Songwriting 1

Course Number: PROD-100DL Credit Hours: 4

Course Description

This course is designed to improve (or uncover) each student’s songwriting ability through a study of the craft of songwriting, and to inform their careers by focusing on the various business aspects of songwriting. Students broaden their historical perspective of songwriting through a study of definitive songwriters of popular music, Melody, structure, lyrics, collaboration, and the development of a “hook” are all looked at in great detail.

Jae Deal

Music Production Faculty

DEAL is an accomplished Los Angeles-based composer, arranger, producer and orchestrator in various genres including pop, hip hop, R&B and gospel.  He has worked behind the scenes as well as on stage with artists including Janet Jackson, Lady Gaga, Snoop Dogg, Diddy, Faith Evans, TPain, Jessica Simpson and Wynton Marsalis. In addition, Deal has contributed to the works of Elton John and songwriter Diane Warren. His diverse talents and ability to create fresh sounds for any modern track have kept him busy on the road and in the studio.

Week 1

Songwriting History

  • Folk Music
  • Jazz & Blues
  • Country
  • Pop/Dance

The Creative Process

  • Drawing Inspiration
  • Working Beyond Writer’s Block
  • Discipline
  • Song Development Techniques

Week 2

Songwriting Communication & Language Mechanics

  • Storyline Development
  • Narrative
  • Symbolism
  • Song Purpose/Types of Songs

Song Form: Parts & Construction

  • Song Form
  • Verses/Choruses
  • Bridges/Pre-Chorus/Intros/Outros
  • Variations on Conventional Forms

 Week 3

Skill Sets Expository

  • Syntatic & Semantic
  • Vocabulary
  • Musical Tools
  • Conceptual Appeal/Human Nature

Composition Arrangement

  • Voicing Choices (Vocal)
  • Voicing (Instrumental)
  • Rhythm Arrangement in Composition

Week 4

Song Form: Creative Structure

  • Rhyme Scheme
  • Meter Structure
  • Symmetry & Parallelism

Music Composition Mechanics

  • Verses/Pre-Choruses/Choruses
  • Bridges/Intros/Outros
  • Chord Progressions
  • Melodic & Rhythmic Variation Techniques

 Week 5

Song Analysis

  • Mood Effectiveness
  • Lyrical Effectiveness
  • Musical Effectiveness
  • Message Effectiveness

Preparation for Final Performance

  • More Techniques for Critiquing Your Song
  • Summary of Songwriting I
  • Extra Credit


Hardware & Equipment Requirements:

  • Blue Yeti microphone
  • Webcam
  • Desktop or laptop PC or Mac with speakers, running the most up-to-date versions of Google Chrome or Firefox (see “Software Requirements” for more info)
  • Video/audio recording software, such as iMovie or Windows Live Movie Maker

Depending on what path you choose to study during your private lessons (engineering, songwriting, guitar, bass, or drums), you may also need:

  • Electric or acoustic guitar, amp, etc.
  • Drums (acoustic or electric), sticks, etc.

Software Requirements:

Operating Systems

  •         Windows 7 and newer (users on Windows 10 need to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to submit Canvas assignments)
  •         Mac OSX 10.6 and newer
  •         Linux – chromeOS

Mobile Operating System Native App Support

  •         iOS 7 and newer
  •         Android 4.2 and newer

Supported Browsers

Canvas, our online learning platform, supports the last two versions of every browser release. We highly recommend updating to the newest version of whatever browser you are using as well as the most up-to-date Flash plug-in. As of March 12, 2016, we support the most recent versions of Flash and popular web browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 11 and Edge (Windows only—please make sure your operating system is also current as noted in the computer specifications lesson; you may need to download the Windows 10 Anniversary Update to submit Canvas assignments)
  • Chrome 54 and 55
  • Safari 9 and 10 (Macintosh ONLY)
  • Firefox 49 and 50 (Extended Releases are not supported)
  • Flash 22 and 23 (for recording or viewing audio/video and uploading files)
  • Respondus Lockdown Browser (supporting the latest system requirements).

Some supported browsers may still produce a banner stating your browser does not meet the minimum requirements for Canvas. If you have upgraded your browser but you are still seeing the warning banner, try logging out of Canvas and deleting your browser cookies. Learn how to clear your cache on a Mac or a PC.

Required Components

  • Flash is required in several places in Canvas: media recording/streaming and viewing as well as uploading files to a course or an assignment. Other than these features, Flash is not required to use most areas of Canvas. Please note that some browsers, such as Firefox, may no longer support Flash.
  • The Java plug-in is required for screen sharing in Conferences. Please note that some browsers do not support Java. Otherwise, there are no other browser plug-ins used by Canvas.

Screen Size

  • LACM Online is best viewed at a minimum of 800×600, which is the average size of a notebook computer. If you want to view your courses on a device with a smaller screen, we recommend using the Canvas mobile app.

Computer Speed and Processor

  • Use a computer 5 years old or newer when possible
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 2GHz processor

Internet Speed

  • Along with compatibility and web standards, Canvas has been carefully crafted to accommodate low bandwidth environments.
  • Minimum of 512 kbps

Screen Readers

  • Macintosh: VoiceOver (latest version for Safari)
  • PC: JAWS (latest version for Internet Explorer)
  • PC: NVDA (latest version for Firefox)
  • There is no screen reader support for Canvas in Chrome