Thursday, May 10, 2007

Thrivin on Feedback

Hey, remember me?

It's been months since I posted to my blog here. I'm starting a renewed effort to crank this thing up. So much has been going on the past few months I hardly know where to start. I think I'll keep it to one topic per post though. (Not counting this paragraph.) What I plan to do, just to let you know, is separate out this blog from the podcast. That way if you just want to learn about songwriting, you can subscribe to the podcast. If you just want to read rambles about my life as a children's musician, you can subscribe to this blog. And of course you are welcome to do both. That's coming soon - I'll keep you posted. Now on to rambling about my life as a children's musician!

Today I visited a second grade classroom at my daughter's school for the last time this year, to get feedback on a new song. As I was packing up the teacher said to me, a bit apologetically, that she hoped I got something out of my visits. That got me thinking a bit. Sure the kids were unruly at times. They gave me lots of irrelevant comments and impractical suggestions. They had fun, but from a teacher's getting things done point of view, I'm sure these sessions seem less than optimal.

But to me they were essential! Every song I brought to that class was changed in some small (or large) way based on their input. Just singing a new song for a group of kids the first time while observing their reactions tells me a lot. Then I go through a process - they tell me what they liked, I ask them questions, they ask me questions, and they make suggestions.

These days I can't imagine putting a song on a CD or performing it at a school assembly without getting it "kid approved" first. Kids are great at feedback. They are brutally honest, but never mean. They have boundless imagination to share, and best of all, they know what it's like to be a kid.

The second graders liked my new song today, but they got me thinking about some issues. These kids never let me get away writing less than my best. So it'll be back to the drawing board for this song, and that's a good thing!

Every one of the songs on my new CD (more about that next time) were shaped in some way by this class and the others I've been visiting throughout the year. My songs are all far better for the effort. Thanks, kids! I couldn't do it without you!

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