Songwriting Sessions in Los Angeles
Discover the art of songwriting and production by exploring melody, rhythm, harmony, lyrics, and the latest technology. Learn to use your computer to write and produce new songs. Collaborate with other students and get real-world advice from 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.
2020 Program Information
|Program dates:||Monday, August 3–Friday, August 7, 2020|
|Registration fee:||$50 (nonrefundable)|
|Payment deadline:||July 1, 2020|
|Age range:||15 years and older|
- Please note: This program has limited capacity. Submission of registration materials alone does not guarantee participation in the program. You will secure your spot by paying in full. When the program capacity has been reached, registrants who have not paid in full will be placed on a waitlist.
Each day, students will participate in core classes of writing workshop, tools and techniques, and visiting artist presentations. As the daily final class, students can elect to attend a collaboration session, faculty office hours, or a group feedback session.
Students will also choose several electives to attend throughout the program. Though electives for 2020 are not yet available, the following list of electives offered in 2019 will give you a sense of what to expect:
- Top-Line Writing
- Rhyme and Beyond: Playing with Sound in your Lyrics
- Generating Inspiration: Finding Ideas for Your Songs
- Intro to Production
- Live Looping Lab
- Diving Deeper into Harmony
- Production Prosody: The Hidden Secret in Front of Your Ears
- Master Class with Erin Barra: Electronic Singer-Songwriter
- Master Class with Courtney Harrell: Performance Workshop
- Master Class with Adrianne Gonzalez: Songwriting for Film and TV
- Master Class with Amy Allen: Live Cowriting Session with Eric Leva
- Master Class with Priscilla Renea: My Journey
- Master Class with Robert Kraft
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 craft 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 application for this track is not yet available.
Below is a sample of a typical day in the program.
|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.||Writing Workshop|
|12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.||Lunch (provided)|
|1:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.||Visiting Artist Presentation|
|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.–6:00 p.m.||Open Mic|
|6:00 p.m.||End of Day|
The program culminates in a final showcase of student performances. This performance is not mandatory, and interested students must sign up to confirm their spot.
Students also have the opportunity to perform in open mics in the evenings.
All performances are free and open to friends and family.
All students 15 and older with some background in songwriting or production are welcome to attend.
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.
A key component of this program is sharing your 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 also 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.