Podcast Interview With Heather Niemi

Heather Niemi Savage
Musicking Community Podcast
Episode 6

Ann Johnson with
Alpha and Omega Christian Songwriters

(Click here for podcast)

Have you ever thought about what it takes to get a song onto the radio? Have you ever wanted to start or join a local songwriter’s group?

In this episode, I speak with Ann Johnson, founder and director of Alpha and Omega Christian Songwriters, about her work in Washington State. Although the songwriters she works with are writing Christian songs, her insights, ideas, and strategies on how she runs the group can be applied in any situation, in any locale. Ann’s work has met a need in her community, helping new songwriters find their way and develop a career. As she puts it, she has found her niche.

Topics in this episode include:

  • How to start a songwriter’s group
  • The support songwriters need most
  • The process from song to album to pitching to a producer/publisher
  • Building community through concerts
  • Celebrating achievements with awards
  • Helping new songwriters believe in themselves and their work
  • Collaborating with others to perform and record songs

Ann Johnson is a songwriter, pianist, lyricist and composer. In addition to composing her own music, Ann helps other musicians and Christian songwriters through Alpha and Omega Christian Songwriters, an organization she started in Seattle in 2014.  Ann has been involved in worship teams since she was a teen and finds great joy and satisfaction helping other musicians and songwriters achieve the music career they have always wanted.  Ann still finds time to compose her own music and is currently producing three albums of her own: A Hymn For All Seasons; A Tribute to Isaac Watts,  On A Night Like This (Christmas album), and His Love Is Our Song (worship and praise).  She is also working on an opera, Ruth and Boaz. Ann lives in Vancouver Washington with her husband Michael, a master electrician. She is a member of IEBA, GMA, OFA, WSFA, CFAMC, and NSAI.

You can reach Ann through the following avenues:


Episode 6: Supporting Local Songwriters

Gather Your Thoughts

The act of hearing, writing and then repeating it back to someone else or out loud to ourselves further affirms the Word in our life.

David Crank


A recent blog post, citing “Write The Vision. Habakkuk 2:2”, Pastor David Crank says:

God continues to speak to those who write it down. They are better positioned to regurgitate it back later. The information is reinforced through the act of bringing permanency to the message in writing. The act of hearing, writing and then repeating it back to someone else or out loud to ourselves further affirms the Word in our life. Faith comes by hearing… (Romans 10:17) Write it, read it, speak it!”

He brings out a valid point: what if the Apostles Peter, John and Paul never wrote anything down? Where would we be today?


We use personal encounters, sermons, artistic prompts, inspired thoughts and Scriptures to create our great musical ideas. Hiding these treasures carefully in our earthen vessels, we hope and pray one day we will be able to bring these valued gems out of hiding and into the light, just at the right time when a song demands it.

There are undoubtedly times when the Holy Spirit breathes a beautiful creation over our lives, and we can’t write it down fast enough. But for the other times, when we plug along and try to play ”Concentration” with little bits and scraps of inspiration we have stored up, that is where we need a little help. We need to journal our songwriting thoughts, not only for generations to come, but for our own confidence, inspiration and edification. But how do we spend time journaling when life is spinning around us?

Start by keeping an open file of all your handwritten scraps. 

Ideally, our brains would work like some kind of giant musical search engine, where we pull a thought out from an online notepad, and plug it into a song.  But our memory banks don’t seem to work that way, most of the time. We need help with reinforcing our memory, so we never get stuck saying “Where did I put that?”

You have little bits of lyrics and melody notations written down on envelopes, table napkins, church bulletins and event tickets.  You need to save these, but where do you put them so they won’t be lost? To begin with, designate a special box to keep these in. (but remember to label the box so it doesn’t get stacked somewhere…or thrown out!) This one habit will pay for itself many times over in time saved! If you have a filing cabinet, designate a hanging file folder, and label it “Song Ideas.” Keep it open wide enough to receive those odd-shaped crumpled paper with scribblings that you want to toss in there.  Later, you can tape these into a calendar book or journal, so you can remember where you were when you wrote it. Every year, I start a new calendar journal, and fill it with titles, lyrics, events and Scriptures I read during the day. . This really helps, and in years to come, these calendar journals make a sort of “scrap book” for you to relive your golden days of songwriting.  When time allows, retrieve your precious bits from your box, and tape or paste scraps of paper, concert tickets, and anything else that inspires you into this journal.

Tip: if you have a paper treasure that is badly crumpled or folded, do what I do: smooth out the paper between two pieces of clean cloth (to prevent scorching), and iron it! This works really well, and makes the paper look better your journal.

If you are artistic, you can make little drawings next to the scrap of paper, illustrating your thoughts. Here are some images I saw in my search for Journal Doodling you might enjoy.

One of our songwriters, an artist by the name of Diane Hurst, has a journals she created using her artistic skills.  You can find her collection here. Some of her sample journal covers, all original art:

Learn Calligraphy/Lettering

What? Learn fancy writing? This may sound a little crazy, but you can thank me later.  In our busy world of ”please print” And electronic signatures, something as archaic as cursive handwriting may seem out-of-touch. But take a look at this Pinterest page and see what you think.  Scroll down and enjoy.  Now, just think…if you were able to title a lyric sheet like that, wouldn’t that be amazing? Go ahead…pick one of those handwriting styles you like, and imagine that all your handwritten notes and music pages look like that font. Elegant and mysterious. If you could have your own special style as you write your music, lyrics and journal entries; a style that catches the eye and ignites the imagination, wouldn’t you want it? An elegant handwriting style makes your musical story and journey sing to the heart in ways that regular type can’t. There are many sites that have tutorials and videos on fancy handwriting and calligraphy, and you can practice and doodle while you are waiting on hold, or in your quiet moments. It is very relaxing to try your hand at this special kind of art.


In 2010 I started off my songwriting career aggressively. I wrote 3 songs a day for 6 months, and recorded an amazing amount of files on Logic. All with no labelling.  I printed off a catalog sheet, and meant to keep going with it, but after the first week or so, I got lazy.  Foolishly, I thought I could remember all that information. Bad mistake. Lesson learned. I should have known that someone who can’t retain more than 5 passwords would have a little trouble remembering where lyrics and music files are stored.

Assign catalog numbers to your songs.  This can be a succession of numbers by date, or it can be a creative “Dewey Decimal” type of category assignments.  I am including a generic catalog sheet below this post for you to download and print, to make it easier for you to get started. Copy this sheet several times, hole-punch the sheets, then place them in a 3-ring binder.  You can label the sheets by category (i.e., Worship Songs, Choral Songs, etc.), cataloging each song the way you want, to make it easier to find them. This will do wonders for you later on, and you will be glad you did it.  Most likely, you will remember lyrics to your favorite original songs, but if you need a memory prompter, some people also create a keyword search for their own songs, to help them find them later on. Not a bad idea at all.


The shortest of pencils is better than the longest of memories.” My husband quotes that for me once in a while, when he senses that I need to write down a thought. I love that quote. And I love him for reminding me to do that.  Confession: I am not a natural-born journaler.  I have had to learn, by trial and error, how to document my life in calendars and journals.  At times I still resist, thinking somehow that I don’t need it; but I come to my senses when I realize how important this really is.

As Christian songwriters, most of us being singers, we have no problem making our voices heard.  Let us commit to bringing our  exquisite thoughts and gems into the light, in writing, where the world can see them, and thereby glorifying our Father in Heaven.

God Bless,


In the next part of our series entitled “COMPLETE THE MESSAGE, Finish your Song Completely”, we will be giving you some tools, books, online classes and tips to help you finish up your song.  See you next time!


songwriters complete one song, and prepare it for several uses. Future posts in this series will address songwriting tools, song form, workshops, books and other tips, but in this beginning segment, we discuss how we can take a song from ”scraps to completion”..

Welcome Back Songwriters

Alpha and Omega Christian Songwriters is once again serving Christian songwriters in the Pacific Northwest. After closing down Sound Praise Artist Agency, in the Seattle area, we have redesigned our program to be more in line with our original group, Alpha and Omega Christian Songwriters. In addition to live meetings, we will post up-to-date information on the latest trends in music performance, production and licensing. 

Lennon Aldort and Seiko Werts at Awards Concert, 2017

Subscribe below to receive the latest posts, podcasts and calendar events in your email. Our 2022 Calendar of Events is nearly complete, so check back soon to find the latest performance and career opportunities coming up in the near future.

Steve Kirsch

We recently moved to Vancouver, Washington. We are near the beautiful Columbia River, and about 10 minutes away from Portland. With the help of local partners, we look forward to supporting churches with talent for their worship services, while helping Worship Pastors, Artists and Christian Songwriters achieve their life-long dreams, gain the confidence they need to produce and perform their own songs, create albums, lead worship and move into fulfilling career paths in their walk with Jesus Christ.

Song Door Grand Prize winner James Kelso


We are happy to be back serving songwriters in the great Northwest in our new location. Vancouver is a vibrant town teeming with talent. We look forward with anticipation to the amazing new songs and performances we will witness in the coming months.

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