The Random Song Generator

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Need some quick songwriting inspiration? Try this great exercise, called the Random Song Generator!

I found out about this great songwriting exercise, taught by Pete Nelson at WinterSongs, a songwriting “camp” I attend in beautiful Ashokan, NY, nestled in the lovely Catskill Mountains.

I had so much fun with my assignment that I got a great song out of it called “Short Brown Hair”!

It is called the Random Song Generator. Here’s how it works:

1. Create three columns.

2. In the first column, make a list of types of people. Some examples: Farmer, janitor, cab driver, pregnant teenage girl, newly widowed woman, drunk man, siblings age 9 and 11, truck driver, girl with a cat, college student, map maker, doctor, old man, dancer.

3. In the second column, make a list of places. Some examples: Motel room, gas station, movie theater, laundromat, nightclub, nursing home, book store, tourist trap, ferry, airplane, swimming pool. basically three columns of words…the first is the person, the second is the place and the third is the action. Choose one word/phrase randomly from each column and go forth to write! Hint: My assignment was “siblings, ages 9 and 11,” “in a coffee shop”, “stealing something.”

4. In the third column, make a list of actions. Some examples: Handing out photographs, talking to a Pez dispenser, asking directions, writing to an ex-lover, stealing something, carving a pumpkin, looking through binoculars, dancing alone, building a fire, eating a sandwich.

5. Close your eyes or look away — and pick one choice from each of the three columns. For example, for my song Short Brown Hair, my picks were: Person — siblings, age 9 and 11. Place — in a coffee shop. Action — stealing something.

6. Write a song based on your random picks! 
Anything strike your fancy? Start writing a random song!

Want to join the latest Songwriting Scene Challenge? Read about it here!

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