Songwriting Class

By Cameron Ward

Photography by Eddie Power

For years, my life has revolved around music. Not so uncommonly, I listen to music when I wake up in the morning and when I go to bed at night. However, since entering college I spend most of my days studying music. Attending music class after music class, and spending hours upon hours practicing, music seems to be equal parts love, passion, and task for me. The opportunity to teach a songwriting class at HCU has offered me a refreshing perspective on music, and let me see music through a lense that I have not in some time now.

The goal of the class is to empower students with the tools to express themselves through music. Consequently, the class focuses on creative writing techniques and self-expression by developing students’ ability to communicate their emotions through songwriting. So far, we have honed in on the importance of emotional analysis and worked on freewriting activities. For example, allowing students to write about a given topic for three-four minutes while an entire song plays in the background without erasing or backtracking. This activity initiates the writing process, and uncovers uncensored thoughts and emotions. It does this by not allowing time for students to screen or judge their thoughts. I believe the students have made excellent progress, although they have taught me a few things about music as well. They have reminded me of what it is to have a pure love for music: a love that is not ambitious or demanding, but rather simple. For me music is a career path, and I have treated it as such: practicing until I feel like I can sing no longer and always in search of new opportunities. The students have reminded what it is like to enjoy music with no strings attached. They enjoy music just as it is, singing and dancing along to whatever is playing.

These students embody the true nature of music: a powerful social tool that joins and liberates listeners.