Book Review: 1000 Songwriting Ideas

Lisa Aschmann's book 1000 Songwriting Ideas is a great teacher resource!  The best kind won't always be on the Curriculum Resources shelf.  Some of the writing ideas and topics can help students explore the songwriting genre or free verse poetry too!  I classified some of my creative, non-clichéd favourites (straight from the book) under Giving Advice, What's Your Story?, Looking through Someone Else's Eyes, and Random Surprises:

Giving Advice
  • #350 Write guidelines for kissing frogs or for getting out of the swamp.
  • #711 Everybody's doing something.  You aren't.  What is it? You're out of school, out of line, out of step, out of sync, out of sorts, out of turn, or maybe just out.
  • #911 Where do rivers join, boundaries converge, roads cross?  How about when you've come to the fork in the road? The top of the hill/heap? The bottom?

What's Your Story?
  • #753 Shadows.  What are yours?
  • #925 Write about seeing someone for the last time.  Nora Ephron's dying mother said, "Take note, it's all copy."
  • #946 Tell the story of the ripple effect, cascade, avalanche, dominos, snowball, or paying it forward.
  • #238 Somebody reminds you of somebody else.  Write about deja vu or the way your memories play tricks on you.

Looking through Someone Else's Eyes
  • #4 Make up life stories of people in stores, airports, or bus terminals.
  • #401 There's no such thing as telling a story too many times.  Point of view makes all the difference, e.g. Grendel by John Gardner or The Three Little Pigs by A. Wolf (told by Jon Scieszka).
  • #505 If you overheard somebody's confession or you had your own to make, how would it make you feel?...Songs about forgiveness are very powerful.  One of my favourites is "The Randall Knife" by Guy Clark.
  • #719 Talk somebody out of a bad mood.
  • #2 Eavesdrop at a cafe. 
  • #997 Who's been overlooked today among the people you've encountered? The bathroom attendant. The car wash attendant.  The cafeteria worker, the bus driver, the janitor, the phlebotomist? Gotcha.
  • #698 Take an existing song and write a parody.

Random Surprises
  • #349 Finish this thought:  When you opened the door __________.
  • #826 Write about something that came in a box.
  • #749 Keys, doorways, halls, balcony, a summerhouse.  Standing in a doorway.
The book also lists some useful online lyric writing tools and software as tip #983

Happy songwriting! :)

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