5 Things Songwriters Shouldn’t Do In A Mentoring Session

Brent is a hit songwriter with cuts by Alan Jackson, Randy Travis, Lady Antebellum, Joe Nichols, Gord Bamford, Ray Stevens, and more.  He’s written a top 5 hit in the US and a #1 in Canada… so far.

I’ve published a series of posts about how to maximize a songwriter mentoring session (you can read part 1 HERE). Now, I’d like to share some things you SHOULDN’T do in a mentoring session.

1.  Don’t ask your mentor to rate you on a scale of one to ten.

One to ten based on what criteria? It puts too much weight on the opinion of one person. What really matters is trend. Are you better than you were a year ago? Are you working to be better next year?

2.  Don’t ask for a cowrite.

It’s awkward and unprofessional. Believe me, if your mentor wants to write with you, he or she will ask you to write. If he doesn’t want to write, it can make things uncomfortable for the mentor and possibly make him or her less likely to schedule another appointment with you in the future.

3.  Don’t ask your mentor to get your song to an artist or producer.

The answer is probably, “No. I have a hard time getting so-and-so to listen to MY songs, much less someone else’s.” Or the answer might be, “Yes, I can get it to them, but your song isn’t good enough and now I have to find a nice way to tell you that.” Besides, if your mentor does have an open door to an artist or producer, you’d be asking him to NOT pitch one of his own songs so he can pitch one of yours instead- with no benefit to him.

4.  Don’t bad mouth other songs or songwriters.

Nashville is a small town, and there’s a decent chance that your mentor knows someone involved with that song or artist. Heck, your mentor may have even written that song! It’s okay to state that certain things aren’t your cup of tea, but running a song, songwriter, or artist through the mud won’t be helpful. The point is how YOU get better, not how you wish someone else were better.

5.  Respect your mentor’s time.

Whether you’ve scheduled a 30 minute coffee or a 2-hour sit-down with your mentor, stick to the agreed upon timeframe. It’s uncomfortable and rude to overstay your welcome. Believe me, there’s probably nothing your mentor can tell you in that 20 minutes of overtime (“Just one more thing…” “Just one more song…) that is worth being annoying and inconsiderate.

I hope that helps.  Remember, your focus should be on getting better, not on getting discovered.  The rest will take care of itself.

You can check out these related posts here:

“4 Ways Songwriters Benefit From Mentoring”

“7 Qualities To Look For In A Songwriting Mentor”

If you’d like to discover much more about how to find a songwriting coach- and get the most out of that relationship- check out my Amazon bestselling ebook, “Hit Songwriting: How A Songwriting Coach Can Fast Track Your Success.” It will help you prepare for the coaching session- what to do before, during, and after the session- and more! CLICK HERE TO FAST TRACK YOUR SUCCESS.


Anything you’d like to add or ask?  Leave a comment!  Are there any topics  you’d like to see addressed in a future MvR post?  Thanks!


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Brent’s Twitter: @Razorbaxter

Brent Baxter Music:  http://www.brentbaxtermusic.com

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8 thoughts on “5 Things Songwriters Shouldn’t Do In A Mentoring Session”

  1. Hi Brent –

    I’m coming to Nashville in July and I was wondering if you have any advice on how I should spend my time.

    I have a couple of co writes set up and I’ll be working with a studio to cut a demo track.

    Any suggestions on what else I should do? My sense is that meeting people and networking should be my focus.

    If you have any advice, I’d love to hear it!


    Mike Maher East Brunswick, NJ

    Sent from my iPhone

  2. Nicely said – tactful and informative. I suspect that some think that they have amazing songs and that the only thing between them and success is that they have been undiscovered. Talent and hard work will always trend toward success, and when the artist/writer is ready – they will get discovered. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!!

  3. Hi Brent! Really appreciate these words of wisdom (like, really, because I’m sure this will save many of us from some awkward/embarrassing situations.) Leaves me with a question: What are some things writers can do to be prepared, respectful, and get the most out of a mentoring session?

    1. Mae,
      Thanks for the question. I’ve written a few posts on that topic a while back. They should populate at the bottom of this post as “Related Posts.”
      God bless,

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