So What are Song-Writing Lessons Anyway?

Let’s say you have a great idea for a song. You record yourself singing or playing it, and you enjoy listening to your creation. So then what happens to it? Does it just stay on your Smart Phone until it dies? Do you avoid playing it for anyone else but yourself because you’re not sure if it’s any good? Maybe you have been writing some songs for a while and feel like you’re running out of ideas because you need some new material?

These are the reasons to take song-writing lessons (also known as composition lessons). Just like singing lessons, composition lessons help you learn and refine skills that help you create music that not only sounds good to you but that others can play and enjoy too. When I begin teaching a new student, they learn the basics of writing music notation and gradually apply these basics to the songs they write. In addition, we discuss how to create music which tells a performer how to express the meaning of the song more effectively.

Maybe you’re thinking…but I already take lessons with someone, couldn’t I study with my teacher?

While most music teachers have some basic composing skills (and either fondly or not-so-fondly remember the assignments they used to do in their music theory classes) not everyone is a skilled composer. Composition teachers have an intimate knowledge of how music is put together. They also know the subtle nuances of how music theory concepts can be applied to produce a beautiful and memorable piece of music. This is why many music students take composition lessons along with their normal instrument.

Studying with a teacher specialized in composition helps students to build a palette of tools to bring their music to the next level, much like an art teacher can help those who are skilled in visual mediums to expand their own abilities and produce pieces that draw out the emotion they see in what they create.

Have you ever thought about studying composition? If so, I encourage you to look around for a good instructor or mentor. While it’s encouraged, but not always necessary to find someone with a degree in composition; it is important is to find someone who has a thorough knowledge of the composition process, and has composed music which is or has been performed. You should also take an introductory music theory class as many composers do not start working with students until they know at least the basics of music notation. There are some excellent courses online and at local colleges and music schools.

And of course, my shameless plug! If you’d like to start composing music and are in the Rhode Island area, you might be interested in the Songwriting 101 class I am putting together this June. It’s a six-week course designed for beginners who want to start getting their music out of their head, and onto a page! For more information, check out my upcoming classes page.

Until next time!

In Song,


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