Do you jam thru whatever you have and eventually find something you like? Personally, I'm never really able to come up with anything good when we jam like that. This doesn't necessarily make jam sessions useless, but sometime I feel I don't get the most out of them because my best stuff is written when I'm by myself and have time to work thru whatever I'm writing. How about you?
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id rather work on things on my own too, i feel like im on the spot having to come up with **** in front of a few guys
We sometimes just jam and see what comes out, (when you're often doing simple funk type stuff that works quite well for us). More often the songs we end up keeping are ones where someone has written a chord sequence/melody/snippet of lyrics before hand and we jam on then when we all get there. It's a fairly hit and miss game though, one of out best songs got written about an hour before a gig when we were warming up and we started out totally wrong :p
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I'll write a "framework" out at home, which is usually the verses, chorus' and a bridge if it's out, the other guys can add their own parts and suggestions and the song changes.

I find that the final song is similar to what I initially wrote, but still different in it's own ways.
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We sometimes just jam and see what comes out, (when you're often doing simple funk type stuff that works quite well for us). More often the songs we end up keeping are ones where someone has written a chord sequence/melody/snippet of lyrics before hand and we jam on then when we all get there. It's a fairly hit and miss game though, one of out best songs got written about an hour before a gig when we were warming up and we started out totally wrong :p

hahaha you played that song at the gig? That's pretty ballsy you're really taking a chance on that
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I usually come up with a riff on guitar. I show it to everyone else and we decide if we want to pursue it or not. If we like it, then I'll continue making riffs that kind of fit with my original and we'll structure those into a song. We'll add some bass parts. The drums will find their parts. Then we do the vocal melodies and eventually fit lyrics to match the timing of the vocal melodies.
I usually come up with a riff while mucking around at 2 in the morning , record it, forget about it and then stumble accross it a few months later. If I like it I'll expand; writing chorus/bridge/whatever it needs and show it to the band. The drummer will hit drums, the bassist will add low frequencies and then the whole band works together to put vocals into it (the singer is extremely talented but has no musical experience/knowledge). Then we have a new song!
My guitarist writes stuff jammin his guitar and puts it in Fruity Loops. This way I can full around with patches to experiment (I play keyboards).

I get his song, throw things around, and add some stuff. He fixes it an dmakes it nice and smooth again. And then we have a song.
We do it one of two ways. Either me and my brother (who happens to be our drummer) jams at home, remembers what we play, and let the other hear when it comes to practice time. Or, we do the same thing, but with the whole band present. The latter is the easiest, but a fair few of our songs come from me and my brother jamming at home.
Most of our songs we write we do it on our own, but Sometimes we will come up with a riff or chord progression in a couple of minutes and every one plays it.
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Guitarist tends to come up with a chord progression/riff/something interesting, works it out a bit, makes sure he has something reasonably solid in Guitar Pro, and sends it to the rest of the band.
Then I put a bassline in (if he hasn't already thought of something that's as good as I would write), get lyrics together, and send it back. We work out a vocal melody, add parts for another guitar/synth if necessary, and then bring it to a practice.

We then find out that none of it works, it all sounds terrible in real life, the singer can't even reach the octave we wanted him to be in, and the drum part I put in requires the drummer to have six arms. :P So we go back to the Pro file, once we've had a look at what works and what doesn't, and work out a more final version...rinse and repeat until we're happy.
My band does it a little differently. I write lyrics first so I can get a sense of the arrangement. I find writing music around lyrics is easier than writing lyrics around music.
I write the rifffs riffs and arrange the song. that is the almost finished product, I just have the bassist come up with his own bassline, or I write it depending on the section of the sound, the drummer comes up with his own beats, we play through it a few times, add and subtract ideas, than it's done.

Find something that works for you and your band becuase it is different for every group.
Our band is pretty open for idea's from other bandmates, but atm it looks like this: I come up with a song idea, tab the whole song (I can't work with fragments, I can never add anything to them), send the GP file to the drummer, he adds his drums, and then we send the tab to the rest of the band. Everybody learns his part (or at least should...), we add some stuff on band practice...and that's how the cookie crumbles.
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Awesome post, dude.

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I always start with the lyrics and the music, or a close idea of how it'll sound will come to me at the same time, then I'm left with a basic song to be expanded. If I have lyrics and can't imagine music behind them I won't use them.

Then again I think it's the other way round for the guitarist in my band so it's all relative I guess.
me and the bass player seem to just sit together and can bounce ideas off each other really easily we seem to get a lot of songs sorted out but we add the music later

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i sit and jam on my guitar. Every so often i come up with something i like (this morning ive come up with 3 or 4 separate songs). I record the little bits and pieces quickly on my nokia, then later i'll fool around with them. Then i'll take them to my bassist who i'll teach and i'll write lyrics and he'll say stuff bout the arrangement. Then we write the full thing down and put it away somewhere, to be got out when we have a drummer lol.
Mostly, I come up with a riff or recycle one of my good old riffs (pre-band). I tend to write the songs all by myself, guitar and lyric wise. I usually come up with a vocal melody (as far as you can call growling a melody) and the lyrics at the same time. I often come up with 2 guitar parts, so I can usually show the lead guitarist what I have in mind for his part as well.

Then it usually sits around for a while, I learn the riffs so I can play them blindly, then I show it at a rehearsal. The drummer usually wants to make up drum patterns first, so I play the riffs one by one for him, then I usually just play 1 riff for a while so he can try out different things.

Me and the lead guitarist ususally go through the riffs pretty quickly, unless I have some crazy rhythm in the riff. That happens every now and then. Then I show the bass player what I'm playing, so he can come up with some basslines.

That's what mostly happens. Sometimes the lead guitarist or the bassplayer will have a good riff and I make a song out of them. The lead guitarist actually composed a song a while ago too, but he left the lyrics up to me.

Now, I'm not some kind of control freak, I'd love to see what my lead guitarist and drummer would write in lyrics. My drummer has some crazy imagination.
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I come in with the rhyhtm guitar and lyrics/vocals. My guitar part is the driving part of the song, its the main riff or chord progression. The rest of the band then fits around that. So its the main structure from me and then bassline, drums, and lead and texture guitars.
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Our lead guitarist usually writes the song and teaches it to me, and when both us guitarists know it, we'll show it to the drummer and bassist. Since I'm rhythm, I might change something, or the bassist or drummer will add something, but when we finish the song, it's something we all like and enjoy playing.
My band approaches songwriting from a variety of different perspectives. There will be times when either I or the bassist (we often switch instruments depending on the song) come to band practice with a song completed. If this is the case I might have an idea for the bassline at a certain point and say, "Do whatever you want, but I think the last bar of the chorus should be ____ so that it leads back into the verse smoothly." Then we jam to it for a while until it's tight.

On other occasion we'll just start jamming and goofing around until we stumble upon something that works and then build a song from nothing.

Apart from these two approaches we may come to practice with a "part" of a song. We then collaborate and eventually a second or third part is written and we link them together somehow.

Our drummer is our primary lyricist, writing lyrics to most songs that do not already have lyrics when we come to practice. Unfortunately, we feel that a lot of the lyrics that any of us write sound stupid or are to "predictable" to use for a song, and we usually trash tonnes of lyrics before we settle on anything final.

On occasion our three other friends who play flute, saxophone and trumpet will join us and we'll jam to our songs. Sometimes we will have a sample melody for them to play at a certain part, other times they'll come up with something on the spot. In the end, we usually end up with songs that we're happy with.
usually we jam for a few minutes, and we take the bits and pieces we like from it. Sit down and talk about it. Writing the songe piece by piece. Then we put it all together, and uually end up changing a lot of the main parts, until it is properly done.
This is the way my band used to operate;
1) I'd write the lyrics to the song. I'd rather do this first because if the lyrics can stand on their own without any music, they I know it's worth persuing.
2) Then add music. This can be tricky, I'm not the best singer, so writing rhytym and lead parts like I do, its difficult.
3) Take it to the band. I'll play them the rough framework of the song.
4) They say if they like the song, or certain sections.
5) I'll teach them certain parts and give an emphasis on what I want from each instrument.
6) Then we flesh it out into a song.
The band I'm in at the moment is only in its fledgling stages and is hardly established in any sense, but so far its compositions have been the result of lyrics, chords and/or riffs created by individual members. Whoever wrote it brings it in to a jam session and everyone else just figures out some random tune (or, in my case, bass line) to complement it.

So far, I haven't been the one contributing the original ideas, but I'm perfectly okay with that and may never intend to. The band is of a very different style of music from what I'm into, and I think I'm more of a musical loner when it comes to composition; I'd much rather completely solo works than having to team up with others of possibly different tastes, feel as though your "genius" is being undermined and have to share credit. Yes, I'm probably just bitter and secluded. Bah!
Genius would be someone who could operate at the same level of excellency with and without band members.
1. Guitarist plays random stuff.
2. I say "play that again" is he plays something nice.
3. Makes up a bridge/solo/verse/chorus (whatever necessary)
4. bassist comes over and makes a (nice) riff for all of those.
5. I improvise during the song until I play something nice.
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