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.
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.
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.
This course is a workshop experience for performing songwriters who are interested in engaging with digital technologies live on stage. Students are provided with the tools to use, create, manipulate, and perform live using their laptops and interface in solo or collaborative settings using Ableton Live. This gives performers the power to curate and create their own live show which accurately reflects their sound and frees them of the dependency of other musicians to accompany them on stage, while allowing the flexibility to integrate other members freely. Each student will put on five performances over the course of the semester, each in a different format, including: solo/hybrid; built live; duo collaboration; with a band, routing click, and audio; and a final performance.
In this course, students smudge the boundaries between writer and producer, creating a non-linear and fully integrated approach to writing and producing. In the past, the role of writer and producer have been played by different people. But, as access to information and technology becomes ubiquitous, a whole new breed of technical creatives are playing both roles, creating work that is fully integrated. Examples of this are James Blake, Bon Iver, Max Martin, Ryan Tedder, Paul Epworth, Disclosure, Bjork, Missy Elliot, Danger Mouse, Linda Perry, Bruno Mars, Greg Wells, Frank Ocean, and many others. Building on the 100 and 200 level technology courses in the Songwriting Department’s core curriculum, this course provides the self-producing songwriter the tools to compete in the current marketplace, equip them with advanced strategies and techniques to produce professional level content, enhance and expand their songwriting skills/workflow, increase their employability, and provide them the independence to work however they want/need too. The course is DAW-neutral and students can choose their creative tools. Over 16 weeks students compose and produce four new songs which require them to self-assess, collaborate, write, and produce lush vocal arrangements, work with another artist to create a custom work for them from composition to final master, and work for hire which requires writing with specific and targeted instruction. By the end of the course, students will have experienced and walked through several real world situations they will likely encounter in the professional field, and participated in both the compositional and production aspects of each project.
Individualized instruction designed to guide students majoring in songwriting in the preparation of their intermediate-level writing projects, including songs demonstrating certain required proficiencies, notation, and the ability to make a representative recording of their songs.
In this course, artists, writers, and producers team up each week in constantly changing groups of two to four students. Groups write and produce either a single for their artist or a pitch for a "Who's Looking" list of currently charting Hot 100 acts. Teams will write using several real-world methods: track-first (toplining), song-first, and song and track simultaneously. Tracks may be provided from in-class producers, or through cooperation with the Music Production and Engineering and/or Electronic Production and Design departments. Students analyze current Hot 100 singles to understand attributes of melody, harmony, lyrics, and production common to hit songs. Students discuss the relationship of technology and production to hit making, as well as the business of pitching songs. This course includes presentations with industry publishers, A&Rs, producers, and songwriters. Instructor approval is required for this class; application information is available through firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
This course offers students interested in the practical application of modern collaborative songwriting the opportunity to work collaboratively with student producers and songwriter–producers on multiple projects. Students will work collaboratively with producers on all aspects of modern popular music creation including hook writing, toplining, vocal performance and production, arranging, recording, editing, sequencing, sound designing, and mixing to create finished tracks or original songs. Special emphasis will be placed on the interrelationship of vocals and electronic music and finding creative solutions to songwriting and production challenges. Work for the course will include two projects that encourage the songwriter to work with producers to explore new sub-genres of electronic popular music and a third final project that will be a culmination of the songwriter/producer team experience. Lectures and discussions will cover analysis techniques, workflow, the dynamics of collaborative working relationships, and in-depth critiques of works in progress. The class will meet concurrently with EP-482, Electronic Music Producer–Songwriter Practicum. Combined class meetings will be held throughout the semester. Admission to the course is by application.
The course allows students to study the screenplays and songwriting of a variety of film musicals from the beginning of the genre to the present. In addition to focusing on the writing of the musical film, the manner in which song assists in telling the story will be of particular interest. Working in groups, screenwriting students from Emerson will complete an outline and first act of an original screenplay, and composer/lyricist students from Berklee will write the songs that will help tell that story. The semester will culminate in a staged reading—with music—performed by acting/musical theater students from both Berklee and Emerson.
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 Career Center and the Songwriting Department chair or a designee. To apply for an internship, students must visit the Career Center 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 International Student Services prior to beginning an internship.