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Resource Review: The Songwriters Survival Kit-First Aid That No Songwriter Should Live Without!
Authors: Danny Arena, Sara Light, Nancy Moran and Fett
By Doak Turner
(more articles from this author)
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Title: The Songwriters Survival Kit
Authors: Danny Arena, Sara Light, Nancy Moran and Fett
What it is: Two instructional CDs plus support materials
Published by: the Azalea Music Group and the Songwriting Education Resource
Price: $40

This set of instructional CDs is one of the best resources I've found for songwriters at any level. “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” is divided into four sections: Top Ten Musical Tips, Writing a Winning Lyric, Making the Most of Your Demo Dollar, and Tips for the Performing Songwriter. It offers over two hours of tips and practical, easy-to-follow suggestions that songwriters can use to write stronger songs, make better demos, and raise your level of song performance.

Danny Arena, who is a columnist for American Songwriter magazine and co-founder of , (which offers songwriting courses online), begins the CD set. Danny offers his “Top Ten Musical Tips,” including insights about: not taking too long to get to the hook or title; knowing how long your song is and why it matters; using different song forms; and using good prosody (tying melody and lyric together) in your songs.

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Sara Light, a Nashville hit songwriter and co-founder of, offers tips in the “Writing a Winning Lyric” section, including topics such as: being sincere and writing what’s real; finding an original angle: including visual statements and specific details; and, the tough one for songwriters: being willing to re-write.

As an aside, Danny Arena and Sara Light were recently nominated for a Tony Award, as several of their songs were included the Broadway play, “Urban Cowboy.”

The section about “Making The Most of Your Demo Dollar” is authored by Fett, an independent producer and owner of Azalea Studios in Nashville. Fett is also the technology editor for Performing Songwriter magazine. Fett’s top ten tips offer great advice such as: not spending a fortune to get a great demo; communicating with the studio staff and engineer; the importance of deciding your purpose in advance of going to the studio; and participating in the demo process.

Nancy Moran, the final author of "the Songwriter’s Survival Kit,” is a professional singer, songwriter and recording artist, and is a contributing writer for American Songwriter magazine. Nancy offers “Tips for the Performing Songwriter,” including: knowing your purpose, your goals and your market; finding your own authentic voice; knowing the rules before you break them; and tips on recording your own CD.

Each of the writers of “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” offers excellent examples to support their tips and suggestions. Another feature of “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” that is very well thought out is that each tip is recorded on a separate track. And, they include a summary of each tip at the end of the track. This is great because you can select which tips you want to study without having to start at the beginning of the CD each time you want to listen to the CDs again!

"The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” also includes printed materials to support each section’s tips. This thoughtful feature may prevent auto wrecks for songwriters who like to take notes while listening and learning in their car!

I recommend “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” as an excellent investment to all aspiring songwriters, and it is a great resource for songwriting workshops and organizations. You can use “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit” to teach your songwriting organization members how to take your craft, your presentation and performance to a new level of success.

To order “The Songwriter’s Survival Kit,” visit, call 615-834-8613, or visit, e-mail , call 615-352-9934

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