Performance Opportunity

Attention: The Short North Alliance seeks buskers, performing arts groups, musicians and other artists to submit proposals to perform in Modulation, a temporary public art performance program which will occur throughout the Short North Arts District in 2018 and 2019. The application is due on March 30!

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It’s finally here!

5 years ago we began CSA with the vision of building community, partnerships, and networks to empower songwriters in Columbus, Ohio. At the end of each year, we celebrate and showcase our growth through showcased performances by audience-selected songwriters!

And in 2017, with over 50 new members, 170 paid gigs, 220 new songs written and showcased throughout the year, and several national-level opportunities and festival performances made possible through the efforts of our board members and partners… we really have something to celebrate!

Did you know: In 2017, CSA’s community recently inspired the launch of the Ozark Regional Songwriters Association? Our organization also contributed to helping members be selected for performances at The New Albany Classic, Live N’ Local, Notes, Donatos, Skully’s, Independents Day Music Festival, Skully’s, Columbus Arts Festival, Fashion Meets Music Festival, The Power of Music Festival (Arkansas), and more.

Members: Use your password to get 100% off tickets to our Finale Showcase at SKULLY’S on Sunday, December 3rd. 5pm. We’ll have lots of room this year for a beautiful party surrounded by music and friends. Let’s make this a night of community and cheer on our friends who will be receiving feedback on their original works.

In terms of rewards, this year, a dozen songwriters will be invited to perform in the 2nd annual Power of Music Festival (redeveloped and fueled by many new partners). Songwriters will also receive gifts by our showcase partners at Donatos and Hugo Bosca. And… we’ve got a crazy cool mystery reward that we’re finalizing the details on.


TONIGHT: Get Your Songs into TV & Film


Last minute! Kyle Merkley, a rising music supervisor from Toronto is in Columbus for the Columbus Music Commission’s workshop on music licensing. Kyle is looking for new music for his catalog and accepting your singles/albums tonight!

7-9PM at Notes. All who register get a lifetime membership to Musicians’ Desk Reference ($500 value)


Music Industry Sessions: Next Wednesday

Live Your Passion Like You Mean Business!

The Columbus Music Commission is launching a music industry series that helps equip local musicians with tools and insights about the changed music industry. Local/National speakers involved Limited seating. Register asap!

Live Your Passion

Music Business Masterclass w/ Christian Howes


Columbus Songwriters Association is bringing in an internationally recognized music businessman, Christian Howes, to help musicians in Columbus build a stronger music business strategy.

Are you a working musician in The Indie Arts Capital of the World looking to improve your gigs and grow your career in music? This all day workshop is limited to a small group of working musicians in Columbus who are ready to take consistent action to get better gigs, develop new projects, and/or gain control of your business in general.


– Clear processes and skills for filling your calendar
– The ability to become comfortable promoting your services and products
– Clarity of your top sources of revenue, and the ability to work with a strategy that will increase your income
– A routine that will enable you to make a bigger impact as an artist and enjoy more free time
– The opportunity to network and spark relationships with proactive musicians working in your city
– You’ll also receive access to a full PDF, audio, and video trainings following the live workshop.

– Core content content will outline clear steps for you to identify and clarify your goals, eliminate your road blocks, improve or start creating your collateral marketing assets, and build a specific action plan. It will also drill deep into detailed strategies, tactics, and resources available to further help you create results.

Joey Hendrickson, Marketing Consultant and Founder of Columbus Songwriters Association, Columbus Music Commission, and How To Build A Music City, will be joining Christian Howes and speaking on how to create opportunities for passive income by licensing your music on a local level.

REVIEW TESTIMONIALS of Christian Howes’ Music Biz Mastermind, written by musicians, songwriters, and composers all over the country.

Space is limited! Early bird tickets available until Sunday evening, 2/27


Protest Song


We can’t deny that there’s a trend in politics right now. We see politics all over our media right now. Remember that some of the best songs in history were written with social relevance. As we promote and embrace the power of the song, we can’t help but share an articles that our friend James Linderman wrote for the current time.

How to Write a Protest Song by James Linderman

Perhaps two of the only thing left that we can all agree on is that we live in a world divided, and it is now a time of protest.

Whether people are protesting truth to power or power to truth, protesting a certain ideology or defending it, it appears that protest and social justice songs will be in demand soon, perhaps before we can even get them written.

This article is not going to be about the validity of anybody’s particular viewpoint or about our politics, but about how to craft an ideological protest song that will offer the greatest representation of your views, should you choose a guitar over a placard when your cause take to the streets.

If your cause has already taken to the streets, then you had better get writing because as the song goes, “Your old road is rapidly aging, so get out of the new one, if you can’t lend a hand”.

Here are 10 points you will want to know before you just start singing angry stuff all over the place.

1.    Research your Topic. You may have a very strong passion for a certain social or political view but there is a difference between being passionate about a cause, and being well informed. School yourself up on both sides of the argument and write a lyric you can defend.
2.    Write to the Centre. When writing your lyric you will convert more uncommitted listeners if you craft some nuance into your viewpoint. This does not mean you have to acknowledge a personal validation of the opposing view, but writing as if the issue is above debate, will inevitably work against you. You do not want people to get the impression that your song was written in an ideological vacuum because that will make it easy to argue against and satirize.
3.    Write to your Passion. Considering the point in #2 taken, do not compromise your passion for the cause, and write with the bravery and conviction that your view deserves.
4.    Use a Traditional Song Form. By using a traditional song form, you will allow your protest song to tap into the historical representation of the protest songs that have preceded it, and give your song some grounding in that tradition. This also helps your protest, or social justice song retain some simplicity and help the listener stay focused on the lyric ideas dedicated to your cause.
5.    Write into a Metaphor. Songs that are based on an abstract or written as a parable are more powerful and illustrative than songs that are directly teachy or preachy. Bob Dylan knew what the answer was, my friends, and could easily have stated it in plain language but he chose to let us know that it was “blowing in the wind”. The lyric was a metaphorical invitation to get out there and find the answer for yourself.
6.    Refrain from NOT using a Refrain. Some of us have never even written a refrain since the chorus took over the world about 50 years ago but the refrain is a great convention for the kind of song you want to write here. For a great example of a refrain we look again to, “The answer my friend is blowing in the wind, the answer is blowing in the wind”.
7.    We Want 5 Notes, We Want 5 Notes….Protest and social justice songs need to be easy to chant and as “sing along” friendly as possible. It is advisable to write a simple catchy melody that primarily uses the 5 note pentatonic scale. This will make your song easy for your crowd to learn and easy for them to remember for the next rally.
8.    What the Anthem? Anthems are historically a celebratory kind of musical work but of course, when you protest one side of a cause, you are also celebrating the side of that fence that you reside on. Study anthems, like national anthems as well as songs like Queen’s We are the Champions” and, “We Will Rock You” and other songs that tap into a sense of belonging to your certain faction of society. You will find that some of these songs have a chorus but notice the use of lots and lots of repetition and how the chorus melody and lyric ties in with the verses.
9.    Dude, Where’s Your Song? Once you have written your song, make certain that organizers who work for the cause know you have written it. It does you no good if no one hears your timely song and for those who share that view, your song may be considered an essential element that was perhaps previously missing from their movement.
10.    To Sing… or not to Sing! Once the song is written and ready to go, determine if you are the right voice for the song and for the movement. There is a lot to be said for the honesty of the songwriters rendition but it can also be argued that having the right performance can also be a huge factor in having your ideas gain traction and produce the greatest impact. Try to not make this decision with your ego, or your own ambition and let the song win the day.

Above all other kinds of songs, protest songs and social justice songs have been able to influence culture and some have even become the soundtrack to seismic shifts in how people feel about one another by providing the words and music to that particular moment in human history.

James Linderman teaches guitar and piano, and coaches songwriting over Skype to students from all over the world. He is the author of a new book Song Forms for Songwriting and teaches film composition and songwriting for film in the Slaight Music Residency at The Canada Film Centre. He has been an Academic Ambassador to Berklee College of Music for over 10 years. James also writes music journalism for performing rights organizations and songwriting associations almost everywhere.

Visit or contact at

Sign Up For CSA Showcases

2017 is going to be a big year!

CSA showcases are staying at Notes this year. Why? 10 easy reasons.

1. Downtown location
2. Great bar, stage, lights, audio
3. Chef-prepared food
4. Free use of back line instruments and keyboards
5. Free parking lot
6. They support and promote local bands and musicians
7. Notes is offering us a billboard downtown this year
8. They put on an awesome fundraising event for us in 2016, just because!
9. Their management and staff are inspired by us
10. Our songwriters dig them back

Also, we made a pretty big change to the CSA Showcase Sign Up page. We want you to write so many new songs, take all the big risks at your performances this year, and be able to prepare for them way ahead of time. So, you can now sign up for showcases way ahead of time! Check it out.

Plan responsibly – We want to hear all your new songs this year, but we don’t want our hearts broken by no-shows. We also want to make sure there’s room for everyone!

Another big announcement coming soon.

– Joey
Co-Founder, Columbus Songwriters Association