some truly mesmerizing music!

Let’s take a look at some interesting points about this “flow state”.

If you surf over to Wikipedia.com, you’ll find the following information that is known about being in this high performance flow state.

  • Firstly, Flow is the mental state of operation in which the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing, characterized by a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and success in the process of the activity.
  • While in “Flow”, you will feel a loss of the feeling of self-consciousness, and the merging of action and awareness.
  • In “flow” The activity you are engaged in is intrinsically rewarding, so there is an effortlessness of action.

Now…

If we were to look inside the brain of a person in this “flow state”, what would we see?

Neurofeedback trainer and therapist Anna Wise, was also interested in this question, so over a period of three decades she measured the brain wave patterns of a number of exceptional spiritual teachers, artists, high-performing businessmen, athletes, and other highly creative individuals.


Now before I explain what the results of her studies were, let me give you a very basic education in brain wave states.


In your mind, 24hours a day there are nerve cells in your brain that generate electrical impulses. These “impulses” fluctuate rhythmically in distinct patterns known as brain waves.

The frequency of these brain wave patterns (which means, the speed at which they are vibrating) is closely related to your thoughts, your emotions, your state of being, and the functioning of the various systems of your body.

For an idea of how your brain waves relate to the way you act, the way you feel, and everything else that happens within you, let’s look at the four main brain wave categories.

Firstly the Beta brain wave: These brain waves vibrate in between 14 and 30 cycles per second.

When your brain is creating beta waves, you are in an everyday waking state. Things like arousal, alertness, and intellectual processing are all associated with the beta brain waves your mind produces. If you begin making high beta waves (up and towards the 30 cycles per second region), you will have feelings of stress, disease, and panic.

If you begin producing slower brain waves in between 8 and 13.9 cycles per second, you will be making what’s known as alpha brain waves. These brain waves are closely associated with relaxation, superlearning, relaxed focus, and the feeling of being in a light trance.

Your brain begins making alpha waves when you are just falling asleep, feeling drowsy, or feeling extremely relaxed. When you are creating low alpha waves at around the 8 cycles per second, you are beginning to access some of the “unconscious” regions of your mind that are normally “offline”.

Creating low alpha waves, in a way forms a bridge between your conscious mind and your unconscious mind. Do you think this could be helpful in creative tasks such as song writing?


Well… You’re onto something there!


Now, If you get slower still, you begin making theta brain waves. The frequency of these brain waves lie in between 4 and 7.9 cycles per second.

Normally when your brain is creating theta brain waves you are in REM, which means a state of dreaming sleep. However it is possible to create theta waves while you are awake, and this has a lot to do with getting into your “flow state”. Also, there is a strong link between these theta waves, and an increased level of creativity.

This is because when you’re producing theta waves, you are accessing parts of your mind that are normally unconscious and out of your awareness. Producing these theta waves is key to accessing your vast reservoir of knowledge and ability that is usually “offline”. More on this in a moment.

The final category of brain waves is the delta range, which lies in between 0.9 and 3.9 cycles per second. Delta waves are produced when you are in a deep, dreamless sleep.

Delta waves are also closely associated with deep meditation, intuition, and empathy.


So What’s This Got To Do With Becoming An Amazing Song Writer?


You might be thinking, “well this is interesting stuff, but how is it going to help me become far better at song writing?”

I’m getting to that… and it will be worth the wait, I promise!

Let’s take a look at the results from Ann Wise’s research as she looks into the minds of ultra high performance people as they create…

It’s very very interesting…

Anna noticed that all of these highly creative artists, athletes, businessman, spiritual figures… they all exhibit a very specific brain wave pattern when in this state of increased performance and creativity.

Anna calls this state the Awakened Mind.

I call it the ultimate state to write music from, otherwise known as the “flow state” or the point where “self two” takes over.

In this high performance state, these subjects were producing not only beta and alpha brain waves, which are the brain waves associated with a normal “waking” state, but also a significant amount of theta brain waves and a small amount of delta brain waves.

This shows that they were accessing regions of their mind that are usually “offline”. It shows that they are using their unconscious resources, which is where the vast majority of processing and natural ability lies.


In Song Writing It’s This "Flow State" That Will Allow You To Discover Your Most Brilliant Ideas


In song writing, it’s this “flow state” that will allow you to discover your most brilliant ideas. If you can learn how to get into this state, you will begin leveraging your full potential as a songwriter.

With this said: how can you easily immerse yourself in this ultra high performance state?

Well the short answer is this: if you can reach a state of profound relaxation, you will begin creating enough alpha waves that will form the bridge between your conscious and unconscious resources.

From this point your mind will begin creating theta brain waves and a small amount of delta brain waves. And as you continue to absorb yourself in creative activities once you’ve entered this state, you will sink deeper into this “flow state”.

In a later article I will give you some more specific tips to find this state of ultra creativity and performance.

In the next part though, you are going to learn the number one mistake that holds back the majority of songwriters from reaching their full potential with their song writing. I know you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you learn how easy it is to avoid this common mistake.

-Article written by Geoff Williams from Genius Songwriting

Why is it that some people can write stunning blockbusters, while others fail miserably?

October 23rd, 2010

…That’s what we’re going to talk about in this series, (over the next few weeks).

Let’s begin by taking a look at one of the more "overlooked" topics about song writing. While "overlooked" though, this topic is actually one of the keys to mastering the art of songwriting.

What am I talking about here?

Well, if you do a quick search at amazon.com or in google, you’ll find that there is a truckload of information out there on the "mechanics" of what a good song is composed of.

You’ll find that there is information on how to write hooks, choruses, verses, chord progressions and more.

While this information does have it’s place, and later I will show you some specifics to help you understand these things, they’re pointless without an understanding in the topic I’m about to discuss.

So what is this topic and why is it so important?


The topic I’m talking about is the psychology behind great songwriting


If you understand the state of mind that produces the most compelling song writing, everything else you know about songwriting comes to life. Everything flows easier. Great ideas are easier to come by, and writing music and lyrics becomes a joyful, easy process.

If you don’t know what this "optimal song writing state" is though, you will struggle. You may know everything there is to know about music, yet if you are unable to get into this state you will fall well short of your full potential.

On the other hand, once you’ve learned this important concept, even if you’re a newbie songwriter you will be able to compose excellent music.

There is a very interesting quote said by Robert Dilts in his fine book “Strategies of Genius” . This quote was said in regards to the great composer Mozart and the way this "musical genius" composed music.

Robert Dilts says

“It is almost as if Mozart perceives his neurology as a kind of musical instrument that plays itself, and that by adjusting it correctly, the music will come out on it’s own. Mozart seems to focus on setting up the psychological and physical conditions that will allow musical ideas to emerge spontaneously and automatically.”

In my experience of experimenting with songwriting techniques over the last 5 years, this quote is spot on.


There’s a songwriting master lurking within you… Here’s how to find it…


The easiest way to "free the master songwriter" that is within you, is to discover how to set up the physical and mental conditions that will allow your best ideas to come forward.

Now that may sound like a mouthful at this stage, but I assure you, by the end of this series you will know exactly what this means, and how you can easily integrate it into your song writing process.

And when it “clicks” for you, you can begin writing songs using the same methods that the “musical geniuses” of the world use. Mozart… Beethoven… Paul McCartney… and every other great songwriter/composer, uses the methods that you are about to learn about in this series.

With that said, let’s begin digging deeper into what the best psychological state is to create music from.

I’d like to share with you a very elegant concept that I learned from Timothy Gallwey in his "Inner Game" series of books.

This concept describes in a very simple way the two main processes that go on inside your mind and body while you create music and lyrics.

Timothy calls these two things:

Self one…

And Self two.

Inside your head you may notice from time to time that there is a voice that talks. This is sometimes known as your inner dialogue, or your "self talk".

This talking that goes on inside your head is "self one", while the person being spoken to is self two.

Let me ask you a question.

Firstly, think of a time when you performed particularly well at some task. It can be anything… a sports game you played in, a musical performance, cooking a great meal, or even just having an amazing conversation with a loved one.

Got it? Great…


Now, can you tell me exactly what you were thinking as you did this great performance?


Here’s what I’m guessing. You probably can’t remember too much about what was going through your mind as you performed at your peak. You were very likely in a "zone" where you automatically and instinctively acted, without too much noticeable thought at all.

Psychologists sometimes call this state of peak performance being "in the zone" or in a "flow state". (and later we will discuss how to get into this song writing "flow state")

The point is: Self one is the part of you that interferes and hinders your results. When you loose track of self one, you are able to sink into self two, which is when "peak performance" will occur.

Let me tell you a little about self two…

Self two is where your full potential lies. Self two contains all of your unconscious resources… which are far richer than anything self one could ever muster. Scientists predict that in one human brain, there is enough processing power to hold many times the knowledge of the largest library in the world. Most of this information though, is offline, so you are not always aware that you have this knowledge.

This gives you an idea of the great things you can accomplish in your song writing if you can learn to release self two, who is the master songwriter that exists within you.

So what does this all mean?

It means that to create music at your full potential, you need to find a way to let self two "take over" while completely ignoring self one.


Here’s a little formula that will help you to understand this further


Your Performance = Your Full Potential – Interference

As you can see from this formula, the quality of your performance depends on your ability to minimize interference. If you are able to completely cancel out all interference (which is caused by self one by the way) you would get this:

Your Performance = Your full potential

So to perform at your full potential… and in the case of song writing… to write the best possible songs you can write, you need to learn how to cancel the effects of self one, which will eliminate interference.

Next week, we will take a look at what is happening inside your mind and body when self two has taken over, and you are at "peak performance".

-Article written by Geoff Williams from Genius Songwriting

How To Stop Blocking Your Best Creativity

October 10th, 2010

One of the most CRUCIAL songwriting skills is the ability to be creative .

Creativity is what separates an "average" song, from a song that get’s instant attention and creates an incredible enjoyable listening experience.

So here’s a songwriting tip that will allow you to master this crucial songwriting skill. This tip is quick and easy, but it will have a profound impact on your ability to be extremely creative.

Here’s the tip…

When you write music or lyrics you must keep the "creating" and the "editing" separate.

The worse "creativity killer" is the analytical part of your mind. This is the part that judges everything you do. If you try and judge something AS you are creating it, the creative part of your mind "shuts down".

This concept actually goes very deep, and has a lot to do with the parts of your mind that are "conscious" and "unconscious", but you don’t actually need to understand these topics to make this principle work for you.

All you need to do is this.

While you are creating something… for example playing your instrument in the search for new ideas… writing down lyrics… or "jamming" with a group of musicians…

You must turn off your "internal editor". Instead of concentrating on how good your ideas are, allow yourself to create without judgment. Once you have finished creating, only then is it time to consult your inner critic and evaluate your work.

So what I’m saying is…

Always keep your creating and your editing separate!

If you stick to this create-edit-create cycle, you will be working with your minds natural abilities instead of against it.Following this principle will also make your songwriting process much faster and less frustrating.

It will also allow you to unblock the barriers that are stopping you from accessing your very best ideas.

-Article written by Geoff Williams from Genius Songwriting