Song ideas are like dreams: you have to write them down right away, or you will forget them. I can’t count the number of song ideas I’ve had while driving, that were lost before I got to a place I could write them down. For example, a few weeks ago while driving home from the farm I noticed, not for the first time, that just about every car I passed had two occupants. A guy driving, and a girl in the passenger seat. An idea for a light-hearted, hopefully funny song started to percolate. The hook was something along the lines of “all these cats with all these cuties, they must be pirates with all that booty.” [NOTE: I will use this line eventually so don’t steal it!] I had parts of two verses, a chorus and the beginning of a melody in my head, but everything but the hook was forgotten before I got around to writing it down.
All of this got me thinking, again not for the first time, about a way to capture song ideas before they are lost. I needed a way to capture a few lines, a hummed melody, or maybe just a concept. Here is what I came up with.
Using the indispensable and highly recommended iOS app Workflow, I created a “Normal” workflow (this will make sense when you see the app) that does the following:
- “Record[s] Audio” at “Normal” quality (because all we are doing is capturing information), beginning “On Tap” and finishing “On Tap.”
- saves the recorded audio to the “Song Ideas” folder in my Dropbox.
Then I created a Hazel rule on my Mac to monitor that Dropbox folder and move any incoming files to the “Song Ideas” subfolder in the “Music Creation” folder on my Mac. This rule also sets a green color label on the file, so I’ll know it came via this workflow.
Finally, I added this workflow, called “Song Ideas,” to the home screen on my iPhone via the Sharing> Add to Home Screen function within the Workflow app. Now it sits on the first page on my iPhone home screen, for easy access while driving.
This workflow allows me to quickly record and save any song ideas I have, from anywhere and in very close to real-time. While I created it specifically for songwriting, you could use this workflow to save and manage just about any information.