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Zarephath, NJ Songwriting Lessons

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About Erica S.

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Belleville, NJ
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Learn how to discover the creative potential you already have in you and channel it to create your own personal music with a well-rounded teacher who specializes in composing and arranging.

The process of composition is a very individual and tailored path, and there isn't a set way of approaching composition. It is tailored to the student's strengths and weaknesses, musical interests, and the way a student approaches music (intuitive vs. analytical). But things I often cover are analysis of music the student enjoys, figuring out pieces by ear (having a strong ear is very important to the composition process), creating pieces based on moods or images, working on forming a piece and telling a story, and orchestration.

If composing is your interest I often have you keep a journal and ask you to listen to some music you like, and write down some things you like about what you hear, and then try to figure out what they're doing. These things help you discover what you love about ...

About Erica
Hi! My name is Erica, and I am a private lesson teacher, composer, arranger, and pianist currently living, writing, performing, and teaching in North Jersey. I believe that by having such a versatile musical background, I will be able to understand different needs and interests you may have and help you begin or continue your musical journey and reach your goals.

I currently teach 30 private piano and composition students in North New Jersey, and I am consistently inspired by all the progress all my students have made! My students have played classical pieces in recitals, played in jazz combos with other student musicians, written music that was performed by professional ensembles, learned how to play ragtime, and more. No two students have gone down the same path, because the curriculum was developed around the individual.

As a com
poser, I've penned over 15 charts for Jazz Ensemble, in addition to several charts for Studio Orchestra, Jazz Combos, Chamber Groups, Vocal Groups, and Film, and I've won a few awards, including 1st Place in the International Zurich Jazz Orchestra Composition Competition, a 2011 ASCAP Young Jazz Composers Award, and a 2012 ASCAP Plus Award. I co-lead a jazz orchestra that has performed in several NYC clubs. My pieces have also been performed by her own chamber group "Community of the Spirit," Kurt Elling and the Metropole Orchestra the Zurich Jazz Orchestra, Todd Coolman's Quintet, the Eastman Jazz Ensemble and Studio Orchestra, Bernie Williams and the William Paterson Jazz Orchestra, Weapons of Jazz Destruction, and others.

I've also been inspired by many teachers along the way. I have a BM in Jazz Writing (Composition) with high distinction from the Eastman School of Music, and an MM in Jazz Arranging from William Paterson University. My composition and piano teachers have included Jim McNeely, Bill Dobbins, Rich DeRosa, Harold Danko, Raymond Torres-Santos, Tony Caramia, and Adrien Cohen, and I am a current member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop in NYC.

I'm a very passionate teacher and I'm excited to begin your musical journey!

*** Lesson Details ***
In addition to a customized lesson plan (dependent on your goals, strengths, weaknesses, and interests) you get introduced to a wide variety of styles and concepts. Some of the things you will do in your musical adventure with me include:

1) Learn classical pieces ranging from short Bach Minuets if you're a beginner, to Chopin Nocturnes and Bach Preludes and Fugues if you're advanced.
2) Learn the "why" behind music... Why does this sound quirky? Where does the musical statement end? What harmony is the composer using?
3) Write your own music. We might take a new concept you learned, and you may compose a song based on it. Or you may have your own ideas, and I'll help you take them to the next level.
4) Learn to improvise and learn how to play some jazz. You will play over blues and learn jazz standards. You will also learn how to play by ear.
5) Learn basic conducting.

*** Studio Equipment ***
home: fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi
music studio : fully-weighted keyboard, seating for parents, music stands, sheet music, printer (for printing custom handouts), free wi-fi

*** Specialties ***
I teach classical and jazz, and usually like to incorporate both into lessons at some point, even if the student may have a greater interest in one of these (so you don't have the classical pianist that has never played one note not written in the music or doesn't know how to spell a simple major triad, and you don't have a jazz pianist whose reading skills is not up to par, and has no regard for tone/touch). Typically students not only read classical repertoire (Bach, Beethoven, Bartok, Kabelevsky, etc.) but also learn how to improvise over a blues, read a lead sheet, and figure music out by ear. I'm also comfortable with rock styles.

I also have a lot of experience accompanying (musical theatre, instrumental, vocal...) and I like teaching the student how to follow a soloist. I teach students how to read lead sheets so they can read whatever they may get from a vocalist, and I teach chord theory so that they can easier recognize patterns in music when playing with an instrumentalist or vocalist.

I incorporate composition and theory into lessons, usually in conjunction with whatever piece they are learning (explain what type of chords are in their piece, or explain how they move, or why something may sound discordant or may go somewhere expected, or I may teach them phrases in music just like sentences work in English.) I definitely, however, work with students who are more serious in composition as well and talk about how to develop their pieces, how to create ideas, how to get out of a "writers block," orchestration techniques, encourage them to expand their instrumentation, etc.
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Angela L. May 20, 2017
· Piano · In home
Erika is pretty nice and professional piano teacher. As a beginner, I have great confidence in growing my piano skill with her.
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Doris U. September 25, 2015
· Piano · In studio
She is excelent.I enjoyed her classes
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Iris July 13, 2015
· Piano · In home
Erica is great at explaining and teaching my 5 year old daughter piano.
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Erica S.

Erica S.

Belleville, NJ 07109
(5)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Christina A.

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Plainfield, NJ

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Students will learn how to use their vocabulary as well as musical sequences and themes to create songs.

About Christina
My studio is based on the belief that our customers' needs are of the utmost importance. We are committed to meeting those needs. We would welcome the opportunity to earn your trust and deliver you the best service in the industry! With over 14 years of teaching experience in both the classroom and privately, my lessons are comprehensive, diverse and individually tailored to each student.

Ms. Tina was born and raised in North Plainfield, NJ and attended college at Westminster Choir College in Princeton, NJ and Montclair State University in Montclair, NJ where she received a BM in Musical Theater. Music is not just a job for Ms. Tina...it's a passion.

I continually strive to encourage and motivate my students to explore their individual talents and abilities to their fullest and to have fun! I look forward to work with you and
your family to achieve your music education goals!
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Nicholas C. February 21, 2017
· Flute · In home
Excellent, great with 4 year old!!!
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Peter W. February 15, 2017
· Saxophone · In home
We became friends, Then as a student I learned a lot and I have a lot to look forward to as I progress with my practicing I cant wait to practice on my own, The teacher was filled with knowledge on the sax I am glad I found Christina and look forward to my next lesson because Christina was easy to work with and no pressure.
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Zsofia December 9, 2016
· Violin · In home
Christina was excellent. She was on prompt nice and interacted nicely with my daughter. I would definitely recommend her.
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Christina A.

Christina A.

Plainfield, NJ 07063
(5)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Aaron C.

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Montclair, NJ
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About Aaron
*** Studio Equipment ***
Practice amp, spare instrument cables.
*** Travel Equipment ***
I expect the student to have their own guitar, practice amp, spare strings, chromatic tuner, instrument cables, notebook, pencils, pens, guitar picks and any pedals they wish to use. If they have an acoustic guitar then I would expect them to also have a capo. I bring all materials listed above as well as my list of books and study material. I try to keep all materials in digital form to send to the student and parents at their convenience. In addition to the aforementioned, I also will come equipped with a macbook laptop computer with Pro Tools 8.0.3 and Logic Pro X professional recording software installed on it. I also will bring a fast track pro recording interface, a Sennheiser e935 vocal microphone.

*** Specialties ***
Genres I s
pecialize in include rock and metal vocals and guitar. Songwriting, production and performance
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Reviews
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Phil August 7, 2015
· Music Recording · In home
Very Broad range of knowledge on ProTools v8.
Had a lot of very useful information and tips to get started quickly.
His style of teaching made it fun and interesting.
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Lawrence S. June 5, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
I took guitar lessons with Aaron and then later did both singing and guitar lessons. I found him very proficient in both. The lessons were enjoyable and I learned a lot. Highly recommended.
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Aaron C.

Aaron C.

Montclair, NJ 07042
(2)
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About Ian S.

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Jersey City, NJ

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I have extensive experience composing and writing, and have recorded 100 of my works. Let me teach you songwriting secrets and music theory so you can start creating your own music right away!

About Ian
A lifelong musician and songwriter, Ian S. has extensive experience teaching guitar and piano to students age 3 and up both as a private music instructor and as a staff music instructor at the Institute of Music for Children. With 28 years of experience on the guitar and 32 years on piano, Ian has studied and performed with several award-winning music artists, and has written, recorded, and produced over one hundred songs. He plays and teaches a variety of styles on both the guitar and the piano, from classical to jazz to rock. Ian is patient, friendly, and loves sharing the gift of music.

Ian was the guitarist in the Princeton University Jazz Ensemble for 3 seasons, was selected from a nationwide pool of musicians to perform at a special music event at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC, and was the recipient of the New Jersey Gove
rnor's Award in Arts Education for the category of Instrumental Music.

*** Lesson Details ***
I am very laid back and friendly, and I want you or your child to be as comfortable as possible during our lessons. You or your child will develop confidence and musical intelligence. I will make your lessons fun, enjoyable, and effective. Boredom is not an option! Music is fun... let's keep it that way.

The teaching methods I use will be custom-tailored to your individual needs, personality and specific musical goals. If it's guitar or piano you want to learn, I want to get you playing exactly what you want to be playing as soon as possible. That's what you're here for, and that's what I'm here for. I will make it happen. If it's songwriting that you want to learn, I will help you access that place inside of you that is dying to express itself creatively, and will teach you techniques to harness that energy and translate it successfully into musical expression.

You can expect to learn all the basics of music theory, proper playing techniques, improvisation and spontaneous musical expression, and I will help you develop your "ear" so you can figure out songs you like just by listening to them. This is all about you and your goals, and I want you to achieve them in a fun and engaging way.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Living room: Upright piano, guitars, amps, keyboard, percussion

*** Specialties ***
I specialize in pop, rock, classical, jazz, blues, folk, fingerstyle (guitar), etc. I also teach improvisation and songwriting, and try to develop the student's ear for figuring out songs they like on their own.
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Sissi H. July 27, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Ian is the best , He give me a lot of confidence to start, and my English is not good he also very patient to understand what I said. In the beginning I don't have a guitar he give me a long list good for me and let me find out witch is I love, and lots of advice. Thank you Ian!
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Zhongkai July 23, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Can't be better
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Vera March 12, 2017
· Piano · In home
Excellent lessons! Ian teaches fun songs that engage kids but also about technique & theory in a very casual and relaxed manner. Highly recommended!
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Ian S.

Ian S.

Jersey City, NJ 07302
(30)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Vincent T.

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West Long Branch, NJ
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About Vincent
I have taught for 18 years, giving both private and group lessons. I am a professional musician, having played in numerous bands, recorded and played shows. I have taugh all ages, and all elvels, and all styles. I play a number of instruments including piano, guitar, bass, violin, banjo, mandolin, and harmonica, in addition to writing and singing. I took private lessons for over 10 years, and also studied music in both high school and college.

*** Lesson Details ***
A student can expect to be treated with respect, and have a lesson tailored around their abilities, interests, and amount of practice time. I make the lessons fun but also informative. I try to get to know my students so that they feel comfortable. I am laid back, but also determined that a student practice well, and learn not only the instrument but music fundamentals a
s well. I try to show students that learning music is a lifelong pursuit that can provide all types of fun and personal fulfillment, in addition to being a potential career and social outlet. After 3-6 months, the student will be playing songs, good ones, not just scales. They will also have learned basics, such as chords and scales, as well as sight reading.

*** Studio Equipment ***
Basement converted into music studio with instruments, and piano and keyboard. Parents can sit in on lessons. Street parking available.

*** Travel Equipment ***
I provide all lesson materials, listening examples, and, on occassion, an instrument. I often use my laptop to play songs and tutorials for students (who don't buy records like we did in the old days.) Generally, students must provide instrument.

*** Specialties ***
I tailor my lessons based on three factors: a student's interests, their ability, and their amount of practice time. I do not use a cookie cutter method of teaching because each student is different. I have studied, formally and informally, rock, pop, blues, jazz and classical. My specialties are rock and blues. On occasion, I will use method books, such as the Schirmer books for piano, but only if the student clearly seems to benefiting from them.
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Vincent T.

Vincent T.

West Long Branch, NJ 07764
starting at
$25 / 30-min
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About Christopher J.

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Old Bridge, NJ

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Writing a song comes from the heart. Some people may not be able to realize this at first and I would love to show how to tap into this ability. When singing you want to paint a picture with your music and express so the listener can feel what you felt when you wrote it. Studying poetry, rhythm, melody and form are essentials to what we would go over.

About Christopher
Christopher Joseph has been playing guitar for 11 years and has studies and performed genres such classical, jazz, cumbia, Latin, Spanish, Brazilian, rock and pop. He has performed with many different artists/bands and has composed for a variety of styles. While in high school Christopher studied Classical guitar and violin under the tutelage of Bernard Mathews and now at New Jersey City University he studies Classical guitar with Francisco Roldan of the ZigZag Quartet and with Joao Luiz from the World acclaimed Brasil Guitar Duo for ensemble. At the university he is currently a senior.
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Ashley August 5, 2017
· Guitar · In studio
Chris is a wonderful teacher! My daughter is a shy 7year old, but she said he made her feel proud and comfortable. Chris surely knows how to teach young minds with his patience and calmness. My daughter is already looking forward to have another lesson with him soon!
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Arsh July 8, 2017
· Classical Guitar · In home
Chris is a great instructor. He can adjust to the student's pace and helps the student learn all types of guitar techniques. I have progressed a lot through his lessons.
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Kishan Mistry October 28, 2015
· Guitar · In studio
Chris is an outstanding teacher. He is passionate about the material, patient, and overall a high characteristic person. His knowledge and competencies have helped me develop and I always feel I'm walking away from a lesson better and smarter at playing the guitar. I'm extremely happy about my choice and highly recommend him.
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Christopher J.

Christopher J.

Old Bridge, NJ 08857
(10)
starting at
$25 / 30-min

About Jordan G.

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West Orange, NJ
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I am a professional songwriter and have released a full length album with bongo boy records. I teach multiple songwriting techniques that carry over across every musical genre, and I also teach music theory fundamentals

About Jordan
Hi, my name is Jordan. I am a Freshman Music and Theatre Education student at Seton Hall University. I have experience with many genres of music including classical, jazz, pop/rock, and Broadway. In addition to being a multi instrumentalist, I am also a songwriter, and have released a full length country album with Bongo Boy Records. My specialty and biggest passion is country and rock music, however I'm also classically trained in voice and in various instruments. Although I'm young, I have lots of experience so if you are looking for quality lessons in voice, stand up bass, guitar, bass guitar, banjo, ukulele, piano, or other beginning instruments, id be happy to oblige :)

PS. I didn't renew my background check but I'm a 19 year old college student, not a criminal.
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Jordan G.

Jordan G.

West Orange, NJ 07052
starting at
$30 / 30-min

About Keith C.

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Middlesex, NJ
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During your lessons, you will learn different ways to go about composing compelling songs across different genres. Throughout your lessons, you will learn about chord progressions, writing melodies, and writing lyrics.

About Keith
Hi! My name is Keith, and I've been a music teacher for ten years, and a BOE Certified English teacher for six years. I have been playing guitar and bass for 15 years, and have been playing ukelele for five. I can't wait to teach you your favorite songs, as well as help you write your own!

I also offer tutoring in English Language Arts for all grades from kindergarten to college. Whether you need help starting or finishing your essay, or need help understanding a difficult text, I'm here to help you out. I also tutor for PARCC and SAT. Have the comfort of knowing a State of NJ certified teacher is helping you out!
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Eric August 29, 2016
· English Literature · In studio
Helped me out in a jam with my Shakespeare class at NJCU. Was able to meet up with him in the campus library. Helped me understand King Lear so well that when it came to writing my essay on it, I didn't really need his help, save for some basic proofreading. Highly recommended.
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Alyssa August 16, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
I was a stubborn student, but Keith helped me explore different ways to think about chords and picking styles. It definitely helped in regards to my development as a guitar player and song writer and I am happy to have had him as my instructor! :-)
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Marcus August 16, 2016
· Acoustic Guitar · In studio
My 5 year old started with Keith while he was working at Jaime's Music in Bayonne. I've had nothing but a great experience with him. I was apprehensive at first, as I was told by other teachers that five was too young, but Keith helped us find the right guitar for him. My son is seven now, and although Keith isn't his teacher anymore, he's made a lasting impression. I even learned a little guitar, too!
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Keith C.

Keith C.

Middlesex, NJ 08846
(3)
starting at
$35 / 30-min

About Natalie W.

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South Plainfield, NJ
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Songwriting very special ,There isn't exactly a wrong way to do it in my opinion but there is a better way. I am a Lyric and Melody writer. You may also hear Lyrics and Melody writers being referred to as "Top Liners" Topics like song structure, Melody writing, Finding the "Right Lyrics", Writers Block, Song splits, choosing a performance rights society are all covered in our lessons.

About Natalie
Ive been in the music industry for 10yrs , I got started singing myself and soon after found a major love for songwriting. In 2007 I landed a Major Publishing deal with Sony ATV and also became 1/2 of a notable songwriting Duo "Pen Up Girls" . As a Pen Up Girl I have had the joy of working with Many top Major artist, as well as a host of New artist.

In my career so far I have written on 3 Grammy Nominated albums as well as albums that have had "US Gold" and "International Platinum" status. I love Music . My goal is to pass on what I have learned.
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Natalie W.

Natalie W.

South Plainfield, NJ 07080
starting at
$50 / 30-min

About Kate D.

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New York, NY

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Focus on song ideas, writing suggestions, edits, song arrangement, accompaniment

About Kate
I am a singer, multi-instrumentalist, and songwriter who is very interested in teaching younger kids about self expression through music and writing. I have a Bachelor's degree in music performance from the Manhattan School of Music and have been working as a professional musician (within many genres) for a decade.
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Melissa P. May 25, 2017
· Ukulele · In home
Kate is fantastic!! She has such a warm, easygoing personality, and I was very comfortable having her in my home. She is extremely knowledgeable about the uke and was able to immediately recognize my strengths and weaknesses. I feel challenged, but not overwhelmed. I had so much fun and can't wait for next week's lesson!
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Kate D.

Kate D.

New York, NY 10013
(1)
starting at
$60 / 30-min

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Songwriting Lesson Reviews from Students

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Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?

Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?

Think you're ready to write your own song and record it? Songwriting can be an arduous process - but seeing the final product is an amazing feeling. Read on for a helpful pre-recording checklist from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   Whether you're singing your own song or hiring a vocalist to sing on your demo or master, there are many layers of preparation needed to ensure optimum results. Some songwriters like to wing it and hope that things will magically work out because th … Read More

Are You Really Ready To Record Your Song Or Book A Vocal Session?
Think you're ready to write your own song and record it? Songwriting can be an arduous process - but seeing the final product is an amazing feeling. Read on for a helpful pre-recording checklist from Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   Whether you're singing your own song or hiring a vocalist to sing on your demo or master, there are many layers of preparation needed to ensure optimum results. Some songwriters like to wing it and hope that things will magically work out because th
25 Ways to Break Free from Songwriters' Block
Every songwriter runs into writers' block at some point in their career. To help you dig your way out of the dreaded doldrums of songwriters' block, we put together 25 songwriting tips and prompts plus great songs to inspire you. Check out these songwriting tips and find your muse today!   Bonus: Take the quiz to find out what you should write your next song about! Write about your day. Think your life is boring and you have nothing to say? Check out the lyrics to thi
Tips for Writing a Song | Starting Songs And Ending Writer's Block
Feeling stuck? Get back on track with these helpful tips for writing a song, courtesy of Perth Amboy, NJ teacher Jeff S...   One of the most frequent problems that songwriting students encounter is pushing past writer's block and generating ideas for new songs. So here are several tips for writing a song that will help you overcome a creative dry spell and get you back to creative productivity. Start With A Title Think of some interesting subjects that you think would make goo
Logic Pro Tutorial: How To Create An Audio Slow-Down Effect
Want to add a cool slow-down effect to your music? Learn how in this Logic Pro tutorial from Brevard, NC teacher John C...   If you've listened to popular radio in the past several years, and I’m guessing you have, you've heard either a vocal melody line or an instrumental part of a song make a particular effect. Listen to the following Fall Out Boy song and pay attention to the music in the background at 00:27 seconds, again at 1:27, and once again at 2:27: Did you hear it? Th
3 Things Songwriters Should Always Keep in Mind
Are you perfectly content performing the pieces of famous composers and lyricists... or do you want to make your own contribution? If you want to learn how to become a songwriter, check out this guest post by teacher Eric C...   The world of music is as vast as the world that we live in. Some genres have existed for thousands of years, while others are still being created today. This is all because music is constantly evolving. The evolution of music comes from songwriters and

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