Episode 95: Why'd You Write a Book, Mike?

Sep 13, 2023

In the world of short form viral videos and online courses, why would someone create a physical  book as a a teaching tool? C.O.O. Heather Taylor, asks the hard hitting questions in this week’s Songwriting for Guitar Podcast Episode.

Pre-Order your copy of "The Songwriting Guitarist" here before Sept. 26th: https://www.songwritingforguitar.com/preorder

With your physical copy, you'll receive an audio book download that includes a bonus Author's Notes as well as an official Resource page with audio clips to follow along and improve!



Listen or read the ai (unedited) transcript below..

Mike Meiers Hi, Heather.

Heather Taylor:  Hello, Mike, I hear you made a book.

You are correct. This is the highly anticipated book, I must say the first book that I ever wrote was in first grade. You know, it's called the things that I like. And it's been quite a while since I've done any book since then. But I think it's time for a book this time.

Yeah, it's been it's been years now. I feel like your fans since first grade have grown and evolved with you and would like, are excited for this update. All right. So I think it's

funny when people say they read books, because I feel like it's, you know, first I'm like, man, it's the most archaic form of communication sometimes because it's like, you think books. But in an age where there's too much information, I think on YouTube, where you can just get inundated having something very concise, specific to the point. And guided, is what a book is for.

Oh, yeah. I think that this book is awesome. I actually listener, I have read it. And but I'm going to pretend that I have. I'm gonna ask Mike some questions about it. Because I think that it would be awesome if you knew about this book, too. And I think you're gonna love it. Mike, are you ready for some questions?

I'm ready as I'll ever be.

needed as a great source. I was like, that's super helpful. And this was in June and I was like, oh, I should write a book, Why am I not writing a book. And it was purely out of like, I feel like I have something helpful to share. And again, it's my view of guitar. But if you only know me in my kind of sphere, or you only know me through someone, that's the only way you're gonna get the information, books, I feel have a way of reaching out across that to different platforms, you can do audiobooks, you can do Kindles, that if you feel that you have a message, which I do believe people need to better their guitar skills, if they're a songwriter, then you need to make that available and consumable for people. And so that's where I was like, Okay, enough, like thinking about it, maybe or taking inaction actually just just make the book and sit down.

That's exciting. When you see other people doing something, and you're like, you know what, I've got something to share, too. I'm gonna do it.

It's funny how encouraging you can be for other people and be like, oh, you should absolutely read book. Yeah. And it comes from, you know, I shouldn't read a book in

first thoughts. No, probably not. No. So what's what's in the book,

I take, essentially, over my decade of teaching guitar, and teaching songwriters, and teaching people a way to break down a process of understanding their guitar to unlock songs so that all the things they have in their head, if they just pair certain things, three things, to unlock better melodies, and be more on target with what they're trying to write. That's the whole goal of this book. And it's kind of setting them up presenting, this is what you do. And then more importantly, this is the formula afterwards, I say transformation 50 minutes a day. Because literally, I talked about this is how you should go about a healthy practice routine. Because I think people spend too much time watching all these again, and I don't mean to rag on YouTube, like all these videos about like these cool techniques, but there's no process or system afterwards. It kind of leaves them hanging. And so I want to tell them why this is important. What it's going to do, here's the system, here's how you use it going forward.

That's awesome. Yeah, down with YouTube. So why should somebody read it if they aren't a guitar player? And should somebody read it if they are,

you know, allow me to name drop I will not just say just my words, but Judy sticky, who I teach this formula. If you don't know Judy, stickiest, she is former creative Senior VP at Warner Chappell, discovered people like Sheryl Crow helped to transform people like Katy Perry, Joy Williams, John Shanks, Julian banana, like a load of like famous songwriters. When I explained this to her, and I taught this at the retreats, she is not a guitarist at all, she is mainly just kind of lyrics overlooking the artistry side of it. She said, this is a great way for me to communicate ideas. And I think that's another thing that I want this if you're not, if you're not a guitar player, but you have amazing ideas. It can be crippling when you don't know how to communicate it to someone who's doing the music side. And if you can have language, you can adapt and share and make it clear to so and so this is how, you know, this is what I'm hearing in my head. This is what I mean. And they go, Oh, I know what you're talking about. I think that's a great bridge for great songs. Because there's no longer this kind of like technical or language barrier, you know what to say. And if you're a guitarist to me, you have to regardless of how long you've been playing, I think you can get down the rabbit hole of doing too many things and too many crazy things that aren't helping the song you think they're helping. But it always comes back to these three, it always will help unlock better melodies, it will always help move the song in the direction to where it needs to go so that you can help. I think the end goal for both parties, whether you're a non guitar player or guitar player, is to get a great song. Nobody sets out and goes, Hey, let's write a mediocre song. You want the best possible product?

Yeah, yeah, I love that. It's so important to be able to communicate your ideas. Otherwise, you just feel like a five year old again and not able to be like, I want that thing you know, or like

a two year old and worse is that you feel like you're not a good songwriter then because you're like, Oh, I guess I can't do it because I don't know how to say it. But there's so much power and just being able to communicate something a little bit more effectively. Hmm,

great. So for anybody that doesn't know can you talk a little bit about your background and experience in this you did just say that you're you do teach at Judy stickies retreats once a year.

I've watched all ages, all skill levels for like, literally a decade, like pretty much like six days a week, eight hours a day, and their abilities and their struggles with guitar and just seeing it at different skill levels to see it communicated at different ages of one They're struggling with what they think is important. But the same sort of barriers that they get hung up on, I think is universal. And I think for songwriters, they get hung up on it even more. And so my whole decade was helping them overcome that and find easy ways of labeling the things that are important. Especially if you're someone that's trying to deconstruct a song, understand why is the song doing what it's doing, how can I play that? How can I communicate that melody? How can I communicate that chord structure, I did that for like a decade. And then over time I taught at this point, now it's going to be seven, seven years. So on top of that, just strictly songwriters, just helping them through the process of trying to communicate better with their guitar so they can write better songs. And then on top of that, in my own journey of commercial songwriting, especially from licensing and trying to use that in my own writing, and using that effectively across the board to write better songs for other artists to get placements. At this point, tons of different placements across the board and different genres that I wanted me during that time. Then on top of that, I ended up writing and connecting with American songwriter and writing articles for them, then I ended up setting my own company and then connecting with someone like Judy. And then eventually she pulled me into her retreats, and then added on top of her methodology, my methodology of guitar, which I was like, blown away, purely because in that entire time prior to her connecting with me, that methodology was never touched. And she was very protective of that. And so to have me just constantly be there every single retreat since 2020, which is crazy. I think, as we're recording this, I'm going next week to speak. This is going to be like my seventh time, I'm just like, cool. But it shows that there's always a need. If there's one thing that's been consistent this like, you know, decade is, there's there's a consistent need for it, because I still see the same things again, and again. So it's like it reaffirms my mission of like, why this matters.

Now, that's so cool. So to summarize that Mike is just a general badass. And that's his background. So let's see. Can you share an example of a key idea from your book or a key idea from what you share at Judy's retreat sometimes, or in your general teaching?

The one thing that I think is the most important especially if you're a songwriter, regardless if you're a lyricist, Melody person music person. We always talk about lyrics melody lyrics, Melody, I think there's a million books out there about lyrics melody, there's a million courses about lyrics melody, there's tons of coaches that talk about lyrics melody, and don't get me wrong, those are so important. But the guitar is such an afterthought. Where we're not viewing the guitar is the thing that could amplify the lyric and the melody because the lyric and the melody has to convey an emotion. So I don't care if you're writing something that's country pop, it has a deep story. I don't care if you're writing something that's for licensing that's like dark haunting, and you're trying to aim for, like, you know, a Netflix show. The key is emotion. And you don't realize that your guitar can convey emotion, we view it as kind of like this static, just like I'll put some chords over top of that. But to me that the key is the voicing that you're choosing. Because that's going to stir the melody one way or the other. It's either going to lead it and enhance the direction you're going in, or it's actually going to hinder it and cause a lot of stumbling blocks. So if you can pay attention to one thing on the guitar string for it, it's always a voicing. And if people are like, well what the hell's voicing? To me, we know open chords, but you know, barre chords Do you know power chords? Do you know roots and thirds? Do you know how to utilize your Capo to unlock different keys with it? We view the capo is like, oh, it's the easy way to play guitar. But it's also the way that you can unlock keys in another voicing that actually could enhance the melody in the vocalist. Because the vocalist has a particular styling it's light and airy. And if I'm playing these clunky open chords down here, they're just clashing with each other. But if I Capo instead on the seventh fret, and I use these shapes instead, suddenly, it blends well, and brings out the vocalist way more. So this is why I'm always thinking about this. And if somebody is not thinking about this, I encourage them to to examine this because that's where you're gonna see a lot of the stumbling blocks in the early development of your songs is because musically, it's it's it's like spearing Slyke, it's fighting against your your Lyric and melody. And this is where it can cause someone to be like, I don't believe what you're saying. I believe

what you're saying. And as a vocalist, I really appreciate that not having to fight against a guitar or a production that fights against me.

And I think it could save time because then if you realize, oh, it's a voicing problem. It's not a melody problem. It's not a lyrical problem. And you're not just changing things within those because you think that's the issue. But all along, it's just been these clunky chords that you've been kind of like hanging on. That's the reason.

Mike Meiers 15:08
Hey, it's Mike. I'm jumping in the middle of this episode to let you know, I have a book that's coming out. Yeah, a book. You know, over the past decade, I've gathered so much thought on teaching songwriters, really understanding the pain points in terms of what hinders their playing, to write great songs. And most of the time, it's not complicated things, it's things that get overlooked again, and again. And again, this is the framework that I've developed that I've taught in my courses, coaching clients that on retreats, songwriting retreats that I've taught again, and again, and again, I'm making available in this book. So if you're someone that wants to better understand their guitar, utilize it to its full potential to write better songs. Just head right now to songwriting guitars, book.com. And you can pre order my book right now. And you're going to receive an immediate download of the audio book, which has extra content and the Kindle version, you're going to get available ASAP. So as soon as you preorder the book, guess what, you have these available at your fingertips so you can start diving in now. So remember, go to songwriting guitars, book.com to preorder the songwriting guitarist. Okay, let's jump back into the episode.

Heather Taylor 16:30
So how do you envision songwriting guitarists using this book in their lives?

Well, I think it's to use it as a reevaluation of what you think is important with guitar. If anything, I hope it reminds you to go back to the core fundamentals that are important because they always will be important. Nobody's going to be like, Man, I'm so glad you did that tapping during our song that made a huge difference. Now it doesn't. But oh dynamically, you are able to convey this emotion really well with your guitar and actually segue to where the chorus ramps up. And I really felt it because it caused my melody to change, if they have this as almost like a little tool book to go through and gauge what they need to go back to what they have to. And what I like about this, this book is interactive. So it's like, there are points where you can scan, you can listen to examples you can go in and you can see examples being used and not just see it, but actually hear it. I think that's important things that I've actually done things that I've used things I've gotten placed, so I can show you exactly why this matters. And that you can then go back and use that as almost a reference for yourself, I think is huge

benefit having an audio and visual. I think that covers all the learning, or Yeah, most of it. It's amazing. So what do you hope readers will walk away with after reading this? You kind of covered have been covering that. But if you had any other thoughts about that?

I probably have lots more thoughts. I think for me, it's just that lyrics melody and your guitar are equally as important. I will always I will fight that. Yeah. I've had I've had people kind of like push back a little bit. And I had one higher person I should say that was like, I don't think that's true. I was like, Well, I've heard some of your songs that I've heard the way you play. And it doesn't sound at all the way I think it could sound. And I think it's just because when we push back, it's we think it's going to be you know, hours upon hours upon hours upon hours of this or this where I'm like, No, that's why say 15 minutes. This is where I'm asking you to focus on that one thing that needs improved if you're someone that's listening to this and you're like, Well, Mike, I know you know, I know some stuff about guitar and knowing and implementing, I say in the book are two different things you can know a lot of things. I know that, you know, eating a whole thing of Oreos is awful. But man, I've discovered that Oreos are vegan, and I've just been enjoying, like eating a lot. Like I know that. But implementing restraints sometimes can be hard. Knowing that these things are important knowing that you have to have dynamic variation knowing but implementing is a huge difference. And I hope this causes people to implement more, and not just have it be stocked knowledge in their brain.

I love that. Absolutely. So you mentioned the 15 minutes and only concentrating on one thing. Are you seeing people? Why do you think that is necessary to say are you what are you seeing from practices and guitar players? Are people just learning guitar?

What I found in this was you know from a decade of teaching people to everyone's lives are it's you can't gauge how busy moments are going to be every week just seems a little bit different. Everybody has certain things are committed. So it's the idea of saying like, I'm going to practice every facet of guitar that's going to make me better. And I'm going to do it well, this week is just ridiculous. And even in the practicing it they go, Well, I gave a little bit of time to this and a little bit of time to this look, you're never going to allow something to develop. If you're jumping around. It's like, that's why you're always gonna be you know, you know, they say like, you know, jack of all trades, master of none. I think for this, it's, if you're not great at voicings, why would you move on? Why would you be like, well, I'll just move on to this. I think we say that because we're frustrated, it's not developing as quickly as we want. And the reason it's not is because we're just bouncing around. We love the idea of new things. But staying with something is a discipline. And so if you can focus in on those 15 minutes and focus just at the heart of like, I am going to work at this one chord progression until it gets to a level where it starts to sound fluid, sounds clean. And I'm going to do that every day for 15 minutes, I'm going to show up, and I'm going to do it. When I'm done, I'm going to show up, I'm going to do it again, that will get consistently better, and you'll see growth rapidly in a month. And then you can move on to the next thing. And you're gonna see growth on that. And then you're going to move on to the next thing. So you're going to be crossing things off your list a lot quicker. We think overwhelming our list will make it better. If anything, it just makes us stop playing.

Yeah, I've definitely experienced that. I'm gonna I'm gonna practice for three hours, and then nothing because

it sounds cool, too. Doesn't it sound impressive? Oh, it doesn't sound impressive. Yeah, it's like three hours. It's just like, Who 15 minutes doesn't sound impressive. And I think we just want other people to think that we're taking it seriously. I think a confident person understands the long term benefit of consistency more than the grandioso. Like, Oh, I did, I did four hours, I was sweating so much. I didn't leave the room. I didn't even pee I just like stayed right there and went to the bathroom while I was playing. That's how committed I am.

That's one thing I love about this book is that besides the resource and the audio section of it, you talk a lot about mindset. And I think I think that's one of the biggest light bulbs that went off for me while reading it. So do you have any other thoughts about that before my last question?

Oh, do I have thoughts about my attire? No, that's fine. The best way I would say mindset matters is we're going off or our view of playing if somebody's listening to this, and they say things like, Well, I'm not good. Or you know, I've always been okay. I think it's because we've also been given that narrative. At some point, when we were like discovering the thing and starting to learn it. At some point, somebody said something, and we didn't realize it, but we kind of absorbed, I always think back to there was this one kid that I taught. And this was early on in teaching, and he was awesome. He would take risks, like he wasn't worried about like, being sloppy, or just like and what I mean is like, he realized it would get better, he was okay with that. Like, he would love to learn a chorus of a song and he would get excited. And this was during the days of if you remember blackberries where it was just like, you know, yeah, and it was his dad would drop it off. And where I taught it was just like the waiting room in the lesson room were pretty closely connected. And the air conditioning wouldn't work sometimes in the summer. So we keep the door open between the two for just like the air to just like circulate. And his dad was sitting down, you know, like face glued to the Blackberry. And he played something because Dad, I you know, I played it. And the dad without skipping a beat or looking up goes, that doesn't sound like it. And immediately I know how he then interacted with me, subsequently for the next month or two was a completely different person than I had in the room like five seconds before that. It's we just don't realize that makes that big of an impact. And you know, even strong people go, I don't think so. Yeah, there is something there is something along the lines that that happened. And so there are certain things mindset wise you have to do, because it's not always going to be easy. But if you're in that right space, and again, you're consistent. That's where you can, you know, I like to say I'm not the not the craziest guitar player, I'm not the best guitar player in the world, but I'm the most consistent. I know if you put me in a room, I can unlock where the song needs to go. That's my strength. And I think more people can have that strength. But everybody has a moment like that where, or I guess a Blackberry moment of someone saying something

that's true. You never know. You probably even forgot about it. And you still need to work through it either way. And,

and most of the time, they're not even someone that has any idea of the process. Yeah, like they're totally outside. Like, you know, when you play a song, No, you shouldn't be better than that. They don't play an instrument. They have no way to gauge that they're just spouting what they think and they're not. Unfortunately, they're not thinking before they speak.

Mm hmm. That's why you need an actual music community. And so you can ask questions. to a music community and not people who don't know what they're talking about. Huge. So speaking of music community, what future projects do you have in mind for teaching about this or anything that listeners should know that's coming up?

All I will say that there is a very, very, very, very exciting program that's coming up. That I can't say yet. But I'm, I'm very, very excited about it. I think it's going to be transformational. And I think this is going to be, I want to say maybe the biggest thing we've ever done. And I'm really surprised how quickly this is formed. And it's almost like it's, I know, it sounds cheesy, like it's meant to be, but it really has like form where I'm like, this makes complete sense. It's like for a while, I've been like, oh, this has been the missing piece to the puzzle that I think people need. So that's all I can say.

Amazing. Amazing. Okay, so and they can probably expect, expect that announcement in the next month,

I'd say, if you're not on our email list, I would highly recommend that right now. Yes, I would recommend that you get on there because we are going to make an announcement first that list before any ad. So I would highly recommend you check that out. And I would highly recommend to if you're still listening to this, to download the songwriting guitarist book. And to do that you got to preorder the book, you got to preorder and guess what easy peasy and it's, it's like a cup of coffee, like a very fancy cup of coffee. Yeah, so you just gotta go to songwriting guitarist book.com to preorder it will include the links and all the all the all the special links, all the social links,

and then you can join the launch party on the 26th of September at 730. Eastern 630 Central, and we can all hang out and talk about guitar

Mike Meiers 26:56
and give away stuff. I mean, who doesn't love free stuff? Yeah, of stuff. Especially beneficial stuff and like stuff that matters. Mm

Heather Taylor 27:05
hmm. Get our stuff like

courses, courses, some gift cards, you know, the stuff that's good, and then you also get to know about that announcement. Oh, oh, maybe I'll let it drop there. Who knows? Okay. Cool. Anything could happen. Anything could happen.

Anything could happen. Friday, September 26 730. Eastern, where? Alright, well, listener, thanks for listening today and we're super excited about this book coming out. Hope you enjoy it. Hope you preorder it and thanks Mike for all your information and all your help.

Thank you Heather. Forget these questions. Damn good. Just saying I'm just saying

Mike Meiers 27:56
And that does it for this week's episode. Remember, if you want to preorder the book right now pre orders are being taken. You can just go to songwriting guitarist book.com So you can pre order your copy you're actually going to get it a week before it comes out. Plus, I'm going to give you access to the audio book as well. So songwriting guitars book.com And this amazing episode was edited, produced by Chris values. I'm Mike Myers. Thanks for listening.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai