Courses

e.g. AR or AR-211
e.g. Film or "Bass Lab"

SW-P245

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-211 and SW-221
Department Code: SONG

A workshop for songwriters interested and involved in writing for a rock band. The workshop will focus on various techniques and characteristics utilized in the composition and arrangement of songs meant to be performed by a singer or singers in a rock setting. The workshop will incorporate playing and singing in class using rock instrumentation. Rock styles from the 1960s to present day will be explored and students will be encouraged to write in a variety of styles from mainstream pop rock and heavy metal to alternative rock and rap. Students will be required to present both original rock song compositions as well as a full arrangement for the songs.

SW-P251

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-211 and SW-221
Department Code: SONG

Rooted in the African cultural diaspora, improvisation is an ancient form of musical communication. The process of discovering and collaborating on ideas in the moment is at the core of productive learning, and provides a solid foundation for songwriting. This workshop introduces improvisation tools and techniques to explore effective processes of creating music and lyrics. Students learn via action-based teaching methodology in the classroom, where students’ instruments include voices, hands, feet and desks, as well as piano and guitar. Students improvise and perform original songs in the classroom and create a final performance presentation at the end of the semester. They learn various approaches to finding and cultivating song ideas through the art of playing improvisation games including free word association, singing melodies, clapping and rapping rhythms, jamming with instruments, object writing (stream of consciousness), and rhyming (games are loosely based off of those presented in the famous television show Whose Line Is It Anyway? but in a songwriting context). Students develop words into lyric rhythms, lyric rhythms into melodic motifs, and melodic motifs into longer phrases over harmonic and rhythmic ideas. Students successfully apply improvisational techniques to their songwriting practice in order to become more prolific and have an intrinsically rewarding experience. With emphasis on incorporating musical dialogue, student-run composition, and instructor-initiated improvisation techniques, students find total engagement in creative activity as a means of initiating more possibility for inspiration, innovation, and song collaboration.

SW-P326

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: None
Department Code: SONG

A survey of the music and lyrics of Paul Simon. Paul Simon's songs represent a rich and sophisticated tapestry of emotional color, social comment, and dry humor. Each week the class will examine the recurring musical/lyrical gestures and themes found in Paul Simon's songs. The class will explore the cultural, musical, and literary influences that inform Simon's songwriting.

SW-P363

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-212 and SW-222
Department Code: SONG

The field of songwriting for film and television has grown exponentially over the past few years, providing a promotional launching pad (as well as a potentially lucrative income stream) for artist and songwriter careers. This course will explore the techniques of writing music that will appeal specifically to music supervisors, editors, directors, and producers across any number of different genres. Throughout the course skills in songwriting, production, negotiation, collaboration, and establishing publishing deals will be developed, along with the opportunity to network with a variety of external music industry disciplines.

SW-P373

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-236 or guitar principal proficiency of 2 or above (SONG majors)
Department Code: SONG

This course explores guitar techniques, particularly addressing the needs and creative processes of songwriters writing on guitar. As a second-level course building on Guitar Techniques for Songwriters (SW-236), this course extends the scope of that foundation class to include more advanced harmonic structures and instrumental techniques, and the skills required by the performing guitarist/singer/songwriter. The class first reviews key material introduced in SW-236 in accelerated form—in close and spread voicings on all stringsets. This includes basic triads in varied sequences and progressions along and across the neck; dyadic voicings with drones and power chords (1-5-1 and 5-1-5 voicings). The class then addresses non-triadic voicings, including suspensions and shell voicings; advanced right-hand finger-picking, flat-picking, and strumming techniques; riff-based writing; and selected open tunings, with exploratory techniques for mapping new tunings. The latter portion of the class moves beyond composition and writing concerns to address: arrangement of repertoire on guitar; vocal/guitar interactions in solo self-accompanied performance; finding a signature guitar sound as a writer/performer; accompanying vocalists as second guitar or in a band setting; fills and leads in a song context; and applying guitar skills in the cowriting session. As with SW-236, each session will introduce technical skills, evaluated in class. This class will follow more of a workshop and master class format, as students present entire songs for critique and review by the instructor and peers. Thus the class will also lend itself to incorporation of sessions with visiting artists and clinicians, working in a lecture-demonstration and master-class format.

SW-P375

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All except SONG majors
Prerequisites: HR-212
Department Code: SONG

This course will allow upper semester students who have never taken a songwriting course at Berklee during their first six semesters to gain knowledge about their craft as well as experience critiques of their songs. It will allow these students the opportunity to learn many of the songwriting techniques taught throughout the Berklee songwriting curriculum and to receive individual attention from an instructor from the Songwriting Department.

SW-P421

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-321 and written approval of course instructor
Department Code: SONG

Advanced Lyric Writing 2 offers students a close look at their own writing process in an intimate seminar setting, focusing on individual strengths and weaknesses, tailoring assignments to each individual student's needs. We'll look especially at the rewriting process, concentrating on how and why choices are made, paying special attention to prosody. The course will demand a high level of skill and commitment. A project will be due each week.

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