Learn How to Turn Your Creative Ideas into Finished Songs
Next course starts 25 April 2017
'The idea of songwriting is a transformative thing, and what I do with songwriting is take situations that are quite ordinary and transform them in some way. [T]he songs I write, at their core, are quite ordinary human concerns, but the process of writing about them transforms them into something else.'
– Nick Cave
Taught by songwriter and musician Kieran McEvoy, the New School’s Songwriting Workshop is a hands-on course, designed to help you develop your creative ideas – in any music genre – and turn them into finished songs. Participants whose primary interest is lyric writing, music writing – or both – are welcome. Those who play an instrument or sing can incorporate it into their work. Those who do not will be able to use the instrumental and vocal abilities of Kieran and the other participants to bring their songs to completion. Music reading and previous songwriting experience are not necessary to participate in the workshop, and knowledge of a chordal instrument (guitar, piano, etc.) is helpful but not required.
The workshop will begin with a discussion of participants’ questionnaire responses (see reverse) and what they would like to accomplish, as well as an introduction to the craft of songwriting, starting with song ‘elements’ (verse, chorus, bridge, outro, metre, rhyme, etc.) and their various permutations. Kieran will also play one or two of his own songs to demonstrate some of what he will cover in the course. Participants will then start to work on their own songs, both individually and with others.
Songwriting Workshop classes are intended to be instructive, encouraging and collaborative. Here is some of what’s covered:
- Using various exercises to break ‘writer’s block’ and get the songwriting juices flowing.
- Examining great songs – in a range of genres – and what makes them work.
- Learning about lyric writing. What makes a great first line? What makes a great chorus? (The verses of the song are like climbing up a mountain. The chorus is the view from the top. When you get to the top, the view better be worth the climb!)
- Learning about melody writing, both the sung melody (a ‘singable’ melody is always more memorable) and instrumental lines, including crafting the ‘hook’ (that brief, irresistible bit of music that the listener will remember even after hearing a song only once).
- Discussion of the ‘business’ of songwriting, including publishing, royalties, song placement, etc.
- Regular feedback from Kieran and the other participants.
Workshop participants will have the opportunity to showcase some of the material they have worked written, both individually and collectively, in a final performance, open to the public. You are encouraged to invite family and friends along!
All participants are asked to print, complete and bring with them to the first class a Songwriting Workshop Questionnaire (see below).
Aidan Williams performs his song ‘Jess Sent Me the Words’ at a Songwriting Workshop showcase.
The Songwriting Workshop is one of our group courses. Private and and one-off 'intensive' songwriting lessons are also available. Go to Theory, Musicianship & Songwriting for more information.
Back to top
Comments from Students
'This course gave me great confidence in songwriting, and to have the guidance of a professional songwriter was so helpful. The course helped me both lyrically and musically to realise my songwriting potential, and I am now constantly writing new material.'
– A. Bradley
'Kieran's relaxed way of teaching makes you feel at home on the course and gives you the confidence to perform in front of your fellow classmates. I can't believe I stood up in front of a room full of people and performed my own songs! It was an amazing experience.'
– F. Hannon
'In 10 weeks I finished 4 songs. I found my melodic voice, which I thought was impossible as I don't play an instrument. I'd like to do a more advanced class with Kieran!'
– S. Kelly
'Take that chance – it is never too late. From the day I signed up for the course to the last session the teacher and staff were so helpful and friendly. Just go for it!'
– S. Toner
'Great, flexible, friendly and encouraging teacher.'
– C. Fay
'Creativity at its best!'
– M. Kerrigan
Have you taken – or are you taking – this course? We would appreciate it if you could take a few moments to give us your feedback in a brief online questionnaire. Each term all feedback questionnaires are entered in a draw for a €50 gift token, which can be used either towards additional tuition at the school or for instruments, sheet music or accessories at Waltons Music shops.
Back to top
Kieran McEvoy, Teacher
Kieran, 'one of Ireland’s unsung guitar heroes and songwriters' (Hot Press), hails from Dublin and has been a professional musician for many years, performing with many different bands and solo artists. He lived and worked as a musician for eight years in New York City, where he played guitar, sang and contributed songwriting to bands such as the Sony-signed roots act Naked Grape, Indie folk rocker Melissa Sheehan and Electra Records glam rockers Smashed Gladys, among others. On returning to Ireland in 1996, he recorded on his sister Eleanor McEvoy's Columbia Records album What's Following Me and toured the US, Europe and Ireland with Eleanor and her band. He also co-wrote ‘Make Mine a Small One’ with Eleanor, which features on her album Early Hours. Since then he collaborated with Australian singer-songwriter Chiara Browne and co-wrote many songs with her for The Rose Ponies, the band they formed together. Kieran is currently writing a new album with B & The Honeyboys, the band he formed with his partner Aileen Mythen in 2006, who have received critical acclaim for their debut album. He is also a full-time singer and songwriter in The Gospel Project, whose debut album, released in the summer of 2009, features his song ‘Overcome’. Kieran continues to work with many other bands and artists, including Luan Parle, Bagatelle and Mickey Harte, as well as with B & The Honeyboys. He believes the craft of songwriting is a skill that can be taught, and having done several IMRO songwriting workshops and taught songwriting for Songschool, he has the commitment and skills to guide any musician – or indeed non-musician – in that craft.
Back to top
2016-2017 Third Term Course Schedule & Fee
10 weeks, 25 April – 27 June 2017
Tuesdays 7.30 – 9 pm
Tuition Fee: €250
Back to top
Enrolment for this course requires a completed Enrolment Form and full payment of the tuition fee. Places are available on a first-come, first-served basis, based on the date of enrolment. Early enrolment is recommended, as places are limited to ten.
Purchasing this course as a gift? Please complete a Gift Certificate Booking Form.
Located in Dublin city centre, Waltons New School of Music is a comprehensive music centre, combining music tuition of the highest standard with innovative approaches to music education. The New School offers tuition in the broadest range of instruments and subjects of any music school in Ireland, for students of all ages, levels and abilities.
Back to top