the guidon online

Filed under Feature, Top Stories

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

Monte+Selby+performing+a+song+for+the+Chamber+Singers.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

Monte Selby performing a song for the Chamber Singers.

Monte Selby performing a song for the Chamber Singers.

Monte Selby performing a song for the Chamber Singers.

Monte Selby performing a song for the Chamber Singers.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Grammy Award winning songwriter, recording artist, educator, author, and speaker Monte Selby came to talk with Chamber Singers on Jan. 11.

Before he made it big, he was the assistant principal, principal, and basketball coach at Hays Middle School.

He described the middle school as being a “songwriter’s playground,” and used his experiences with his students to entertain fellow teachers and parents.

“[Kids] will throw anything out there, and I like that,” Selby said.

Selby’s musical journey began in his church where his mother was the organist in their band.

“I think I was in third or fourth grade when the two guitar players at my church asked ‘How come you’re not playing with us?’” Selby said. “That, for me, was a big motivating factor.”

He’s been playing guitar ever since.

Selby has professionally written and produced songs, but said it isn’t as glamorous as some make it sound.

“I wasn’t very inspired by that,” Selby said. “You’re meeting with pro writers to try to write a song that a certain publishing company wants in a certain style. That just didn’t do it for me.”

He prefers to stick to writing about “real stuff in the moment.”

“I’m not trying to write a song that Vince Gill is going to record because he’s looking for medium-tempo, positive-lyric stuff,” Selby said.

He prefers to travel to places like the Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch in North Dakota to help troubled kids release emotional tension through music.

“Once kids hit a point where they think of going somewhere other than backwards, and instead think of going forward, that’s the point where they need to write a song about what they’re thinking about,” Selby said. “Realizing that changed everything.”

Selby has spoken at countless schools and has written songs with over 39,000 students from around the world.

He told Chamber Singers that the most important thing is to keep working hard and practice whatever you’re doing. The goal right now isn’t “to sound like that 26 year old on ‘The Voice’ that blew the doors down.”

“That’s not in very many 15 year olds,” Selby said. “There were so many things that my voice would not have done at 17 that it did when I was 27 or 37, so just know that there’s more that’s going to come.”

Selby never planned on song writing becoming such an important part of his life. He said he’s so into music because he loves making noise.

“If it’s just piano or if somebody has some weirdo instrument, I start messing around with it and seeing what sounds I can make,” Selby said. “That’s all it takes to start.”

He also said there’s so much more to writing a song than just making it sound like a song. It’s all about technique and patterns.

“If you don’t stick to the main idea, the human brain will want to get distracted,” Selby said. “There’s no room for that as a songwriter. You cannot lose the listener.”

Aside from sticking to the main idea, Selby said the most important part of songwriting is being able to convey what you feel.

“Your listeners have to connect emotionally if you want something to be unforgettable,” Selby said.

21cleiker@usd489.com

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About the Contributors
Caitlin Leiker, Staff Reporter

Caitlin Leiker is a sophomore, and this is her first year in newspaper. She is also involved in Chamber Singers, Musical, and Spring Play. Outside of school,...

Alicia Feyerherm, Staff Reporter

Alicia Feyerherm is a sophomore and this is her second year in Newspaper. She is also involved in Tribe Broadcasting, Scholar’s Bowl, Red Cross Club...

Leave a Comment

The Guidon intends for this area to be used to foster healthy, thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to our standards and to be respectful and constructive. As such, we do not permit the use of profanity, foul language, personal attacks, or the use of language that might be interpreted as libelous. Comments are reviewed and must be approved by a moderator to ensure that they meet these standards. The Guidon does not allow anonymous comments, and The Guidon requires a valid email address. The email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    German I students experience a continental breakfast

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Substitute teachers follow requirements given

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Puerto Rican musician Edgar René offers advice to budding performers

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Junior explains decision to delete social media

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Chamber Singers holds Q&A with Little Match Girl Passion composer

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    2016 graduate Albany Schaffer continues volleyball career at DI school in Louisiana

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Chamber Singers to perform Pulitzer Prize-winning Little Match Girl Passion

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Freshman travels to Germany over spring break

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Sternberg Museum offers seven summer camps

  • Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers

    Feature

    Students compete at Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge, two out of five awards received

Navigate Right
The School Newspaper of Hays High School
Grammy Award-winning songwriter Monte Selby visits Chamber Singers