Courses

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

SW-363

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
Location: Boston Campus

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-365

1 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-212 and SW-222
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

This course allows songwriters to record and produce their demos, to interact with live musicians and a recording engineer under the guidance of the instructor, and to find the best working methods to get their songs recorded professionally. Class members will either sing their original songs themselves (required of singer/songwriters) or provide a suitable vocalist. During the semester, each songwriter will record/have recorded two of his/her songs, and will be present to observe and learn from recordings of other class members. In addition to registering for this course, the student must also attend meetings of ENPP-303 Rhythm Track for Songwriters.

SW-371

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: SONG majors who do not take SW-311
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-212 and SW-222
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-373

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
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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-375

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
Location: Boston Campus

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-381

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-181 or MTEC-213, and SW-281
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-383

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: None
Electable by: PROM and SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-261, SW-281, or SW-291
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-398

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: SONG majors
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-212 and SW-222; and SW-161, SW-181, or SW-191
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-411

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

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 songwriting@berklee.edu

 

 

SW-421

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
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-445

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Spring Only
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-345
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

SW-461

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: SW-345
Department Code: SONG
Location: Boston Campus

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.

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