Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2021
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Advisory: Not open to students with credit in MUS 58B.
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable


Workshop course for intermediate songwriters that focuses on contemporary and songwriting methodology. Different songwriting components and structures are presented. Students are assigned weekly songwriting projects and are expected to submit finished songs with all the necessary components. Course includes analytical listening and discussion of various songwriting styles. Course is appropriate for medium levels of songwriting competency.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Discuss and explain modern songwriting techniques
B. Compose and present completed original songs
C. Identify the various song components
D. Break down the songs of others

Course Content

A. Lyric writing
1. Poetic devices
2. Conversation tone
3. Song components
4. Song analysis
5. Love of language
B. Songwriting process
1. The process of lyric and melody writing
2. Hooks
C. Lyric technique and more on melody
1. Confessional songwriting
2. Attention to detail
3. The use of "places" in songwriting
4. Composite characters
5. Using all your senses
6. Use of repetition
7. Variation
8. Contrast
9. Song development
10 Writing verse melodies
11. Writing pre-chorus melodies
12. Writing chorus melodies
13. Writing bridge melodies
14. Creating melodies that are easy to sing

Lab Content

The student is required to compose completed songs on a weekly basis outside of the classroom. These songs must meet the requirements of the assignment and must include the basic song components clearly identified. These completed songs are presented to the class and then are evaluated, commented on and graded by the instructor.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. When taught on campus:
1. Classroom with digital recording system for student feedback.
2. Projection system for video and multimedia content.
3. Basic Sound reinforcement system for in-class performances.
4. Drums and amplifiers.
5. Grand piano.
B. When taught via Foothill Global Access:
1. On-going access to computer with email software and capabilities.
2. Email address.
3. JavaScript enabled internet browsing software.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Writing completed song assignments
Taking quizzes
In-class participation
Online participation

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Oral presentations
When taught via Foothill Global Access: supplemental lectures, and assignments are delivered via email. Feedback is delivered via email. Class discussion takes place in online forums and chat rooms

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Pattison, Pat. Writing Better Lyrics. 2010.

Zollo, Paul. Songwriters On Songwriting. 2003.

Although these texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, they remain seminal texts in this area of study.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Reading assignments include multimedia lessons created by the instructor and delivered via Etudes
B. Writing assignments include:
1. Writing a complete song in the style of a songwriting hero
2. Writing a complete song in the narrative style
3. Writing a complete song over assigned chords
4. Writing a complete song that includes the following components: verses, choruses and a bridge
5. Write in the style of one of your songwriting heroes


Commercial Music