I had a funny moment today in a songwriting workshop I teach at the Experience Music Project (EMP) in Seattle. I’ve been teaching this workshop to middle- and high-school students for a year now. In about an hour I have to teach groups of 15-30 teenagers about writing lyrics. Now, as a jazz musician I don’t write lyrics very often, but I feel pretty confident that I have at least something to share with the kids. We have fun and they usually leave with some new tactics to approach the art of writing a song.
The kids always come in with a teacher and chaperones. Today there was just one chaperone, a 30 or 40-something guy who looked pretty hip. At one point in the workshop he was working with one group of kids and sang a bit of a lyric that one of the kids wrote. I thought the rhythm he gave the line was cool, so I asked him his name and he told me it was Ian. I said to the kids “See, Ian was able to draw out the inherent rhythm in that line. Good job Ian!” He didn’t really respond much, but I was proud of myself for giving props to the chaperone. One of the kids said “He’s a musician. He played with Dylan.” I thought he was joking…
At the end of class I was talking to the teacher and Ian walked over. The teacher said “Let me introduce to you Ian Moore.” IAN MOORE! I just told Ian Moore he was a good songwriter. Ha!
Just goes to show, you never know who might be in the room.