Composition & Songwriting

Beginning Composition

Ages 10-17. Learn the basics of composing and expressing yourself through your own music. Students will be introduced to creating motifs and melodic forms (sentences and periods), combining melody with accompaniment, and expanding a melody into a small form piece (binary or ternary). This class is for students of all ages who are already comfortable with musical notation and an instrument (at least two years of lessons). No textbooks are required; all assignments and reading excerpts will be distributed in class.


There’s no ONE right way to write a song, so in this class students will explore many elements of songwriting. Lyrically they’ll hone their storytelling skills and create meaning by using imagery, metaphor and perspective. Musically, students will learn to use basic music theory to write memorable melody lines, unique rhythms and chord progressions. We’ll look at the inspiration process; where do ideas come from and how to do we cultivate creative flow? As well as the editing process; how do we craft a song into greatness? Students will experiment with solo and small-group writing exercises. They’ll be encouraged but not required to share songs with the class, where we will address vocal health, performance skills, and learning to give constructive and compassionate feedback. Instruments encouraged but not necessary!