Writing Music for Your Lyrics
(Music experience helps, but isn't required. Familiarity with a
guitar or keyboard is recommended.) For songwriters a)
who write their lyrics first or b) who have only written lyrics, but
have trouble writing music for them. Bring your lyrics.
We'll find inherent rhythms within your phrases, then use production
models, guitar, keyboard, bass, computer and/or apps to explore possible
melodies, chord changes, bass lines, beats and styles for your song.
Show the class what you've written.
Writing Lyrics for Your Music
For songwriters a) who write their music first, then struggle to write
lyrics to go with it, or b) for those who can write some lyrics to their
music but get stuck and can't finish, or c) for composers or
collaborators who need to write lyrics for existing music. Bring
your music to class and we'll explore different techniques for
developing compelling first lines, catchy titles, interesting themes &
stories, and how to apply these in your verses, choruses, and bridges.
Play your new songs for the class.
(Intermediate-Advanced.) Expand your collaborative songwriting
skills with creative instruction, live demonstration, writing
assignments and in-class performance. Co-write words and music with
classmates and the instructor as partners or teams. Perform your
collaborations for the class.
Rewriting to Improve Your
(Intermediate-Advanced.) Free yourself from the perceived
constraints of your early and unfinished drafts. This course will
let you rewrite your songwriting heroes, rewrite your own material and
learn the secrets to how I've rewritten mine. We'll focus on
making your songwriting more adaptable, flexible and easy. Sing or
play your rewritten songs for the class.
Songs in 8
(Intermediate-Advanced.) Compose a song on a different assigned
topic or theme every week. Experiment with different writing
techniques. Brainstorm your premise and develop your song form
during class. Play your song the following week and get immediate,
Songs in 8
Weeks (Session B)
(Intermediate-Advanced.) New topics! Compose a song on a
different assigned topic or theme every week. Experiment with
different writing techniques. Brainstorm your premise and develop
your song form during class. Play your song the following week and
get immediate, constructive feedback.
Songwriting With a Sense of Humor
(A basic understanding of songwriting is encouraged.) Each week,
we'll hear and discuss songs that are witty, nonsensical, slapstick,
storytelling, parodies, politically charged, outrageous and more.
Then, using a wide range of comic techniques, we'll pen humorous songs
of our own, which students can share during class.
Music Theory & Ear
Training for Songwriters
to a piano or keyboard is helpful. The ability to read music is
not required.) Understand how scales, intervals and chords relate
to melody, harmony and chord changes. The more you know about how
music works, the more tools you'll develop for songwriting and arranging.
Reading and memorizing this material will only get you so far.
Practicing between classes will make each concept infinitely more
useful. Course FAQ
and Marketing Your Songs
Get your music heard and noticed! A detailed look at how to
promote your songs on web sites & social media, plus how to submit music
to reviewers, blogs, radio shows & podcasts. Includes a crash course in
This course is all
about the presentation of your songs. As we cover the elements of
style, instrumentation, arrangement and music production, we'll apply
these techniques to your own songs that you choose to share with the
class. Course FAQ
Each week we'll use forensic listening to
investigate the words and music to a variety of killer songs. Then
each member of the class will be asked to write and play a new song by
applying some of the techniques we uncovered.
(Intermediate-Advanced.) Each week, we'll cover material from
different courses in Dave's series "The Secrets to Better Songwriting."
You'll gain valuable insight and practice on a variety of different
songwriting topics. Includes creative instruction, songwriting
assignments and your own live performance.
Register for the current session today!
With my Songwriter
Sidebars on Facebook Messenger or Zoom, I can help you break
through issues like unfinished songs, having writers block, being
dissatisfied with your writing, or just wanting to add more skills to
your songwriting bag of tricks.
Tell me your songwriting
challenges and we'll apply proven techniques to make songwriting less
mysterious and more satisfying. In short, we'll tackle
whatever's been bogging down your writing. As a song doctor, I
don't ask for any writing credit, so your songs remain your own.
-- Dave Caruso,
Songwriter / Instructor
Songwriter Sidebar today!
How will I attend a class or sidebar?
After you register, you and other members of the class
will be added to a livestream group which works just like
Zoom, Skype or Facetime. Dave will get in touch to help orient
you so you can hit the ground running.
Once classes begin, you'll see and hear
Dave and all members of the class, and they'll see and hear you.
How long are classes
Classes are one-hour
long and they meet weekly. Each Songwriter Sidebar is 30-minutes
Do I need to
understand computers to join an online class?
Nope. If you can stream
movies, your Internet connection is fast enough to join our classes with your smartphone, tablet or computer. Smartphones
and tablets have the capability built right in. Most newer
computers do too, with a webcam and built-in microphone.
will I receive from the courses?
Each registrant will receive PDF handouts, examples and
assignments from every week of class.
Do I have to write an entire song every
Nope! You'll write whatever you're able, according to the
assignment. For some weeks, that might mean you'll only write a
verse or a chorus. Other weeks, you might be assigned only one
section of a song. And during the final week of class, no
assignment will be given.
Isn't writing by assignment hard?
While it might seem intimidating at first, most songwriters
find that writing with a certain technique to an interesting theme is
actually EASIER than trying to pick a new song out of thin air.
Also, it will improve your ability to collaborate and to start or
finish your own songs.
What if I only
write lyrics (or music)?
No problem! Unless the course title is specifically aimed at writing
one or the other, you can concentrate on your writing
strength, your writing weakness, or both. It all depends on what
you want from the class.
Do I HAVE to play my songs for the
Nope! You won't be pressured to play for the class,
but songwriters repeatedly tell us that our virtual songwriters circle
is what they enjoyed most about taking our courses. It's a supportive audience and
a great sounding
board for your music. It's also a great way to find
collaborators and musical co-conspirators.
Can I try out a course for just a few
weeks and see if it's right for me?
Yes! When you register, you'll get a choice: If you register
for the total number of weeks, you're all set. If you register
for the "Two-Week Trial," you'll be able to return to our shop and buy
an "Add-On" to complete the course while it's in session.
Are these courses mostly lecture?
Not at all! Class time is split between learning techniques,
listening to examples, discussion, and performances by members of the
When are these courses offered?
We alternate courses all throughout the year in our Shop. Some
courses may be offered more often than others. When we add new
courses, they'll appear on this page.
When are the Songwriter Sidebars
Once you register for a sidebar, Dave will contact you to set up a
mutually agreeable date and time, based on your schedule and time
Register for the current session today!