Lyric Writing 1
This course will focus on the structural aspects of lyric writing, especially the use of rhythm, rhyme, and form. Emphasis will be placed on compositional decisions and choices available to the lyricist. Weekly writing exercises from the workbook.
Lyric Writing 2
Composition of lyrics using techniques gained in SW-221. Student projects will cover various uses of form, approaches to hooks, use of thesaurus and rhyming dictionary, writing to existing melody, collaboration with composers (lyrics first), and work sheets on form/function relationships.
This course is designed to enrich the students understanding of composition as it pertains to hip-hop. Students will learn how to write effective hip-hop songs by studying the social and cultural background of hip-hop as well as studying the lyrical and compositional elements involved. Students will be asked to write hip-hop lyrics and music, learn how to conceive of lyrics for other artists and to produce a fully conceived hip-hop song.
Arranging for Songwriters
Building on skills acquired in AR-111, this course focuses on writing effective arrangements built around a lead vocal with a contemporary rhythm section including percussion, background vocals, and synthesizer(s). Topics include conceptualizing and establishing a groove, writing effective introductions and fills, and supporting the style and structure of the song with appropriate instruments.
Guitar Techniques for Songwriting
This class provides a stylistically open foundation in guitar playing focused on the needs and working processes of songwriters. The class integrates knowledge of theory approached in terms of the guitar fingerboard with songwriting/composition concepts and skills. Each session introduces technical work on guitar skills development, along with small composition exercises, performed and evaluated in class by the instructor and peer critique.
Survey of Popular Song Styles
The purpose of this course is to provide the student with an overview of the contributions that songwriters have made to 20th-century American culture. Included will be a history of the sources of, and the trends in, various popular American styles, including the blues, standards, show country music, and the more contemporary and progressive styles of rock, pop, and new wave. This course will use the basic technical and analytical tools taught in SW-221 and SW-211 to study and analyze significant popular songs and song styles.
Basic Recording and Production Techniques
This is a hands-on recording course using the Mac laptop computer, an audio interface in tandem with a rack of gear consisting of microphones, a compressor, and a small mixer. The recordings are made in an ensemble room, thereby giving the students a similar experience to one they normally encounter if they are not recording in a professional recording studio, but with the important addition of an audio engineer as their teacher who will teach them how best to use the equipment and will guide them to make the best possible recording within the limited facilities. Evening and weekend labs are required.
A writing workshop geared to the producer, arranger, or songwriter that focuses on writing original songs for artists, assignments for television or film, etc. The workshop involves collaboration and addresses the creative process from many angles in order to allow the student to develop varied skills and approaches.
Advanced Lyric Writing 1
A course in workshop format designed to help the student develop individual style and technique in lyric writing. The course will focus on prosody of form and content, setting lyric to music and vice versa, and on the integration of techniques learned in SW-221 and SW-222.
The Music of John Lennon
A study of the work of John Lennon, including musical analysis, lyric analysis, survey of his poetry and art, transitional periods, and the influence of his interest in surrealist and nonmusical events. Influences of Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono. Class presentations include audio and video clips.
The Business of Songwriting
A practical business course for the songwriter. Topics covered will include making and marketing demos, copyright law, publishing contracts, sources of royalty income, performance societies, and collection agencies.
This project-oriented, workshop-style class presents varied models for songwriting collaboration, including differentiated roles for lyricist and composer (typical of earlier musical theater writing), the cowriting model prevalent in current Nashville-centered country songwriting, and emerging collaborative roles in production-driven contemporary genres such as pop, R&B, and hip-hop. Industry needs and realities are reflected in class projects. Students play varied roles in both in-class fishbowl and serious project collaborations, including writing to theme/on deadline and for specific industry artists and/or selected student vocalists. In-class cowriting sessions, partner projects, and technology-supported virtual collaboration are explored. The class also covers pragmatic issues essential in professional cowriting, including cowriter selection, decision-making and consensus, and contractual and business issues of coauthorship and copublishing.