MUSPOP 1001 - Song Writing A

North Terrace Campus - Semester 1 - 2019

This course is a practical introduction to song writing, incorporating the creative, technical and professional skills used by song writers, composers and music producers in the contemporary music industry. It covers ways to begin and develop a sustained reflective compositional practice, through the creation and presentation of new original music. Seminars introduce composition and song writing techniques, approaches to creativity, musical materials comprising rhythm, pitch, melody, chord progressions and song structures, and approaches to lyric writing. Contemporary music styles, and idioms are contextualized in relation to established artists and song-writing forms. Workshops introduce technologies to assist in the realisation of student?s creative work, and centre on the creation of small-scale works and practical application of the seminar content.

  • General Course Information
    Course Details
    Course Code MUSPOP 1001
    Course Song Writing A
    Coordinating Unit Elder Conservatorium of Music
    Term Semester 1
    Level Undergraduate
    Location/s North Terrace Campus
    Units 3
    Contact Up to 3 hours per week
    Available for Study Abroad and Exchange Y
    Incompatible MUSPMACT 1201
    Assumed Knowledge Basic music literacy, including basic competency on an instrument and/or music technology to enable the completion of creative work
    Restrictions Available to BMus, BCtveArts, DipMus students only
    Course Description This course is a practical introduction to song writing, incorporating the creative, technical and professional skills used by song writers, composers and music producers in the contemporary music industry. It covers ways to begin and develop a sustained reflective compositional practice, through the creation and presentation of new original music. Seminars introduce composition and song writing techniques, approaches to creativity, musical materials comprising rhythm, pitch, melody, chord progressions and song structures, and approaches to lyric writing. Contemporary music styles, and idioms are contextualized in relation to established artists and song-writing forms. Workshops introduce technologies to assist in the realisation of student?s creative work, and centre on the creation of small-scale works and practical application of the seminar content.
    Course Staff

    Course Coordinator: Dr Luke Harrald

    Course Timetable

    The full timetable of all activities for this course can be accessed from Course Planner.

  • Learning Outcomes
    Course Learning Outcomes
    Through completion of this course, students will develop:

    1      an understand basic composition and music production principles used by professional songwriters;
    2      their own compositional “voice” at a basic level;
    3      a cogent and quality portfolio of songs in a recorded and notated format;
    4      skills in interpreting and performing the compositions of others;
    5      an understanding of the roles, responsibilities, and activities involved in live Contemporary Music performance; &
    6      the ability to critically evaluate their performances and communicate instructions and technical requirements to others.
    University Graduate Attributes

    This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attribute(s) specified below:

    University Graduate Attribute Course Learning Outcome(s)
    Deep discipline knowledge
    • informed and infused by cutting edge research, scaffolded throughout their program of studies
    • acquired from personal interaction with research active educators, from year 1
    • accredited or validated against national or international standards (for relevant programs)
    1, 5
    Critical thinking and problem solving
    • steeped in research methods and rigor
    • based on empirical evidence and the scientific approach to knowledge development
    • demonstrated through appropriate and relevant assessment
    2, 3, 4, 6
    Teamwork and communication skills
    • developed from, with, and via the SGDE
    • honed through assessment and practice throughout the program of studies
    • encouraged and valued in all aspects of learning
    5
    Career and leadership readiness
    • technology savvy
    • professional and, where relevant, fully accredited
    • forward thinking and well informed
    • tested and validated by work based experiences
    1, 2, 5, 6
    Self-awareness and emotional intelligence
    • a capacity for self-reflection and a willingness to engage in self-appraisal
    • open to objective and constructive feedback from supervisors and peers
    • able to negotiate difficult social situations, defuse conflict and engage positively in purposeful debate
    2, 6
  • Learning Resources
    Required Resources
    • Class handouts and materials placed on MyUni.
    • Each week students will be required to bring their instruments, or other technology they require to realise their group work.
    Recommended Resources
    Reading

    Bailey, D. (1980) Musical Improvisation: its nature and practice in music. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.

    Beall, Eric (2009) The Billboard Guide to Writing and Producing Songs that Sell. Billboard Books: Crown Publishing Group, New York.

    Bergonzi, J. (1992) Vol. 1 Melodic Structures. Advance Music, Rottenburg.

    Blume, Jason (1999) Six Steps to Songwriting Success. Billboard Books: Crown Publishing Group, New York.

    Braheny, John (2006) The Craft and Business of Songwriting. Writer’s Digest Books, F+W Publications, Cincinnati.

    Cardew, C. ed. (1974) Scratch Music. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Chase, Wayne. (2006) How Music Really Works. Roedy Black Publishing, Vancouver.

    Covach, John (2009) What’s that sound: an introduction to rock music and its history. Second edition. W.W. Norton & Company, New York.

    Crook, H. (2002) How to Improvise. Advance Music, Rottenburg.

    Kachulis, Jimmy (2005) The Songwriters Workshop: Harmony. Berklee Press, Boston.

    Perricone, Jack (2000) Melody in Songwriting: Tools and techniques for Writing Hit Songs. Berklee Press, Boston.

    Webb, Jimmy (1998) Tunesmith – inside the art of songwriting. Hyperion, New York.

    Wood, Clement (1936) The Complete Rhyming Dictionary and Poet’s Craft Book. Dell Publishing, New York.


    Websites

    Gary Ewers – The essential secrets of songwriting http://secretsofsongwriting.com/index.html

    Rhymer – a free online rhyming dictionary http://www.rhymer.com

    Library

    The Music Library located in the Hartley building is an excellent source for music, literature and recordings: http://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/branch/eml/

    Music Resources Guide

    The Music Resources Guide contains quick links to key music databases for scholarly research and online listening. It also contains links to websites of publicly available online scores, collected editions, and professional associations. Here too you can find a regularly updated list of new books, scores, CDs and DVDs available in the Elder Music Library: http://libguides.adelaide.edu.au/music
    Online Learning
    Learning materials and assessment will be placed on MyUni. Usage of MyUni will include Announcements, Digital readings, External web-links and Recordings of classes; particularly student performances to enable students to critically reflect on their experiences in class.
  • Learning & Teaching Activities
    Learning & Teaching Modes
    The course structure and content is delivered through a range of classes and materials. Class delivery modes include a weekly seminar and practical workshop. The classes in this course use a format where students are presented with theoretical and/ or practical content through the seminar. The theoretical content creates a topic framework that students then expand theoretically through discussions and exercises during the seminar, and practically through performing their work in the workshop. Students will also be expected to further expand the topics presented using out-of-class resources that are presented online, and rehearsing in their own time. The online resources will compliment, reinforce and extend the concepts presented.

    The classes provide theoretical explanations of composition and song writing techniques; discussion of their creative and technical application in various styles and genres; and their practical application to creativity through students preparing their work for performance.
    Workload

    The information below is provided as a guide to assist students in engaging appropriately with the course requirements.

    WORKLOAD TOTAL HOURS

    1 x 2-hour seminars per week 24 hours per semester
    1 x 2-hour workshop per week 24 hours per semester
    6 hours rehearsals & readings per week 72 hours per semester
    1 hours research per week 12 hours per semester
    2 hours assignment preparation per week 24 hours per semester
    TOTAL = 156 HOURS PER SEMESTER
    Learning Activities Summary
    The course structure and content will examine the areas below through weekly theoretical and/or practical demonstrations and exploration. The following list of topics is supplied as a guide, and may change depending on needs arising through the semester. Further detail regarding weekly content can be found on MyUni.

    WEEK SEMINAR TOPICS / WORKSHOP TOPICS

    1 Introduction to song writing & the creative process / Improvisation Class 1
    2 Song Forms / Improvisation Class 2
    3 Lyric Writing – Rhyme & Rhyming Structures / Improvisation Class 3
    4 Melodic Writing – Phrasing, Melodic Motion and Contour, Hooks / Improvisation Class 4
    5 Creative Portfolio creation and considerations for writing to briefs / Improvisation Class 5
    6 Harmony – Common Chord Progressions & Writing in a Key Area / Improvisation Assessment
    7 Rhythm – Subdivisions in relation to musical styles / Ensemble Rehearsal 1
    8 Arranging – introduction to arranging for small ensembles / Ensemble Rehearsal 2
    9 Lyric Writing – Metaphors, Similes and Symbolism / Ensemble Rehearsal 3
    10 Harmony - Minor Keys, Chord Colours, Secondary Dominants / Ensemble Rehearsal 4
    11 Structured Activity - Students work on song writing portfolios / Ensemble Rehearsal 5
    12 Structured Activity - Students work on song writing portfolios / Ensemble Rehearsal 6
    Specific Course Requirements
    Except where otherwise indicated by the lecturer, tutor or workshop instructor – mobile phones, laptops, PDAs, recording devices and other similar technology must be switched off before lessons or classes begin, and kept off for the duration.
  • Assessment

    The University's policy on Assessment for Coursework Programs is based on the following four principles:

    1. Assessment must encourage and reinforce learning.
    2. Assessment must enable robust and fair judgements about student performance.
    3. Assessment practices must be fair and equitable to students and give them the opportunity to demonstrate what they have learned.
    4. Assessment must maintain academic standards.

    Assessment Summary
    ASSESSMENT TASK TASK TYPE WEIGHTING COURSE LEARNING OUTCOMES
    Online Journal Formative and Summative 20% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Exam Formative and Summative 20% 1
    Creative Portfolio Summative 60% 1, 2, 3, 4
    Assessment Related Requirements
    As per Conservatorium policy, active and positive participation in 100% of classes is expected, any student who attends less than 80% of required classes without approved leave may result in a 5 (five) mark penalty for each unapproved absence. The penalties will be applied to the final total percentage mark for the semester for the relevant component i.e. after all other assessments have been completed and calculated. Arrival after the scheduled starting time or departure before the scheduled finishing time may, at the lecturer or Co-ordinator’s discretion, be regarded as an unapproved absence.

    Leave

    The Conservatorium recognises that extenuating circumstances may occasionally affect a student’s ability to participate in a rehearsal, workshop, class, lecture, tutorial or performance. In such cases leave maybe approved by the course coordinator.
    Assessment Detail
    Online Journal (20%)

    Students will complete a weekly journal reflecting on their experiences applying the techniques presented in class to their songwriting, composing and performing. The journal will include a critical reflection on students’ song writing, composing and or improvisation of approximately 100 – 150 words per week, which is informed by readings from the reading list and musical examples listened to in classes. A log of rehearsals will be also be required as part of this assessment. The Journal gives context to each student’s creative practice and will be compiled online via a Wordpress blog.

    Exam (20%)

    The exam will cover the theoretical aspects of the course presented thoughout the semester. The exam will be 90 minutes in duration.

    Creative Portfolio (60%)

    The Portfolio represents the major practical assessment for the semester and will involve the creation of a minimum of two songs, one of which will be a set work; ie. students will be required to write to a brief. All creative works will be required to be recorded for submission, either through groups assigned in Contemporary Music in Practice A, or alternatively students may organise their own groups.
    Submission
    All written and recorded materials will be submitted online via MyUni.
    Course Grading

    Grades for your performance in this course will be awarded in accordance with the following scheme:

    M10 (Coursework Mark Scheme)
    Grade Mark Description
    FNS   Fail No Submission
    F 1-49 Fail
    P 50-64 Pass
    C 65-74 Credit
    D 75-84 Distinction
    HD 85-100 High Distinction
    CN   Continuing
    NFE   No Formal Examination
    RP   Result Pending

    Further details of the grades/results can be obtained from Examinations.

    Grade Descriptors are available which provide a general guide to the standard of work that is expected at each grade level. More information at Assessment for Coursework Programs.

    Final results for this course will be made available through Access Adelaide.

  • Student Feedback

    The University places a high priority on approaches to learning and teaching that enhance the student experience. Feedback is sought from students in a variety of ways including on-going engagement with staff, the use of online discussion boards and the use of Student Experience of Learning and Teaching (SELT) surveys as well as GOS surveys and Program reviews.

    SELTs are an important source of information to inform individual teaching practice, decisions about teaching duties, and course and program curriculum design. They enable the University to assess how effectively its learning environments and teaching practices facilitate student engagement and learning outcomes. Under the current SELT Policy (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/policies/101/) course SELTs are mandated and must be conducted at the conclusion of each term/semester/trimester for every course offering. Feedback on issues raised through course SELT surveys is made available to enrolled students through various resources (e.g. MyUni). In addition aggregated course SELT data is available.

  • Student Support
  • Policies & Guidelines
  • Fraud Awareness

    Students are reminded that in order to maintain the academic integrity of all programs and courses, the university has a zero-tolerance approach to students offering money or significant value goods or services to any staff member who is involved in their teaching or assessment. Students offering lecturers or tutors or professional staff anything more than a small token of appreciation is totally unacceptable, in any circumstances. Staff members are obliged to report all such incidents to their supervisor/manager, who will refer them for action under the university's student’s disciplinary procedures.

The University of Adelaide is committed to regular reviews of the courses and programs it offers to students. The University of Adelaide therefore reserves the right to discontinue or vary programs and courses without notice. Please read the important information contained in the disclaimer.