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Song Contests Provide Great Motivation and Exposure by Barbe McMillen


Do you have several songs in the works that just never seemed to get finished? If you are like me, you have a lot of good ideas, some great phrases written on scraps of paper, and a list of great song titles that came from conversations with friends, daytime soaps, a long drive in the car or a soak in the tub.  I just can t seem to finish all those great songs unless I have a deadline, a studio session, or a co-writing partner to make me finish.  So ,How about a little nudge and a great reason to stop procrastinating? The Dallas Songwriters Y2K Song Contest can provide the perfect incentive for completing those songs and exposing them to the world of your peers and industry professionals.


What a great way to get the kind of exposure that can be gained by being listed as a winner of a respected song contest. The media coverage might even lead to professional contacts that you may not have access to otherwise. Co-writing doors may open for you as other songwriters learn of your talents. Also, the judges of the contest, whether from a local or national level, are in some way connected to the industry. Even if your tape does not make it to the finals, a judge may see some great potential in your work, and chose to allow you to continue to submit your material to his or her company.  The fact that you have entered your songs for competition shows that you are a serious songwriter. Having opened yourself to scrutiny shows that you have a good attitude towards your work.


Entering a song competition is similar to pitching your songs and is a good way to warm up. A few things to keep in mind when choosing and presenting you songs are:


1.     Enter the songs that have the best bet to stand a chance in the marketplace, and that fits the category that you have entered. The judges for that category will have been picked for their interest in that specific type of music.

2.     Give your song a good presentation of sight and sound. Neatly typed lyrics with all parts (verse, chorus, and bridge) clearly labeled and grouped together. This will not only demonstrate your interest in a professional presentation, but it will show your understanding of song structure. Also, your tape should be very clear and pleasant to listen to. This does not mean you have to spend a lot of money on an elaborately produced demo, just keep the judges focused on the lyrics and melody and not turned off by a bad sounding demo.


Whether you win first, second or third place, or even honorable mention, receiving a certificate of merit is a great credit to have on your resume` because it shows someone has validated your songs. So  Get busy this summer and finish those songs because it s time to compete.


The Dallas Songwriter Association's 2001 Song Contest starts June 15th. There are 8 categories. Deadline is September 15th.  www.dallassongwriters.org


Texas Music Magazine   Vol. 10  No. 1  January 2001





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