Archive: Q & A with Berklee’s Shane Adams

We had fantastic questions, and inspired and in-depth answers from Shane.

You can watch the entire video, or if you need your hands and eyes free I uploaded the audio for your listening pleasure:




Q & A with Berklee’s Shane Adams Video Outline:

(Community Member questions are in bold)

00:00:00 - Intro

00:02:20 - Ice breaker: What is your morning routine?

00:27:30 - Erin: Personal accountability/consistency

00:41:47 - Rigel: songs based on personal experiences sound like a diary entry.

00:27:30 - Shane’s psychological trick to get to the honest and believable lyrics: Imaginary conversation with best friend

  • Explain issue/feeling to friend. What do you think I should do about it?
  • 5 minutes: Using friends voice respond to question. 
  • 5 minutes: reply as yourself to your friend.
  • By the end of the exercise you will have 2 paragraphs of honest conversation. Out of that usually one or two lines will have potential.
  • The purpose is to be honest, “I can tell when I’m faking it and I can tell when I’m trying to be fancy.”
  • 12 minute exercise to gain 40 title ideas?

00:53:26 - Greg: Coming up with subjects that would make a good song (as a person of middle-age and happily married).

01:00:26 - Shane’s exercise 3-5 minutes:

  • Play a song that has had an impact on you.
  • Put yourself in the place of the writer of that song and pretend like you are sending it as an email or letter another person (relevant to the song).
  • Write a reply back to yourself.
  • Then, as yourself, write a reply back.

01:00:26 - Shane tip on mapping out a song

  • Chorus’s first
  • Build verse ideas around the chorus without actually writing the verses. What do I want to say in the verses and the bridge?

01:06:40 - Joe: How to make my lyrics more metaphorical and abstract?

01:10:41 - Writing process: Shane keeps track of the number of versions he’s written. This example is up to 46 (not unusual).

01:20:05 - Two ways to create metaphors

  • The english teacher method
  • Uncle Shane’s method

–Rigel Windsong Little Deer Thurston
Songwriter - Community Builder

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