Teaching

TEACHING


Once upon a time, when I was knee-high to a piano bench, someone asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and my unhesitating response was, "I want to be a teacher." Much has happened since and, almost 60 years later, at an amazing venue called The Songwriting School of Los Angeles, I have finally been able to fulfill my childhood ambition. The smiling faces you see, in the photos above, are some of the bright and talented people I have been hanging out with lately . . . my students. Memorize their faces . . . as you will, no doubt, be seeing them again and hearing from them, as they light up the cultural firmament in the not too distant future.

‎"We apply our most magical thinking to our favorite songs, playing them in endless loops and singing along as if in prayer. We believe them, because somehow a message with a melody becomes a kind of holy truth. Our truth. Our love. Our heartbreak. Our fear. And our fearlessness. Why did “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” rocket to the top of the iTunes chart the day it was released? Not because Taylor Swift is so cute. It’s because a million people heard it and immediately thought, 'That girl is singing my life.' It’s because sometimes our deepest truths are buried in our pop songs" . . . Mary Elizabeth Williams

 

As lyric writers, our job is to  recognize something in ourselves, our audience or the human condition that is worth capturing, lyrically, in song - not to agonize or analyze or to try to wrestle meaning out of thin air . . . Lyric writing should be a journey of discovery - about yourself,  the times you live in and the people with whom you want your songs to connect.  And, while we engage the art and craft of lyric writing here, as a course of study it is also a course of action . . . and reaction.

 

 

 

I don’t want to stand before you and pontificate about what you must and must not do to become a great and/or famous lyricist/composer. I’m a terrible pontificator and having people genuflect before me to kiss my ring really creeps me out
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The relationship I hope to forge between us is not one of teacher and student, but of songwriting peers and, to that end, the format of this course will not be a series of formal lessons but a loose, informal gaggle of conversations about the art, craft and philosophy of songwriting that focuses, primarily on lyrics.

The Lyrical Songwriter, assumes that you already know how to do a reasonably good job of weaving words and music together into something that approximates a song and that you are capable of being honest about your own skill and talent level and have a general idea of where, how and what you need, want or desperately desire to improve . . .

And that’s where I come in. I can help. I can push, stretch and challenge you . . . in a nice but fiendishly diabolical way, I promise.