The student majoring in songwriting will develop skills in melody, harmony, and arranging as well as creative approaches to musical composition, lyric writing, and an individual writing style. Students interested in becoming singer/songwriters will choose a curriculum that focuses on both songwriting and performance, culminating in a portfolio of their original songs. Students interested in writing songs for artists other than themselves will have the option of taking more arranging courses and will learn studio and MIDI demo production techniques. To demonstrate mastery of these skills and concepts, the student will complete a portfolio of several songs that typify various current practices of contemporary songwriters. The portfolio will include lead sheets, lyric sheets, and demonstration recordings of each of the songs, equivalent in production quality to those typically presented to music publishers, record producers, and record companies by professional songwriters.
Through the study of acknowledged masterpieces of the songwriter's art, the student will develop the critical skills necessary to recognize and discuss quality elements in musical and lyrical structure. Interpersonal and situational skills will develop through the many collaborative situations that exist in the professional environment, cowriting songs both as composer and as lyricist, working with vocalists and instrumentalists in the production of demo recordings, and working with engineers, artists, and producers in the studio environment.
The songwriting major will have sufficient skills and knowledge to work in the music industry as songwriter, lyricist, singer/songwriter, arranger, and/or demo/MIDI production worker, and will have a sufficient background in stylistic breadth, analysis, and understanding of permanent musical values to work in a variety of situations, environments, and changing stylistic, artistic, and production demands.
Upon completion of a major in songwriting, students will:
- Analyze the harmonic and melodic structures of songs in a variety of contemporary and traditional styles
- Contextualize songs in their historical, musical, and social context
- Synthesize and apply knowledge of contemporary and traditional musical styles to the composition of songs
- Synthesize and apply knowledge of contemporary and traditional song lyrics to the composition of original lyrics
- Arrange songs in a variety of musical styles for ensembles of varying size and instrumentation
- Create professional quality recordings of songs using Pro Tools
- Create a professional portfolio of original songs
Download the songwriting concentrate courses (requires Acrobat Reader, available for free on the Adobe website). Students are strongly encouraged to verify their course requirements with the Office of the Registrar.