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MUSI135 Songwriting

The development of songwriting skills including lyric writing, structure and composition techniques across a wide range of popular music styles.

Writing a song can be easy, but writing a good song? Not so much. Getting the right words to interact with the right music, at the right time, can be a difficult balancing act, but that is the job charged to the songwriter. This paper provides students with the fundamental skills of songwriting to get that balance just right, including lyric writing, song structure and basic composition techniques.

Students enrolling in MUSI 135 are strongly encouraged to also enrol in MUSI 132 Music Technology.

Paper title Songwriting
Paper code MUSI135
Subject Music
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Full Year (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,141.35
International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.

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Schedule C
Arts and Music

Students are strongly advised to have taken or be currently studying MUSI 191, or have a basic knowledge of music.


Teaching staff

Teaching Staff: Dr Maddy Parkins-Craig
Dr Ian Chapman
Mr David Harrison

Teaching Arrangements

Two 1-hour classes per week, with workshops throughout the year.


Textbooks are not required for this paper.
Resources and texts will be made available to students throughout the course of the paper where required.

Course outline

Please contact the School of Performing Arts for a copy of the most recent paper profile.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Lifelong learning, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Research, Self-motivation.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
Students who successfully complete the paper will develop the work ethic of a creative mind, which involves drafting, editing and revising both language and music and a highly honed critical faculty as to what constitutes a final artefact.

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Full Year

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 09:00-09:50 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21
Wednesday 14:00-14:50 9-14, 16-22
B1 Monday 09:00-09:50 29, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40
Wednesday 11:00-11:50 28-34, 36-41