12 december 2011

Rock Your English! (9) - nu met *GRATIS* worksheet!

Buffi Duberman (@rockyourenglish, Facebook) deelt tips & trucs hoe je je Engelse uitspraak en songteksten verbetert. Ze zette Nederlandse songwriters op hun plek, had het over die altijd lastige 'th'-klank, hoe moe ze wordt van I Lof You Fairy Much, blogde over je songteksten, nog een keer, ambities en breien. Vandaag een kadootje: een gratis worksheet. Buffi legt uit wat je ermee kunt doen:

'Recently, I was asked by Muzikantendag Belgium to join their speed-dating panel. And hey, when a man calls me and I hear a musky Flemish voice and the word ‘dating’ I say YES before he’s even finished his sentence. Muzikantendag in Belgium is different than Muzikantendag in the Netherlands. Here, it’s held several times a year, in different parts of the country. In Belgium, Muzikantendag is held once every 2 years, and it’s The Place To Be. The AB in Brussels is filled to the rafters with everything from demonstrations of the newest Maschine to panels, debates, showcases, and more. This was not the first time (and hopefully not my last!) where songwriters and artists came to me with their lyrics and the antfucking commenced. I sparred with them on their vocabulary, style, tone, and grammar. Not to mention their pronunciation. True story: a guy comes up to me there and says ‘Hallo mevrouw, ik kom uit Mechelen. Ik wil graag klinken alsof ik uit de Dirty South kom. Ik hoorde dat ik bij u moest zijn.’ [Click to enlarge:]What struck when I was screening lyrics that day was the tone of a lot of their vocabulary. So... bland. So… predictable. So… vanilla. So…. um… Yvon Jaspers. I’m sure she’s a wondrously lovely person, but when I watch her, my eyes just kind of glaze over and then I start hearing myself breathe. Her presentation style, to me, is like watching paint dry. Beige paint. When I go through lyrics, I really want to be moved by someone’s words. Deeply touched. Affected, somehow. I want to FEEL what you are saying to me in your song. Don’t just tell me. SHOW me.

Recently I was working with someone who had always had songs written for her, and now she was trying to write her own. Excellent. However, when I asked her why she chose a particular word, she said
‘het bekt gewoon zo lekker’. I asked her if she actually knew what the word meant, as it really stuck out and confused me in her verse. Computer said…. no. Unfortunately, peanut butter. That was our last session.

In Brussels people came to me with lyrics like this:

‘You looked so nice
‘The big flowers on the trees’
‘The time was right

I asked the lyricists about why they chose the words in bold and I was told ‘Oh, we never really thought about that. I guess it’s just because we always use them’. To me that’s just painting with the same colors again and again. No risk. No change in technique. No dynamism. Hello, Yvon.
“How about describing flowers in a different way?” I asked. “Just picture a flower in your head and in 5 minutes I want to see how many words you can write down to describe that flower. Use all 5 of your senses. Leave no stone unturned. Ready, go!” 5 minutes later I saw a glowing face and a shaky hand presenting a wrinkled page bearing 56 words on it, all describing that flower. The sharpness of its thorns. The scent of its petals. The sound it makes when you pluck it. The softness of its leaves. The taste of dewdrops landing on a bud. Aha, now we’re getting somewhere. Yvon who?
When I asked another lyricist about why they said the time was ‘right’ I was told… ’Well, you know you wait and wait for the right time, and then all of a sudden it appears?’ ‘Of course’, I said. ‘But what if we made that thought less literal and more metaphorical… Like saying ‘the time was ripe’ instead?’ The look in his eyes said it all. I love when that happens. The intrigue of insight. The rapture of realization. Watching the coin actually drop. I live for moments like this, and I’m lucky enough to see them every day in my work.

Songwriters left our ‘dates’ tired but hopefully inspired. I left with an even deeper appreciation of the quest for well-crafted lyrics; of how hard it can be to weigh each ingredient meticulously, on golden scales, to perfect your own recipe, and serve it to strangers in the hope that it’s palatable. I’m trying hard to help as many people as I can in as many ways as I can. That’s why today I’m attaching an article I came across recently from the NY Times that was so brilliantly written that I just had to share it with you. It’s about Lex Luger, the young rap producer/ beatmaker, and how he goes about doing what he does. But the descriptive language is what really blew me away. I have created a worksheet to go with this article to get you to become more active in creating expressive vocabulary, not only for lyrics, but also for biographies, press releases, web updates, etc.

So, grab a Venti Gingerbread Latte, and give it a go. There are 85 words and phrases in this article waiting for new homes. Go out get to know them, adopt them, and let me know how you do!'

Wit Lof, Buffi

PS: Yvon, I think your new dishware line would make someone a lovely holiday gift. Someone.

Geen opmerkingen: