It's All in the Song I - Songwriter and Performer
What's the program like?
The Berklee in Los Angeles It's All in the Song I - Songwriter and Performer program gives you an unparalleled opportunity to explore songwriting, vocal technique, style, and performance.
What makes you stand out from the crowd when you audition for that competition, scholarship, part, or gig? We'll help you find your unique strengths.
And landing the gig is only half of it. Once you're in, living up to expectations means putting on a great performance each and every time.
Are you comfortable when you get up on stage? Do you know what it takes?
The Berklee in Los Angeles It's All in the Song I - Songwriter and Performer program will give you insight into song selection, musicianship, your look, and how to present yourself, all of which will help set you apart.
Classes will include singer-songwriter workshop, melody writing, lyric writing, harmony, arranging your music, creating your own demo and recordings, stage performance workshop, and vocal techniques. The program will be held in Santa Monica, California near the heart of the leading entertainment capital of the world.
Location: Santa Monica High School, 601 Pico Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90405
Who are the instructors?
Michael Farquharson spent his career as a freelance bassist, writer, producer, and engineer in Toronto, Canada until moving to Boston in 1996 to take a position as professor of contemporary writing and production at Berklee College of Music. During his time in Toronto, he wrote, engineered, produced or performed on over 170 albums, 600 jingles and countless other TV, film, radio and multimedia recordings. He also owned and operated his own 24-track studio for over ten years. Farquharson has toured, recorded with, and performed with the likes of Michael Brecker, Brian Auger and Eric Burden, BS&T, Tom Jones, Dionne Warwick, Marc Jordan, the Toronto Symphony, and Canada Pops Orchestra. He has recorded four solo albums, one of which, the self titled album Michael Farquharson, was nominated for a Juno award in 1993 as Best Contemporary Jazz Album of the Year. He is currently working on a new album in collaboration with Matthew Nicholl, a friend and colleague from Berklee. He has received two prestigious Canada Council arts awards for composition, one Ontario Arts Council Award, and was nominated on several occasions for the Toronto Music Awards. He is also the author of the Berklee Press book, Writer, Producer, Engineer and has been a regular contributor to the periodicals Canadian Musician and Bassics.
Originally from central Massachusetts, Morris began playing piano and singing professionally at the age of fourteen, and within ten years, she was teaching at Boston’s prestigious Berklee College of Music, fronting a very successful New England society band, and singing on jingles and demos in many of Boston’s recording studios. Morris relocated to Nashville in the mid-1980s, and she quickly began to establish a reputation as a dynamite entertainer. She began performing at well-known local venues such as the Bluebird Café, the Fifth Quarter, the Opryland Hotel, the Stockyard Restaurant’s Bullpen Lounge, and the Wildhorse Saloon. Soon she began opening shows for recording artist Lee Greenwood, then she toured for a time as keyboard player and background vocalist with MCA recording artist Brenda Lee, and Arista artist Radney Foster. While living in Nashville, Morris had a number of original songs published by Warner Chappel Music, she sang on countless jingles and song demos, and lead, as well as fronted, another very successful society band. She moved back to New England in the summer of 1999. Morris is wonderful at making people feel welcome as she keeps them entertained. With a huge repertoire of crowd favorites, she regularly fills rooms with people who are ready to have a good time. “I love it when people sing along and get rowdy,” says Morris, “and I won’t stop until they do!"
Makeba Riddick attended Baltimore School for the Arts before graduating from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor's degree in music management. Her early break came from songwriting and singing background vocals for 3LW, Jennifer Lopez, and B2K. Riddick is perhaps best known for her work with multi-platinum selling pop artist Rihanna, for whom she has vocally produced and collaborated on three albums, including A Girl like Me, Music of the Sun, and Good Girl Gone Bad. She co-wrote and vocally produced the star's reggae influenced song “Rude Boy” from Rihanna's fourth studio album, Rated R. She also produced vocals for all the remaining tracks on the album, and co-wrote the intro track "Mad House". Riddick produced Rhianna’s vocals for Eminem’s single “Love the Way You Lie.” She has also collaborated with French DJ and producer David Guetta on the song "If We Ever" from Guetta's Grammy-nominated album One Love. She is also working with Guetta to produce tracks for alternative-R&B singer Kelis’s upcoming album Flesh Tone. Riddick's other writing and production credits include Danity Kane’s eponymous album; Beyonce’s U.S. radio hit “Get Me Bodied” from her second album B’Day; Braxton’s 2005 album Libra and Jennifer Lopez’s 2005 album Rebirth. Riddick is set to release her debut solo single titled "Change Up," which will be produced by Darkchild and will serve as the lead single from the producer's collaborative project, The Writersproject Volume 1. She is managed by Jay-Z’s record label and production house, Roc Nation.
Livingston Taylor picked up his first guitar at the age of thirteen, beginning a forty-year career that has encompassed performance, songwriting, and teaching. Born in Boston and raised in North Carolina, Livingston is the fourth child in a very musical family that includes Alex, James, Kate and Hugh. Livingston recorded his first record at 18 and has continued to create well crafted, introspective, and original songs that have earned him listeners worldwide. From top-forty hits “I Will Be in Love with You” and “I’ll Come Running,” to “I Can Dream of You” and “Boatman” (both recorded by his brother James), Livingston’s creative output has continued unabated. His musical knowledge has inspired a varied repertoire, and he is equally at home with a range of musical genres—folk, pop, gospel, jazz—and from upbeat storytelling to touching ballads.
Livingston has never stopped performing since those early coffeehouse days, touring with major artists such as Linda Ronstadt, Jimmy Buffett, and Jethro Tull, and he maintains a busy concert schedule of over eighty shows a year. He is a natural performer, peppering his shows with personal stories, anecdotes and ineffable warmth that connect him to his fans. His relaxed on-stage presence belies the depth of his musical knowledge, and fans might just as often be treated to a classic Gershwin or something from the best of Broadway. As a full professor at Berklee College of Music since 1989, Livingston shares his experiences and knowledge of professional touring with young artists, just beginning to hone their skills. His course Stage Performance is one of the most popular at the college, and it gives him the ideal forum in which to impart the lessons learned through his own career to a new generation of musicians. His book, Stage Performance, is drawn from those classes will be available this fall.
What's the schedule?
Clinics generally will run from 10:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m., and there will be evening activities which may include concerts and open mic sessions.
- Singer-Songwriter Workshop:
Participants will perform their original songs in class and will receive feedback and critiques about the songs and their performances with advice on how to improve their overall presentation. Songwriters can accompany themselves on guitar or piano, or have someone accompany them; use of prerecorded music is encouraged.
- Songwriting Composition Techniques:
Topics include melody writing, chord progressions, chord sounds, and modulations. Arranging techniques will include inversions, reharmonization, use of pedal points and ostinato, and groove writing.
- Lyric Writing:
Topics include setting words to music and music to words, alliteration, rhymes and near rhymes, and writing from title. Participants will have opportunities to collaborate with fellow students.
- Creating your Own Demo and Recordings:
How to produce quality demos and ways to market them.
- Stage Performance Workshop:
Participants will work on song selection, stage presence and presentation, musicianship, and personal style. Students will also learn various techniques that will enhance auditioning and performance skills, and have an opportunity to perform in front of fellow students and the faculty, and receive feedback.
Each evening, faculty, guest artists, and students will perform their songs in various settings (concerts/open mic nights). Friends, parents, and family are welcome to attend the evening showcases.
Where will I eat and sleep?
Students are responsible for researching and booking their own lodging. There are also a number of other lodging options within walking distance to the event location. Students are encouraged to research these options online. Lunch will be included as part of the program. Students are responsible for their own breakfast and dinner.