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Eliot Popkin

Eliot Popkin


Slide Duration:

Table of Contents

I. Songwriting
Introduction to Songwriting

6m 17s

Three Main Components
Melody, Lyrics, Harmony
Golden Guidelines
Object Write: Ocean
Object Write
Eliot's List on Ocean
Melody Ideas
Four Notes
Up One Step
Melody & Harmony

8m 6s

Melody Lesson
3 Most Stable Keys
Unstable Notes
Example: Stable Note
Harmony Grooves
Example: Own Harmonic Groove
Object Write & Melody

7m 32s

Object Write: Orange
Homework review
Homework assignment for next lesson
Melody Lesson
Stable & Unstable Tone Review
Example: Tones Falling
Example: Pick the next tone
Groove review
Rhyming, Melody, Harmony, Part 1

7m 58s

Object Write: Ocean
Object Write Review
Rhyming Lesson
Rhyme Scheme
Example: Amazing Grace
Example: Beyonce- Irreplacable
Melody and Harmony
Audio Example: Combining Melody & Harmony
Possible Ending Note
Object Write to Verse

10m 13s

Rhyming Lesson
Example: 'If I Die Young'
Rhyming Lesson, cont.
Words Don't Rhyme, But It Works
Object Write: Orange
Turn Object Write Into Verse
Object Write to a Verse
Finding the Rhyme Scheme
Changing to Not Rhyming Lyrics
Melody and Harmony
Stable Unstable Tone Placement
One-Bar Idea
Introduction to Lyrics

8m 40s

Object Write: Ocean
Example: Key Phrases to Use
Object Write to a Verse
The Rhyme Schme
Different Rhyme Scheme
Example: Why Words Rhymes
Melody Ideas
Create Many Melodies With 1 Simple Phrase
Harmony for Verse and Chorus
Define Harmony
Example: Add 1 New Chord
Audio Example

5m 18s

Lyric Writing
What is a Metaphor?
Examples: Metaphors
Melody Ideas
Examples: Small and Big Arches
Harmony Major vs Minor
Introduce Minor Chord to Mix

7m 23s

Lyric Writing
Example: Use Repetition to Strengthen
Example 2: Use Repetition to Strengthen
Melody Ideas
Rhythm Lesson
Whole Note
Half Note
Quarter Note

9m 28s

Lyric Writing
Use 5 Senses As Descriptions
Example: Senses As Descriptions
Example 2: Senses As Descriptions
Melody Ideas
Ways to Develop Melody
Chord & Arpeggio
Rhythm Lesson
Dotted Note
Clap Out Example

9m 10s

Lyric Writing
Define Personification
Examples: Personification
Melody Ideas
Pitch Change
Song Sections
Different Sections of a Song
Pre-Course, Bridge, Breakdown, Instrumental Breaks

14m 19s

Lyric Writing
Define Exaggerate
Examples: Exaggeration
Consider When Collaborating
Business of Songwriting
Guidelines to Protect Your Song
Recording Demos
Studio Time
Submitting Material
Building Relationships
Getting a Mentor
Write Out Goals
Meet Other Songwriters/ Producers
Going to Network Events
Being a Professional
Being a Solo Artist or Starting Band

21m 57s

Audio Example: Keith Urban
Example: Rhyming Scheme
Stripping Instrumentation
Audio Example: Pink
Main Difference Between Country & Pop
Chorus Extension
Audio Example: John Legend
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For more information, please see full course syllabus of Songwriting
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Lecture Slides are screen-captured images of important points in the lecture. Students can download and print out these lecture slide images to do practice problems as well as take notes while watching the lecture.

  • Intro 0:00
  • Lyric Writing 0:21
    • Define Exaggerate
    • Examples: Exaggeration
  • Collaboration 3:02
    • Consider When Collaborating
  • Business of Songwriting 8:12
    • Guidelines to Protect Your Song
    • Recording Demos
    • Studio Time
    • Submitting Material
    • Building Relationships
    • Getting a Mentor
    • Write Out Goals
    • Meet Other Songwriters/ Producers
    • Going to Network Events
    • Being a Professional
    • Being a Solo Artist or Starting Band
    • Performing

Transcription: Exaggeration

Hey, welcome back to Educator.com.0000

My name is Eliot, and this is Introduction to Songwriting.0003

So, we are almost nearing the end of our lessons, so I am going to introduce a few new topics to you that we can discuss further in our follow up course.0005

I want to talk just one more time about lyrics and introduce in a concept called exaggeration.0017

To exaggerate is to write an exaggeration on a statement or a fact for stronger effect.0023

So, let's look at a few examples of this. Christina Perri has a song called A Thousand Years.0030

This is a song that is in the Twilight move. I have not seen the movie, but I have heard the song.0035

I have loved you for a thousand years.0041

OK, so clearly and all of you fans out there, help me. If they are vampires, so, I guess, they get to live forever.0043

But, the idea of loving someone for a thousand years is a very...it is not only just a dramatic concept, but it is a very romantic one.0049

It is a wonderful way to say that.0057

Adele has a song called Set Fire to the Rain: but I set fire to the raid, watched it pour as I touched your face, let it burn while I cried.0060

Whoa! That is dramatic.0070

So, whenever you are going to do anything like exaggerate, you can tell, it is going to be a pretty dramatic moment of the song.0072

Watched it pour as I touched your face.0078

To give someone the idea that if you can touch their face, it is so powerful that what would happen when you try to light rain on fire,0082

it is a very beautiful way to say how much you care about someone.0093

Zach Brown Band, if you are not familiar with them, amazing country band, wonderful songwriter he is.0098

This is a from a song called Colder Weather: 'coz I'm a rambling man, I ain't ever gonna change, I got a gypsy's soul to blame, and I was born for leaving.0104

The idea, this is one of the songs, I have to say, when I heard this, I was like "oh, why didn't I write this?".0115

To think that when you are born, you already have this capacity that you are always just going to leave. You are never going to stay.0121

That is an exaggeration because no one is born that way, but to put that in a song, oh my god.0127

It is just a beautiful sentiment and really powerful.0134

And our last example is by someone who I am a huge fan of. This is a song by Pink, and this called Glitter in the Air.0138

Have you ever wished for an endless night, lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight?0145

What? That is just beautiful.0154

The idea that you can look up into the sky, have your - well, what would you need for a lasso - a rope.0156

And you just throw it up towards the sky, grab the stars and pulled them towards you.0164

And then, to put that as the lyric: lassoed the moon and the stars and pulled that rope tight.0169

It is such an exaggeration and a beautiful lyric, and so, hopefully, this is a tool you can utilize, yourself.0173

As we are approaching, as I said, the end of Intro to Songwriting,0182

I wanted to talk with you about a few things that are going to be very helpful for you in the future.0185

One is collaborating. You can write a song with someone else, and you both write the melody and the lyrics together.0191

Or maybe they are really good at playing piano, and you are really good at rhyming.0199

Or they are a music producer, and they make amazing beats, and you are really good at coming up with melodies and lyrics.0204

Whatever it is, whatever the combination is, there are a few things that I would love for you to consider when collaborating, so here they are.0209

No. 1: have fun. Writing songs, as I mentioned to you initially, there are no rules.0217

I do not want you to be hard on yourself and especially when you are introducing0225

yourself to other songwriters and lyricists and music producers and artists.0229

Have fun with this process. The idea that you are going to share something creative with someone else, make sure that it is fun for everyone.0235

No. 2: show up on time or even better, early.0241

If you are going to write a song with someone, you are setting an appointment of time0247

that we are going to get together at 4 o'clock and come up with some amazing songs.0250

One of the worst things you could do to annoy the other person is to show up half an hour late and not call.0255

This is actually really helpful in life in general, but especially when you are introducing yourself as a professional to work with another professional.0260

So, no. 3: be prepared. Come with song ideas.0269

You know, what is interesting? If you are writing songs by yourself, and if you remember from our examples,0273

I have purposely tried to teach you to just write for very short spurts of time to get yourself used to coming up with ideas pretty quickly.0278

It is interesting. I find myself, if I have an appointment to write a song with someone else,0287

I hope that when 3 o'clock shows up, I am going to have some ideas and be inspired.0294

I would hate to just walk into the room and not have anything. I mean, I just hope the person plays something, or they have an idea or concept.0298

But, if you can think of that beforehand and come up with an idea or two and come prepared0305

to that collaboration session, I think it is going to make it that much more successful.0312

No. 4: research who you are writing with. There are many different genres, and we are going to talk about them more specifically next time.0316

But, there is pop. There is country.0325

There is RnB. There is also jazz.0327

There is gospel. There is Americana.0330

There is heavy metal. There is rock.0331

There is rap.0333

If you are not familiar with the artist you are writing with or their style of music or their genre or who their influences are, do some research.0335

Be really well-prepared, so when you come to that meeting and that collaboration, you are going have it be that much more successful.0344

No. 03 be flexible. A collaboration is a collaboration.0351

So, if you are coming up with ideas, and the other person is coming up with ideas, try and think of 50-50.0358

Maybe their idea for the verse is better than yours. I want it to be the best song it can be.0364

If it means that the melody you came up with is much better than mine, I am very humble in this situation.0371

I do not care if it is my melody that makes it in, if your melody is going to make it that much better of a song.0377

So, no. 6: follow up politely.0382

Sometimes you write with someone, and it goes really well; and you never work with them again. It is weird when it happens.0388

But, you want to follow up. Tell them it was really awesome writing with them and meeting with them.0394

Would they like to write with you again? If they say that their schedule is busy, maybe their schedule is busy.0398

Or maybe they would just prefer not to write again.0406

You know, building a relationship with another songwriter or co-writer or co-collaborator, it takes time to find that really good fit energy-wise.0410

No. 7: share your goals. You might have this desire to write songs for your album that you are recording yourself.0419

And this person might be a great person to write a song with for your album.0426

But, if you do not tell them that, they are not necessarily going to know that they should be concentrating on writing for you.0430

And maybe they want to write a song for Beyoncé, and maybe your style of music and who you are as an artist has nothing to do with Beyoncé.0437

So, keep that in mind.0445

And then, no. 8: continue to have fun. Enjoy this process.0447

Getting to know other people in your field is so much fun, and go to open mic nights0453

and hear a bunch of other people play and just see who you gravitate towards.0460

And also speaking to that idea, once you meet a lot of different people, maybe you could host some type of collaboration party0464

where you just invite 4 or 6 songwriters over, have some snacks, and then, just start pairing up, who is going to write with who.0472

And then, maybe these two people will write a verse and then, give it to that person, or write the chorus in.0478

Just have really fun experimenting with who you write with and getting to know other artists in your field.0483

So, the last exercise or thing to talk about is I just want to touch a tiny bit on the business of songwriting.0491

The music business is a business, and the more you can appreciate that, that the song that you are writing...0497

And I want you to completely enjoy the creative process.0505

But, once you write a song that is good, and people are starting to hear it, it really is a product to that point.0508

And I want to give you a few guidelines on how to best protect your songs.0513

Let's talk about recording demos.0520

Initially, I just want you to write as much as you can. Eventually, you are going to get to the point where you might have 3 or 4 songs.0522

And you really just want to go into the studio and hear how they sound. That is a very exciting time.0529

Studio time: practice in being prepared with charts. I cannot emphasize this enough.0535

When you are ready to go into a studio to record some of your songs, you are paying them by the hour.0542

So, if you show up, and the musicians that you have hired do not know your song,0548

you do not have charts, and you are just overall not prepared at all, you have not practiced enough to get to that point,0553

you are going to pay a lot more for all that time that you are wasting, and you are not going to enjoy it as much because you are going to be stressed.0560

Practice as much as you can before you go into the studio. Practice!0565

OK, next step is submitting material. It really depends on the type of songs that you write.0574

Maybe your songs are really good for a film, maybe for a commercial or a TV show, or maybe for a specific artist to record them.0580

You first have to determine what your songs are best for. Maybe they are good for a video game.0589

I actually just wrote a song for my friend's video game.0593

And I got to see the trailer for the video game, and then, I wrote a song that I thought would be wonderful for that.0597

You want to submit material for what it is appropriate for.0604

If you are sending songs in for a TV show, let's say, and there is this hit show called Mad Man.0608

The entire show takes place in the 1960s, so for you to send a song that would be really appropriate in the last two years,0614

it would never find its place in that show.0623

It is just not appropriate for that. So, you want to submit you material for what it is appropriate for.0625

Building relationships: this is probably the biggest lesson I have learned being in the music industry. It is all about relationships.0630

I do not even want to call it a mistake, but one choice I made early on in my career is I tried to do every single thing myself.0639

Not only did that make me exhausted, but I was so alone.0645

I was touring the country, and at the time, I did not have a booking agent or a manager or a publicist or someone doing my internet marketing.0651

I just took on way too many jobs, and there are people that are amazing agents. They are amazing managers.0659

They are amazing music supervisors etc., and they are much better at doing their job than I am.0667

So, the idea for you to open yourself up to the idea to meet people in your industry is a wonderful thing.0674

And it is only going to make your career that much better for it.0681

Getting a mentor: this is a wonderful idea for anyone. Find someone who you think is an amazing songwriter.0684

Figure out how they got their break. Figure out how they got their start.0694

At what age did they have their first hit, and then, eventually, contact that person. Ask them to mentor you.0698

Writing out your goals: I think the first step towards reaching your goals is having the courage to write out what you really want.0705

If your career, if you are destined to be an amazing songwriter, write that, that is what you want, and you will figure out how to get there.0714

Meeting other songwriters and producers: we already talked about this a little bit as far as collaboration goes.0721

Meet as many people as you can in your industry.0727

Build a camaraderie with other songwriters or singer-songwriters that you really like,0729

and you really respect their work and even better if they respect your work, too.0735

Going to networking events: I am here in Los Angeles, there are so many music networking events.0739

But, in addition to going to open mics, if there are any networking events in your area where you live, absolutely get out there.0746

And meet as many musicians and songwriters as you can.0753

Being a professional: I think how you carry yourself is really indicative to what type of career you are going to have.0756

So, I would just remember to always be professional and polite with people.0765

And here is another thing about this industry. You never know what someone is going to be a year from now.0769

You could have a runner at a music studio where it is their job when you meet them, all they do was to grab everybody food.0774

And then, 8 months later, they are an A&R director at a major label. I swear to god, it happens all the time.0781

Just be nice. Treat every single person the way you want to be treated.0787

Being a solo artist or starting a band: once you write a few songs, you might decide that you want to just0791

be up there with you and piano or you and guitar and just being a solo artist and playing your songs- that is wonderful.0798

You might think that your songs really would sound best in a band setting, so you want to start meeting other musicians and starting your own band.0803

Wherever your songs take you is a good place.0811

Lastly, performing: this, kind of, goes in line with, as I said, practicing before you enter the studio.0814

Perform as much as you can. It is something that I do not think you can ever have too much experience.0823

And every single time you get on stage, I still get a tiny bit nervous.0829

Not nervous enough that I completely freak out, but there is nothing like being on a stage.0834

It is a home away from home, and so, I hope you enjoyed this little foray into the business side of things.0840

This is such a creative industry, and I just want to give you a few ideas of what to do with your songs in the next step of your career.0848

And thank you for tuning in to Educator.com, and I will see you at the next lesson.0856


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