Songwriting

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: 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-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: SONG

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: SONG

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: SONG

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: SONG

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: 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.

SW-445

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

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: SONG

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.

SW-495

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: Sixth-semester standing and written approval of course chair
Department: SONG

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 Office of Experiential Learning and the Songwriting Department chair or a designee. To apply for an internship, students must see the internship coordinator in the Office of Experiential Learning 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 the Counseling and Advising Center prior to beginning an internship.

SW-497

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring
Required of: SONG majors
Electable by: SONG majors
Prerequisites: SW-311, SW-321, or SW-371; and SW-261, SW-281, or SW-291; and SW-398
Department: SONG

Small group seminar designed to guide students majoring in songwriting in the preparation of their final projects.

SW-499

2 credit(s)
Course Chair: Bonnie Hayes
Semesters Offered: All
Required of: None
Electable by: All
Prerequisites: Written approval of course instructor
Department: SONG

This course offers individualized instruction in Musical Theater Writing. Designed to provide students in the Musical Theater Writing minor the opportunity for highly focused, in-depth study of writing music, lyrics, book, or any combination of the three. In collaboration with their instructor, students will determine the specific work and outcome of the course. The primary outcome is the preparation of the Final Portfolio required for the Minor.

SW-565

3 credit(s)
Course Chair: Robert C. Lagueux
Semesters Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer
Required of: None; elective course in all graduate programs
Electable by: All graduate students
Prerequisites: Written approval of program director
Department: GRST

This course explores lyric writing and is designed both for experienced songwriters and those who are new at it. The course is tool-based, designed to dig into the craft of lyric writing, to explore practical strategies and techniques, and to reveal options and opportunities. Students explore strategies for finding and developing song ideas; they choose and organize song ideas more effectively; they explore and apply the concept of prosody; and they learn to create stable and unstable structures to support stable or unstable ideas. Students also explore the compositional elements that support lyric writing, including, among others number of lines and line lengths, rhyming, rhythm, titling, and phrasing. Students also learn how to critique their own work and the work of others, as well as how to revise lyrics to make them more effective.

Pages