SONGWRITING

Course Outline

 

Instructor:  Dr. Vicky V. Johnson

Email: vjohnson@tarleton.edu

Phone: Ext 9238

 

 

 

Syllabus       Blackboard       Finale       Staff Paper       Loops         ePortfolio     Writing

Lyrics     Melody     Harmony

Skip to current Week #

 

   1       2       3       4       5       6       7       8       9       10       11       12       13      14       15

 

 

 

 

Week 1

Jan 13 - 17

  • Syllabus

  • Semester plans

  • Use of technology

Note:  There are 29 class days.  Each will count for 3 points.  Tardies are one point.

Write these questions and the answers on a sheet of paper and give to me at the end of the class.

 

1.  Do you read lead sheets?

2.  What harmonic instrument do you play?

3.  How many chords can you play on that instrument?  If less than 10, list them.

4.  Do you sing?  In public?  For your friends?  With your friends?  In the shower?

 

Blooms Taxonomy

Critical thinking skills and journaling

 

Prosody - when everything works together

No decision is made that does not contribute to the whole

 

Example:  sad song, slow, minor

Words like 'rise' or 'high' with associated melodic line

 

There are no rules!!!

But, there are tools and there are strategies.

There are many forgettable songs.  Why are they forgettable?

Assignments due:

Thu

Blackboard setup

 

Thu

Assignment:  "Wish I had written that" song

Identify a song that exemplifies the kind of song you would like to write this semester.

Your preferred genre

Lyrics that you particularly admire

Memorable melody

Harmony that sounds great

Performance that you would like to emulate

 

In a word document, describe why you wish you had written that song, addressing each of the elements above (genre, lyrics, melody, harmony, performance).  You will turn this in to me.

 

Note:  

  1. When referring to a song, it should be placed in quotation marks, not just capitalized

  2. Watch your writing.  Your explanation should be formally written with correct grammar, punctuation, capitalization, and sentence structure.

 

We will all listen to your selected song.  A YouTube link is preferable.  If it does not exist on YouTube (really??) then bring it on a thumb drive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 2

Jan 21 - 24

 

Lyrics

 

Use the checklist below to evaluate your 3 Boxes Assignment:

 

  • The title moves well through the boxes and gains more meaning each time.
  • The most important idea (the why of the song) appears in the last box
  • Each box contributes a further development of the title clearly.
  • The development of the idea is interesting.
  • The student selected an effective point of view for the development of the title.
  • Who is talking is clearly identified.
  • To whom is clearly identified.
  • Why is clearly identified.
  • When and where set an interesting and effective context for the title.

Assignments due:

Tue

Discussion:

Read the following article

http://www.scene4.com/archivesqv6/oct-2011/1011/davidalpaugh1011.html

What Poets Can Learn from Songwriters

 

Thu

Reading:  p. 17-21

 

 

Week 3

Jan 27 - 31

 

Song sections (form):

  • verse - provides the basic story or basic feeling of the song

  • chorus - part that is repeated; gives the central idea; the gem

  • bridge - connects song sections; contrasting material; moves to a different level of information

Textbook p. 95 last paragraph

Assignments due:

Tue

3 Boxes

Pick one of the following titles (or use one of your own) and, using the boxes as a guide, describe how you would develop it (i.e. what would go in Box 1, what would go in Box 2, and what would go in Box 3.

 

Put your ideas into this 3-Box Template

 

The Good Old Days

Two Story House

Fool's Gold

Home Brew

The Other Side of Goodbye 

 

Thu

Write an unstable verse that moves into a stable chorus

 

Thu

Reading:  p. 31-49

 

 

 

 

 

Week 4

Feb 3 - 7

 

Loops - bring me a thumbdrive (at least 1 gb)

 

Take the Stress Test

Drum loops:

Assignments due:

Tue

Reading:  Chapter 2 p. 96-128

 

Tue

Write a stable verse that moves into an unstable chorus

See the Lyrics page and review stable and unstable

Be sure to use rhymes in this assignment

 

Thu

Stress test with loop

Choose the chorus that you prefer (or write another one)

Mark the stresses on the chorus

You will speak your chorus to a loop for the class

 

Week 5

Feb 10 - 14

 

 

 

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Reading:  Chapter 3 p. 129-134

 

Tue

Rhyming Worksheet

Fill out the Rhyming Worksheet for your complete song

You will turn this in with Song #1 below

 

Tue

Final draft of Song #1

Words only in poetry form in a Word doc

 

Thu

Anthology submission

Submit one poem (song lyrics) to the Anthology

 

http://www.tarleton.edu/anthology

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 6

Feb 17 - 21

 

Portfolio

Use Weebly:  http://www.weebly.com/#

 

Examples:

 

http://kjlport.weebly.com/

 

http://siteeportfolio.weebly.com/

 


 

 

Melody

Class choose 2 phrases to write a melody

 

 

Assignments due:

   

Thu

Reading:  Chapter 5:  p. 180-207

 

Thu

Melody #1

The class will choose 2 phrases

Write a melody in which the first phrase ends on an unstable note and the second ends on a stable note.

 

 

 

 

Week 7

Feb 24 - 28

 

Choose prompts for mid-term reflection

 

Melody is usually most important

Alternative:  harmonic progression similar to Time in a Bottle

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Melody #2

Write a chorus

This should be absolutely new (not one you have written or worked on before).

 

Requirements:

  • Use stable or unstable line lengths - your choice.

  • USE RHYME - your choice of rhyme scheme (see your textbook p. 138)

  • You will sing your chorus for us in class.  Accompaniment is optional, but helpful

  • Supply a Word doc with the words to your chorus for display on the doc cam

Look here for writing prompt ideas

Thu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 8

Mar 3 - 7

 

Mid-term reflection

 

How has the class helped you grow?

What effect has it had on your awareness?

How would you define a good song?

Describe the context that leads you to write a song.

 

Double spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman in a Word document, 3-5 pages

Submit in Blackboard by class on Tuesday.

 

Portfolios:

http://tyesharenee.weebly.com

http://rmwilson.weebly.com/

http://dallasholston.weebly.com/

http://brehaley.weebly.com/

http://sethcantu.weebly.com/

http://tberman.weebly.com/

http://hadencappsmusic.weebly.com/

http://thefifthseason1989.weebly.com/

http://coreywarthman.weebly.com/

http://songhive11.weebly.com/

http://ervinking.weebly.com/

http://tommy-tones.weebly.com/

 

 

 

 

 

Assignments due:

Tue

One verse to go with the chorus (Melody #2)

 

 

Thu

Portfolio

Send me the link to your Weebly ePortfolio

You do not have to have artifacts linked, but pages (with graphics/photos) and tabs set up

 

Suggestions for tabs:  Home; About Me; My Music; Gallery [for photos]; Videos

 

Be creative!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  HAPPY SPRING BREAK! 

Week 9

Mar 17 - 21

 

HEADS UP - FIRST COMPLETE SONG DUE IN ONE WEEK!!

Recording your songs

Feel free to use whatever recording medium you like.  If you are a newby, try Audacity.  It's free and easy to use.

 

Final exam schedule: 

Exam Time

8-10:30am

11:30am-2pm

3:00-5:30pm

6:30-9:00pm

Thursday May 1

   

All Freshman English, EDU 415 and 430

Friday May 2

All Freshman Chemistry

MWF 8

MWF 3:00 and other times not listed on exam schedule*

M-F 5pm or later

Monday May 5

MWF 9

MWF 10

MWF 11

M 5 pm or later; MW 6 pm

Tuesday May 6

TR 8

All MATH 107

TR 2:40

T 5:15 pm or later; TR 7:45 pm

Wednesday May 7

MWF 12

MWF 1

MWF 2

W 5pm or later; MW 7:30pm

Thursday May 8

TR 9:25

TR 1:15

TR 10:50

R 5:15 pm or later; TR 4:05; TR 6:15 pm

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Mid-term reflection

 

 

 

Thu

ePortfolio critiques

View your classmates' ePortfolios (links posted in Week 8).  Offer as many suggestions as you can to help improve the site.  Examples:  tabs to add, more graphics/photos, spelling/punctuation/sentence structure errors, etc.

Help them to make their site great!  The better your advice, the better your grade!

 

 

 

 

 

Interactive Desktop Blues

Another blues loop

Week 10

Mar 24 - 28

 

Uploading Your Recordings to Soundcloud

In order to submit your recordings, you will need to create a free account on the Soundcloud web site (http://www.soundcloud.com). You will upload your MP3 recordings to Soundcloud and then provide links to them in your assignments.

To upload a recording to Soundcloud, follow these steps:

  1. Log into Soundcloud.

  2. Click Upload in the top right corner of the site.

  3. Click Choose files.

  4. Select the file you want to upload from your computer.

  5. As the file is uploading, choose the Private option under Settings, so that the recording is not publicly available on the Soundcloud web site.

  6. Once the file has finished uploading, click Save at the bottom of the page.

  7. Click the Share button on the page that loads with your recording.

  8. In the popup box that appears, check Short next to Secret link.

  9. Copy the shortened Secret link.

  10. Paste the link in the discussion forum.

 

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Song #1 Complete

See requirements and instructions below

Be sure to bring printed material to class and to submit your song and Soundcloud link before class meets.

 

Requirements for Song #1

  1. Complete song including all verses, chorus, etc.

  2. Identify it as Song #1 under the song title

  3. A complete rhyming worksheet (template)

  4. Non-music majors supply a lyric sheet typed in a Word document

  5. Music majors supply a lead sheet

  6. Label each section of the song as Verse, Chorus, Break, Pre-chorus, etc.

Turn in to me (hard copy)

  1. Rhyming worksheet

  2. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

Post in the Discussion forum in Blackboard

  1. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

  2. Link to Soundcloud

Week 11

Mar 31 - Apr 4

 

 

 

Interactive Desktop Blues

Another blues loop

Assignments due:

Tue

Song #2 Complete

Post lyrics and audio file in Discussion forum in Blackboard

Tue

Discussion responses for Song#1

Post feedback in Discussion forum in Blackboard

See Discussion Rubric for grading criteria

 

Requirements for Song #2

  1. Complete song including all verses, chorus, etc.

  2. Identify it as Song #1 under the song title

  3. A complete rhyming worksheet (template)

  4. Non-music majors supply a lyric sheet typed in a Word document

  5. Music majors supply a lead sheet

  6. Label each section of the song as Verse, Chorus, Break, Pre-chorus, etc.

Turn in to me (hard copy)

  1. Rhyming worksheet

  2. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

Post in the Discussion forum in Blackboard

  1. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

  2. Link to Soundcloud

 

Week 12

Apr 7 - 11

 

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Song #3 Complete

Post lyrics and audio file in Discussion forum in Blackboard

Tue

Discussion responses for Song#2

Post feedback in Discussion forum in Blackboard

See Discussion Rubric for grading criteria

 

Requirements for Song #3

  1. Complete song including all verses, chorus, etc.

  2. Identify it as Song #1 under the song title

  3. A complete rhyming worksheet (template)

  4. Non-music majors supply a lyric sheet typed in a Word document

  5. Music majors supply a lead sheet

  6. Label each section of the song as Verse, Chorus, Break, Pre-chorus, etc.

Turn in to me (hard copy)

  1. Rhyming worksheet

  2. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

Post in the Discussion forum in Blackboard

  1. Lyric sheet (non-music majors) or lead sheet (music majors)

  2. Link to Soundcloud

 

Week 13

Apr 14 - 18

 

Rehearsals

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Discussion responses for Song#3

Post feedback in Discussion forum in Blackboard

See Discussion Rubric for grading criteria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Week 14

Apr 21 - 25

 

Rehearsals

 

Final Reflection

Include in your Final Reflection the following:

  • Students will analyze how this applied learning experience enabled them to apply what they learned from their courses, both in major and core curriculum areas, and from their extracurricular experiences to the real world.

  • Students will evaluate how the applied learning experience expanded their views of academic, political, social, cultural, and/or economic environments and prepared them to contribute more meaningfully to a global society.

Also include your own personal thoughts, opinions regarding anything else you found to be significant about the experience.

 

Requirements:  Double spaced, 12-pt Times New Roman in a Word document, 3-5 pages

 

Refer to the Reflection Rubric for grading criteria

 

 

Assignments due:

Tue

Final Reflection due

Final reflection rubric

 

Thu

Complete ePortfolio due

 

Final ePortfolio must include:

  1. Final Reflection

  2. Three songs (the three complete ones uploaded to Blackboard) including lyrics (non-music majors), lead sheets (music majors) and links to Soundcloud audio files

  3. "About me" page (separate from home page) that includes contact information

  4. A video of a performance of one of your original songs

Extra credit for including additional video(s) and songs.

 

Week 15

Apr 28 - May 2

Last day of classes is Wed., Apr 30

Assignments due:

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Best of luck in all your Songwriting projects, and don't forget me at the Grammys!!!!

 

Song Rubric

Criteria

Performance Indicators

Failing

(No)

Unacceptable

(Really?)

Poor

(Huh?)

Fair

(Ok . . .)

Good

(Ahh!)

Excellent

(Wow!!!)

Lyrics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 points

24 points

28 points

32 points

36 points

40 points

Melody

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 points

24 points

28 points

32 points

36 points

40 points

Harmony

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0 points

12 points

14 points

16 points

18 points

20 points

Total points

 

Performance indicators will be completed by students as an individual assignment and then revised as a group activity.

Reflection Rubric

 

 

Discussion Rubric

 

Criteria

Performance Indicators

Failing

Poor

Fair

Good

Excellent

Original Post

No song submission

Incomplete song submission or submitted more than one week late

Song submitted one week late, complete, all requirements met

Song submitted one day late, complete, all requirements met

Song submitted on time, complete, all requirements met

 

0 points

30 points

35 points

40 points

50 points

Responses

No responses including “good job” responses with no helpful feedback

One response missing or one response is an “good job” response with no helpful feedback

One or more responses is less than 3 sentences long or 3 responses that add little feedback

3 complete responses that include helpful feedback

More than 3 complete responses that include helpful feedback

 

0 points

35 points

40 points

45 points

50 points

Total points

 

 

 

 

 

Writing

 

bullet

Poetry assignment

One set of song lyrics (poetry form) will be submitted to the TSU Anthology

bullet

MidTerm reflection (free form)

 

bullet

Final reflection

From the syllabus: 

bullet

Articulate how they have applied learning from music, political science, history, sociology, psychology, and writing in writing songs

bullet

Evaluate how this applied learning experience has expanded their views of academic, political, social, cultural, and/or economic environments and prepared them to contribute more meaningfully to a global society.

 

Compositions

Compositions in progress may be in any written form:

 

bullet

Finale files

bullet

Lyrics with lead sheet symbols

bullet

Hand-written

 

The final product, however, must be converted to PDF for inclusion in the ePortfolio.

Students will employ a constructivist approach in setting criteria by which their compositions will be judged.

 

Performances

bulletEach song-writer will put together and rehearse the performer/performers for his/her song.  The song-writer must participate in at least one performance of his/her compositions.
bulletPerformances will be critiqued by the class and again, students will use a constructivist approach in setting criteria for evaluation.
bulletVideos are required for each composition performed to be included in the ePortfolio.  Videos do not have to be of the performance itself, but may be made 'in studio.'

ePortfolio

ePortfolio Guide

 

 

 

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Created and maintained by Vicky V. Johnson