Under the Hat: Songwriting Detectives

Under the Hat: Songwriting Detectives

Reporting while on tour from Mexico City, Mister G talks about how songwriters are like detectives who are always on the lookout for clues as to what would make and interesting song. This month’s episode of Under the Hat includes footage from a variety of school concerts from Mexico as Mister G shares a story about how he came to write “Chocolalala,” the title track off of his award-winning bilingual (Spanish/English) CD:

What clues can you start to look for to write your own songs? Here are a few ideas:

  • Draw inspiration in your family. Think about what your brother’s favorite food is, what makes your mother laugh, or something your Uncle collects.
  • Think about something you enjoy, like your favorite dessert, sports you like to play, or your favorite animal.
  • Use your imagination and create a character you’d like to meet or a destination you’d like to visit.

And remember, whether you’re writing songs about banana splits, your Aunt’s collection of ceramic frogs or flying robots, it’s the details that matter the most! Spend time thinking about what makes your subject interesting and special. Then hum or strum a tune to pair with your lyrics and presto….you’re a songwriter!

What to look forward to next month:

While on tour in Mexico, Mister G talks about how his bilingual song, “Señorita Mariposa” was inspired by the famous migration of the Monarch Butterfly to the state of Michoacan. He emphasizes how close observation of nature can become the jumping off point for new songs. Before performing “Señorita Mariposa,” Mister G demonstrates the traditional Afro-Cuban rhythm known as clave.


Mister G (Ben Gundersheimer) is an Amherst College graduate who spent 20 years as a singer/songwriter/producer in the adult music world prior to earning a Masters in Elementary Education at Smith College and transitioning to making music for children.  His most recent release, CHOCOLALALA, a collection of original, bilingual (Spanish/English) songs for children, won a Parents’ Choice Gold Award and is on the Grammy ballot for Best Children’s Album of 2012. A leading figure in the kids music world, Mister G’s 2011 bilingual release, BUGS garnered numerous national awards and was dubbed “irresistible” by People magazine. www.mistergsongs.com

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