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Effective: Summer 2015

Grade Type: Letter Grade, the student may select Pass/No Pass
Not Repeatable.
FHGE: Non-GE Transferable: CSU
3 hours lecture, 3 hours laboratory. (72 hours total per quarter)

Student Learning Outcomes -
  • A successful student will compare and contrast songwriting styles.
  • A successful student will evaluate songs in a collaborative learning environment.
  • A successful student will illustrate an understanding of basic songwriting styles.
  • A successful student will create original song compositions that support the basic premises of modern song styling.
Description -
Workshop course for beginning songwriters that focuses on basic songwriting styles and techniques. Different songwriting basic methods are presented. Students are assigned weekly songwriting projects. Class is appropriate for basic levels of songwriting competency.

Course Objectives -
The student will be able to:
  1. compare modern basic songwriting styles
  2. write at least partial original songs with lyrics and/or melody
  3. evaluate songs in a collaborative writing atmosphere
Special Facilities and/or Equipment -
  1. When taught on campus:
    1. Classroom with digital recording system for student feedback.
    2. Projection system for video and multimedia content.
    3. Basic Sound reinforcement system for in-class performances.
    4. Drums and amplifiers.
    5. Grand piano.
  2. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
    1. On-going access to computer with Email software and capabilities.
    2. Email address.
    3. Java-script enabled internet browsing software.

Course Content (Body of knowledge) -
  1. Basics of Songwriting
    1. The Importance of Being Prolific
    2. How the Creative Process Starts
    3. The Importance of Experience
    4. Versatility
  2. Practical Matters
    1. Finding the Time
    2. A Place to Create
    3. Recording the Sketch of a Song
    4. Recycling Partial Songs
    5. The Skill of Observation
  3. Basic Songwriting Techniques
    1. Creating Titles
    2. Opening Lines and Songwriting "Hammers"
    3. First Verse Technique
    4. Second Verse Technique
    5. Creating a Song Outline
    6. Working Backwards in Songwriting
    7. Taking a Cinematic Approach
    8. Whether to write Lyrics or Melody First
    9. The Definition of 'Furniture' in Songwriting
    10. The Importance of Vocabulary
    11. Basic Rhyming Schemes
    12. Idea Collection
    13. The Use of Cliches
Methods of Evaluation -
  1. Weekly Songwriting Assignments
  2. Quizzes
  3. In class participation
  4. On-line participation in Forums
Representative Text(s) -
When taught via Foothill Global Access: supplemental lectures, and assignments are delivered via Email. Feedback is delivered via email. Class Discussion takes place in online Forums and Chat Rooms.

Disciplines -
Commercial Music
Method of Instruction -
  1. Lecture
  2. Discussion
  3. Oral presentations
  4. Laboratory
  5. Demonstration
  6. Quizzes
Lab Content -
Laboratory activities are provided for students to practice and apply their knowledge of songwriting demonstrating their understanding of the subject.
To accomplish this the student is required to compose at minimum partial song on a weekly basis outside of the classroom. These partial songs are then evaluated, commented on and given credit for by the instructor.
Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing and Outside of Class Assignments -
  1. Reading assignments include lessons created by the instructor and available via Etudes
  2. Writing assignments include but not limited to:
    1. Writing a song or partial song from a second and third person perspective
    2. Writing a song or partial song based on the observation of strangers
    3. Writing a song or partial song using 3 chords or less