Have you always wanted to be a songwriter?

Begin today!

Of all musical endeavors, songwriting can be the most artistically rewarding. Dr. Berlin is committed to guiding you along a path of artistic discovery. Since songwriting is a very individualized process, songwriting lessons are personalized for each student and their goals. At the core of lessons, Dr. Berlin will help you nurture healthy artistic practices that encourage the highest levels creativity. This is essential for reaching your potential as an artist.

To unlock your expressive creativity we may examine books like The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. We may utilize texts and strategies by master teacher Pat Pattison and other Berklee College of Music faculty. Through disciplined practice, free writing, modeling, scaffolding, revision, revision, and revision, your songwriting skills will grow by leaps and bounds. The goal is to help you learn how to write songs that you love and can either perform yourself or demo for other artists.

Dr. Berlin will teach you common song elements such as form, structure, sections, motion, pace, melody, lyrics, and harmony. If you are already a writer, these can enhance your work. If you are just starting out, you will gain important foundational knowledge that will allow you to get off to a great start! “Writing a song,” can be overwhelming and intimidating. Learning about the forms of popular songs are more structured and concrete. You will learn to identify verse, chorus, introduction, bridge, and outro. You will use these terms to label different sections of song lead sheets. You will then learn to do the same aurally.

Using familiar songs as scaffolds, you will write original lyrics using similar form, line lengths and rhyme schemes. You will then discard the scaffold song and begin developing original music to accompany your original lyrics. Through rapping, you will develop the rhythm of your lyrics. You will then rap over chord changes and begin working out the melody for your song. Finally, you will work on one of the most important parts of the process: revision. Writing a song is not a linear process. Rather, it is like a spiral that we revisit again and again. It isn’t uncommon to be working on over a dozen songs at different stages at the same time. It is a fun and exciting process!

As you mature as a songwriter, you will develop a more instinctive feel for writing and for song form. You will be encouraged to explore many other writing strategies. By doing so, you will learn to write even if you feel “blocked” or can’t think of anything to write about. Songwriting is not about waiting for inspiration to be bestowed upon you. It is about “showing up” everyday and doing the work of a songwriter. In your weekly lesson, you and Dr. Berlin will review your work, talk about successes and challenges of the week, discuss revision options, and plan what the next steps should be.

Don’t wait another day to begin your journey as a songwriter.

Start now!

Adam Green on being an artist.

  • Decide upon Artist as your destiny and begin to value you own visions with esteem and conviction. You can’t really start until you think that way about yourself.
  • Work 75% with the things that come naturally to you and don’t assume that just because a certain idea occurs naturally to you that it is obvious to anyone else.
  • Excavate exactly what it is inside your head and make that thing in the outside world.
  • Let your emotions guide them medium. If you are a songwriter, let your emotions guide the melody into words. If you are a visual artist, let your feelings enter into the lines and colors.
  • Juxtapose things that you don’t think have been put together before. Use the weight of one thing to balance the other.
  • Freak yourself out. Be the bravest version of yourself in your artwork. What is brave to you surely must be brave to some others. What is embarrassing or vulnerable is probably where the work is hiding.
  • Don’t be afraid to incorporate humor, but balance it with romance.
  • Regularly put aside two hour blocks of time – silence your phone and put it in a drawer. Apply yourself to a creative discipline. Its scary to start, but once you get rolling those two hours will pass quickly and you’ll have something to show for it.
  • Never give up on a piece of artwork, there is almost always another deeper level to consider it wherein it can be modified and recontextualized to serve your will. Take a break from that piece and revisit it with the goal to complete.
  • Don’t be too hyper-critical of yourself. If you find yourself criticizing what you are creating too much, then change what you are going for. Don’t be a hater of what you make. Learn to love “all your children” to some degree and understand why you feel the need to create them.