Songwriting and Social Change
A hands-on songwriting class that will allow students to put their social change ideas into rhyme, while also surveying songs in different eras and cultures throughtout the 20th century that promoted social change and/or illustrated social phenomenon particular to that era and culture. Benefit concert events like Live Aid and the Concert for Bangladesh that brought about awareness of prominent issues will also be explored. Notorious songs which had impact on social change will be analyzed (e.g. Imagine, Get Up, Stand Up, Strange Fruit) and prominent activist songwriters will be profiled (such as Bob Dylan, Bono, Bob Marley, Michael Franti, and Bob Geldof). Throughout the semester, students will have an opportunity to experiment with different writing topics and settings. There will be weekly writing assignments, as well as documentary screenings. Guest speakers and visiting artists will be invited to participate when available.
Song Demo Production Techniques
The songwriting major will learn the necessary techniques to utilize current MIDI and audio technology in the production of professional-quality song demos, including intermediate to advanced skills and concepts of MIDI, synthesis, multitrack recording, mixing, and sound processing. Building on technology skills, this course will focus on musical approaches to the effective assembly and arranging of sound materials using a music-writing workstation. In addition to class meetings, students will be expected to schedule weekly supervised individual hands-on time for practice and assignments in the Professional Writing MIDI Lab.
Advanced Song Production Seminar
This course provides detailed study of professional song production in a range of popular styles, allowing students to understand what makes a successful track work. Using successful tracks as standards for artistic and musical reference, students, by means of a hands-on approach, will develop and integrate a variety of synthesis techniques and DSP applications to creatively enhance their original song productions.
Song Demo in the Recording Studio
This course allows songwriters to record and produce their demos, to interact with live musicians and a recording engineer under the guidance of the instructor, and to find the best working methods to get their songs recorded professionally. Class members will either sing their original songs themselves (required of singer/songwriters) or provide a suitable vocalist. During the semester, each songwriter will record/have recorded two of his/her songs, and will be present to observe and learn from recordings of other class members. In addition to registering for this course, the student must also attend meetings of ENPP-303 Rhythm Track for Songwriters.
A workshop for singer/songwriters in which students write and perform their own material. Emphasis is placed on the song as the vehicle through which the singer/songwriter expresses his or her persona to the audience. Performances are videotaped, and songs and performances are critiqued.
Musical Theater Writing 2
Students will explore methods of musical storytelling and incorporating a larger dramatic arc to their vision; develop songwriting approaches for dramatic contexts; gain further experience in collaborative songwriting and scene writing; improve skills of giving/receiving peer feedback as a tool in the writing process; learn project management techniques on a large-scale project; and gain appreciation of professional possibilities in musical theater writing, a vibrant and vital contemporary American art form. Through ancillary rehearsals, students learn to prepare accurate scores and hand-off scores to a pianist/music director and actors.
Monitored and evaluated professional work experience in an environment related to the songwriting major. Placement is limited to situations available from or approved by the Office of Experiential Learning and the Songwriting Department chair or a designee. To apply for an internship, students must see the internship coordinator in the Office of Experiential Learning prior to registering. Note: Equivalent credit for prior experience is not available due to the requirement of concurrent contract between the employer/supervisor and the college. International students in F-1 status must obtain authorization on their Form I-20 from the Counseling and Advising Center prior to beginning an internship.
Directed Study in Songwriting
Individualized instruction designed to guide students majoring in songwriting in the preparation of their graduation projects.
Pro Tools for Producers/Songwriters
A Pro Tools course for students with intermediate DAW skills and interest in producing MIDI-based recordings. The students will be introduced to a more detailed look at Pro Tools using a wider array of shortcuts, and learn to implement recording techniques such as punch-ins, track comping and tuning, and step or loop MIDI recording. Students will also learn to use the Elastic Audio and Beat Detective features to quantize audio, and to integrate track grouping, submixes and networks of multiple sends and returns into their sessions. Students must be ready to demonstrate to the instructor their working knowledge of MIDI editing and some basic mixing experience using either Logic, DP or Reason during the first week of classes. Note: students are required to have a Pro Tools system installed on their laptops.
Creating Tracks for Hip-Hop Songs
This class explores sampling methods from other forms of music as a means for writing songs. Students will learn the technology of samplers as well as the history behind their inclusion in contemporary music. Each class will further develop the student's understanding of sampling technique through in-class exercises, projects, and group assignments. The course will be structured to cycle through phases of theory, technique, and creative exercises. In each class, key concepts (transcribing, looping, chopping, etc.) will be linked in a visual, tactile way to the sampler (Reason), as well as drawing on ear training and harmony materials from core classes. Although in format this class will resemble a lab, the combination of technical and writing assignments presented will require delivery as a full 2-hour class session. Emphasis will be placed on transcribing prerecorded music to provide a blueprint for the compositions students create. ¬¨‚Ä†
Writing Children's Music
This course will prepare aspiring songwriters with the tools needed to succeed in children's music, a viable and thriving segment of the music industry. Through the study of child development, students will learn tocompose music that connects with and engages children in a meaningful way. Students will have an opportunity to perform their original compositions for children. Business aspects of the children's music market will also be examined, enabling students to maximize opportunities for marketing, distributing, licensing, and performing their musical compositions for children. By the end of the course, students will have a portfolio of field-tested songs for children and the tools needed to pursue viable career opportunities in this genre.
Keyboard Techniques for Songwriters
This class will offer a foundation in keyboard and piano playing specifically for songwriters. The course will integrate keyboard technique, specifically theory as applied to seeing and playing it on the piano, with songwriting and composition techniques and processes. The student will work with scales, major and minor triads including inversions, suspensions and colors/tensions, voice led I-IV-V progressions, and excursions into blues and dorian and mixolydian modes, with attention to emotional tone and compositional color. Writing assignments will allow students to learn concepts through creative work. The course will also serve as a survey of basic piano pop rhythmic styles, working with rhythm templates as bases for individual embellishment. Although in format this class will resemble a lab, the combination of technical and writing assignments presented will require delivery as a full 2-hour class session. The goal of this class is to provide a foundation for creative work on the piano for students for whom piano is a second instrument.