Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Posted by Lisa Laree to Beer Lahai Roi

Dive is a worship school; we had classes on songwriting...structure, thinking out of the box...guitar and the Nashville Number system...and piano, with a side trip down current recording/electronic music software.

But the big emphasis is songwriting.  We each were to present an original song to a board comprised of worship leaders (all instructors in the school for the week) on Thursday morning.

Now, I knew it was coming before I applied.  As one of my friends who has attended Dive in the past commented, 'You dig down into who you are and get rid of a bunch of junk, then you write a song about it.'

Well, in the weeks leading up to Dive, I decided that would not be my story.  No angsty song about being so beaten down and broken and waiting for Jesus to come and fix it.  I was going to write an up beat declaration.

So, the week before I left, I sat down with my notebook and got a chorus and a bridge in a snappy 4/4 about the Rock that is Higher.  All I needed to write at Dive was two verses and I had a song.

Then Saturday night in the hotel room, I got a wild hair about the widow and the oil in 2 Kings and, before I knew it, I had a page and a half of potential lyrics about being broken and empty and waiting for the oil of the the Spirit to come and fill and heal.  In 6/8.  In spite of myself.

It needed a serious edit, but it was real and honest and, most importantly, it was written while at Dive, which is not a requirement but I took that as a personal challenge.  So I kinda shelved the Rock song and decided to work on the Oil song.

Sunday was a late night after a long and intense day, so I didn't work on the song again until Monday evening.

I cut, I pasted, I moved pieces around, tried different combos and got two verses and a chorus that I was reasonably happy with.  It was going on Midnight when I began to work on the bridge...and when I found that I worked myself into the last line 'Let it flow, let it flow'... I knew it was time to put away and start fresh in the morning.

But...I did do one thing after we shut the lights off.  I prayed for inspiration and good lyrics.

The next morning, I got up and went early to breakfast and took my notebook with me. With just a wee bit of rearranging of what I had,  and adding a line or two, the bridge fell into place.  I had a song.

One of the other ladies agreed to play piano for me, and we met that evening and she polished up my rough melody and put chords with it.  I whacked off half the bridge...once we put music to it, part of it just didn't seem to fit...and after our work session, realized I was repeating the chorus too much and taking the song too fast.

I got one more quick practice with her the next day, with those changes, and got through it.  It wasn't flashy, it wasn't deep, it was just a simple little statement of need and expectation.  And it was ok.

So, when Thursday came, I'd only sung it with music about twice.  I figured I'd go first or second...I was just waiting for that awkward moment when no one wanted to get up.  But everyone was determined to get up and do it, so I waited and listened and waited and listened...and I became more and more convinced that my Oil song was just kind of lame and cheesy.  But it was what I had.

I actually went 3rd from the end; for whatever reason Rita decided it was my turn and called me up. Now, I'm an alto.  Melody is not generally what I sing.  And I'm just part of the choir.  Alone is something I just DON'T sing.  And we'd only rehearsed twice.  So...I kinda forgot the melody line in a couple of spots, and I miscounted the break between the chorus and the bridge and had to stop and start again there.

But despite my goofs, the panel (Rita, Kallie Hieligenthal and Kristene DiMarco) actually liked the song and said very nice things about it.  I was flabbergasted.

 I don't necessarily take that as a sign that I should quit the day job and start writing songs.  But it was a confirmation that there is more in me than just  keeping the data base clean.

And I have a song to share next time the church songwriter's life group meets.  Actually, I have two...I did get two verses for the Rock song on Wednesday afternoon, while the rest of the group got their practice time w/the piano.

If I can remember the melody lines. :-)

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