It is my personal belief that most songwriting knowledge must come from the student. The student should be instructed in music theory, especially in chord progressions, and should know how to play a musical instrument (generally, a piano or guitar.) The student should be shown and taught various popular chord progressions, and given popular examples that can listen and follow along to. In later lessons, as student should be taught a more general approach to chords so as to learn how and why certain chords go together. The student should learn scales, rhythms and would benefit from being able to read music. Often, the most difficult part of songwriting is learning how to take the ideas that you imagine for a song, and translate them into music you can play, write, program, etc. For this, repeated attempts at songwriting, familiarity with a wide range of music, chord progressions and melodic ideas is very useful. Students should be shown the basic components of a song, such as verse, chorus, bridge, prechorus, coda, etc. Students should know how to work within a scale to create coherent progressions and melodies. Students should also, if desired, be given the tools and knowledge to create lyrics for the songs; most importantly: how to match lyric syllables to notes in a melody, and how to tweak lyrics or poems to match the song rhythm, or vice versa.
I am a recorded singer songwriter and am shortly releasing my first album of original material. I have fronted two bay area rock bands, where I was the principle songwriter. I also was the principle arranger during my time as director of Acquire a Cappella at UC Santa Cruz, so I am experience in writing original songs, compositions, covers and arrangements. I have been formally trained in music theory, and I arrange on guitar and can teach students to play guitar at the level required for composition.
A student who wishes to master voice must master learn to master the individual processes that go into correct vocal technique. Correct vocal technique starts in making sure the vocalist has proper breath support, from the diaphragm. The student should learn the difference between chest voice, head voice, mixed voice and falsetto, and should be instructed, via specific warmups, how to utilize each register and transition between them smoothly. The student should be taught to remove tension from the voice, by using larynx muscles instead of throat muscles to shape the vocal chords and pitches, by removing extraneous breath from the vocal process, thereby streamlining the vocal process. The student should learn which part of the vocal tract (chest, head, etc) different ranges of notes should resonate, in order to achieve power, volume, flexibility and relaxation. The student may then learn others techniques, such as how to develop their own vocal sound for any musical style they wish to perform, or how to develop vibrato.
I am a formally trained vocalist and a recorded singer and songwriter. I have fronted two bay area rock bands as lead singer and was also a four year member of Acquire a Cappella at UC Santa Cruz, where I was elected as tenor section leader in my very first year and later as group director in my fourth, where I led the group to the quarterfinals of the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella. In my time as director, I was in charge of the majority of voice training within the group.