I'm so glad you've decided to join me for this week-long project. This is an idea that I've had kicking around in my head and sketched out in my planning notebook for quite some time, and I'm so excited to see it come to life.
Granted, using music for layout inspiration isn't a new idea -- many of you have been turning to songs since day 1 as a means of creating special pages for your albums. What I hope this class will do, though, is teach you to look at those songs from more than one perspective, so that you can pull out ALL the memories that each one brings to mind for you.
Here's how this week will work. Each day, I'll put up a new lesson (6 lessons total). The lesson will include the following components:
- a journaling topic inspired by a particular song
- a writing technique drawn from an aspect of that song
- a sample layout to illustrate the lesson
- design suggestions drawn from the album cover art
Please do not think that you have to complete all 6 lessons -- or even one lesson, for that matter -- during this week-long time period. If you are able to complete a layout each day, that's fantastic! I urge you to post a link to your layout in the comments so that we can all admire your work. But I know how busy life can be, so these lessons will be permanently linked on my tutorials page; that way, you can come back to them as needed.
In the meantime, I have created a page-planning-template for you, so that you can jot down your ideas now, as they occur to you while you read through the lessons, and then complete the layouts later as you have time.
There's one other step to complete before Lesson #1 begins tomorrow. You need to select one band or musician to focus on during the course of this project. While each of these lessons could be completed using a variety of songs from a variety of artists, using just one band or musician helps us to achieve a couple of things: 1) It provides cohesion and focus for the entire project, and 2) it allows us to focus on the skills and techniques being taught, since we'll have to dig deeper into these songs (rather than using the more obvious ones that might originally come to mind for a certain prompt. Chances are, you've already used that bit of inspiration, anyway...)
When I envisioned this project, I was originally inspired by the idea of developing a life soundtrack. I quickly noticed that many of the songs on my list all came from the same artist/band; my guess is that each of you have a "favorite" band or musician whose songs play a recurring role in your life. Here are a few questions to help you identify a musician/band for this project:
- Who are your favorites? Think about groups or solo artists whose work has inspired you, album after album.
- When you are emotional, what music do you turn to?
- Think about a time in your life that was full of big steps or transitions. What music was popular at the time?
I chose the band Better Than Ezra. As I mentioned before, this was a pretty obvious choice for me. These guys released their first album during my freshman year of college, and their subsequent releases have been with me through a number of significant life changes, not to mention countless ordinary moments. In fact, one of their songs (and a snippet of the lyrics, too) inspired the title of this class. I'd love for you to post your choice in the comments on this post.
One final note: These lessons are intended to be flexible. Use what inspires you as you read through them. There are so many great ways that these techniques can be used; you aren't limited to just single-page layouts. In fact, while I was developing these lessons, a number of ideas for mini-albums came to mind. Here are just a few:
- Create a "Love Songs Playlist" album for your significant other. Include a list of 10 or 15 songs that document important events and places from your relationship.
- Create a "Timeline" album or layout of your life, using the songs that were popular at the time. Look up the songs that were hits on your birthday at certain ages (birth, 5 years old, 10 years old, etc). For your journaling, use the memories that those songs bring to mind to help recreate your self at each age.
- Create your own "Greatest Hits" memories album. Use all the song titles from one particular album as page titles to document important events in your life.