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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.

A song is a magical marriage of words and music. For the popular songwriter this means being both a composer and, to a certain extent, a poet. Composing words and music and marrying them together can be very hard work (or as Jimmy Webb says, "if it isn't, you're not doing it properly"), but doing it well can also be extremely lucrative. This paper provides students with the fundamental skills to embark on a songwriting career, 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) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,692.00

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Schedule C
Arts and Music
Before enrolling in MUSI 135, students are strongly advised to have taken MUSI 191 or have an equivalent music background.

Teaching staff

Teaching Staff: Dr Ian Chapman
Dr John Egenes
Dr Madeleine Parkins-Craig

Teaching Arrangements
Two 1-hour classes per week.

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 9-13, 15-16, 18-21
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 9-13, 15-21
B1 Monday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-40
Wednesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-40