How many times have you started a song… only to leave it unfinished?
This (in-person) course is designed for anyone who’s ever wanted to write a song. The information included in this series contains practical, actionable concepts and exercises designed to get your creativity in gear while keeping you on a clear path to finish what you start. We’ve broken the course into 5 topics: Chord Progressions, Melodies, Lyrics, Form & Style. The final session includes an opportunity to record your finished song in our studio!
Each class features a new topic to help develop your craft and get your creative juices flowing. In addition to in-person lectures, you’ll have access to an online component featuring videos, written examples and comprehension checks (quizzes). Additionally, you’ll be challenged at the end of each topic to take the ideas presented and turn them into action by creating your own chord progressions, melodies and more.
Wednesdays at 6:45pm (90 minutes)
5 weeks (3/6 – 4/3)
*Students must enroll in entire series. No credits or refunds will be given for missed classes.
I. Chord Progressions
- How Chords are Built
- How Chords Work (Harmonic Tendencies)
- Common Chord Progressions
- Write Your Own Chord Progression
- Notes Inside the Major Scale
- Notes Outside the Major Scale
- Strategies for Crafting Melodies
- Write your own Melody
- Ask Yourself These 3 Questions
- Lyric Rhythms
- Write Your own Lyrics
IV. Style and Form
- Elements of a Song Form
- Popular Song Forms
- Finding your own Style
- Let the song guide your style
- Choose a style and form for your song
V. Final Recording and Next Steps
- Catch and Throw (sample lead sheet and recording by Jamey Cummins)
- Resources for Songwriters
- Final Thoughts – Finish What You Start and on to the Next Song
Meet your Instructor
I studied music at Blackhawk college, jazz studies at the University of Iowa, and attended several music-education events around the country such as: guitar sessions at Berklee College of Music and Django in June in Northampton MA. As a jazz guitarist, I’ve been invited to perform all over the country at festivals such as Redwood Coast in Eureka CA, Denver Vintage Jazz Festival, Bix Beiderbecke memorial jazz festival in Davenport IA, and the Detroit Jazz Festival among several others.
With teaching, I try to meet the student at their level, assess their goals, and help put them on a path towards achieving those goals. I hope that my students leave lessons feeling inspired to play, practice, and keep expanding their knowledge. When it comes to the guitar I try to stress the importance of understanding the fundamentals that go beyond the instrument so that when they go to apply a musical technique they don’t get stuck in muscle memory.
From Davenport Iowa, I’m inspired by all sorts of things from comedy, film, basketball, and of course the music of all genres. I love when the unexpected happens in the creative process and something becomes much more than you anticipated!”