Songwriting Sessions in Los Angeles
Immerse yourself in the art of songwriting and producing. Discover effective songwriting techniques by exploring melody, rhythm, harmony, lyrics, and the latest technology. Learn to use your computer to write and produce new songs. Collaborate with new people and get real-world advice from visiting artists, faculty, and alumni mentors. Under the direction of Bonnie Hayes, chair of Berklee’s Songwriting Department, you will receive expert support and feedback on your original material. Discover the tools you need to place your songs in TV and film and find new strategies to start earning royalties. Study under veteran songwriters, industry professionals, and up-and-coming young writers and producers in Los Angeles. Students will study in the heart of the Los Angeles arts corridor on the campus of the Colburn School.
Take your production skills even further with the optional Songwriter-Producer Track. See details below.
2019 Program Information
|Program length:||Five days|
|Program dates:||Monday, July 29–Friday, August 2, 2019|
|Registration fee:||$50 (nonrefundable)|
|Registration Check-In:||July 29, 2019, between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m.|
|Age range:||15 years and older|
Note: housing accommodations are not available for this program.
A Completed Song
A key component of this program is sharing our work as part of the master class experience, interacting with fellow program participants, and getting feedback from the instructors. Students are therefore encouraged to bring charts or lead sheets, and/or recordings of their songs (via iPod, computer, or another accessible format). If a song’s lyrics are not in English, an English translation will be needed.
If you choose to bring a lead sheet, be sure to include the following key elements:
- A lead sheet can be written on staff paper by hand or notated in a music program such as Finale.
- The melody is written out on the staff. If students are unable to prepare the melody, notating the chords to the song is helpful.
- Chords go above the staff. Place them on the beat where they occur. Lyrics, if applicable, go under the staff.
- Each section of a song (verse, chorus, bridge) needs only be notated once. Additional lyrics can be written on an attached sheet. If students are unsure of the format of their song, some assistance will be available at the program.
Students should bring any portable instrument they use to compose music. Pianos will be provided, as well as small midi keyboards. If you compose music on a laptop, please bring your computer and any equipment that’s important for you to be creative.
Please keep in mind that it is your responsibility to keep your items safe. Berklee is not responsible for the loss of these items.
Please note: this schedule is not final and is subject to change.
|9:00 a.m.||Program Check-In|
|10:45 a.m.–11:30 a.m.||Opening Assembly and Orientation|
|11:30 a.m.–1:00 p.m.||Visiting Artist|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.||Lunch (provided)|
|2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.||Tools and Techniques|
|3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.||Technique and Writing Workshop|
|5:00 p.m.||End of Day|
|9:00 a.m.–10:00 a.m.||Practice Time|
|10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.||Tools and Techniques|
|11:00 a.m.–12:00 p.m.||Technique and Writing Workshop|
|12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.||Lunch (provided)|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.||Visiting Artist|
|2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.||Elective|
|3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.||Writer Camp, Producer Lab, One-on-One, or Feedback Session|
|5:00 p.m.–7:00 p.m.||Open Mic|
|7:00 p.m.||End of Day|
|9:00 a.m.–10:30 a.m.||Practice Time|
|10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.||Visiting Artist|
|12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.||Lunch (provided)|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.||Listening Session|
|2:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.||Final Concert|
|3:30 p.m.||End of Day|
Elective options for 2019 are still being finalized. In previous years, electives for this program have included the following:
- Vocal Performance Workshop
- Collaboration Writing Workshop
- How to Play an Open Mic
- Pro Tools Production Techniques
- Ableton Live Production Techniques
- Vocal Production
- Electronic Performance
- Writing Top-Line for Vocalists
- Career Paths for Songwriters
- Mailbox Money and How to Make It
- Sync Licensing for Film and TV
An optional track is available for students who identify as both songwriters and producers. These students will meet daily to improve upon their creative production techniques and crafting songs "in the box."
These songwriter-producers must be proficient in using a digital audio workstation (DAW) such as Logic, Pro Tools, or Ableton, and be able to bring a computer to the program. The focus of the instruction will be creating tracks for songs using Ableton Live and the Push 2 controller. Students will receive a free demo license for the Ableton Live Suite and a free license for Ableton Live Intro. To install the software, your computer must meet the Ableton Live system requirements.
Students may apply to this track by submitting a link to a song they've created and providing at least one screenshot of their session. Only students who are registered for the program and have paid in full will be reviewed for consideration. The deadline to apply is Monday, July 15, 2019.
To apply for this track, please submit this form.
Participants will study on the campus of the Colburn School. This program is conviently located in the Los Angeles downtown arts corridor at 200 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90012. Students are encouraged to commute to campus or stay in a local hotel with family.
Students must remain on the Colburn School campus during this program.
Members of Berklee's talented and experienced Songwriting Department will teach the classes and workshops in this program. Each day will feature clinics with Berklee Songwriting faculty or guest clinicians.
The Songwriting Sessions summer faculty includes:
Faculty subject to change