Our City Music Program.

Breif Unit Overview.

The following program will equip students with key knowledge about songwriting, recording techniques and how a professional recording studio works which are crucial skills to implement and develop as a professional recording artist. The key areas of focus will be planning, production, recording and reflection. 

Students will be required to fill out worksheets during studio sessions, detailing their ideas before beginning the songwriting process. After planning is complete, they will spend the majority of the unit carefully constructing their song, using an industry-standard song structure. Whilst writing their songs, they will be educated about audio formats and engineering terms that are essential to crafting the sound of their song. After they have written their songs, they will be allowed to have their song professionally recorded, mixed and mastered. They may choose to record the song themselves or delegate it to an artist from Burncity Studio to record it for them.  

LEARNING OUTCOMES.

  1. Use cognitive and creative skills to plan and structure the songwriting process.  
  2. Successfully write and co-produce a song at a commercial level. 
  3. Demonstrate knowledge related to music recording and production processes. 
  4. Exercise critical thinking and judgment in arranging and shaping a song.
  5. Review and analyse the outcomes of a project.

Detailed Unit Description.

Planning.

Students will learn an effective method for planning the songwriting process which will help increase their creative output. The planning process will explore 2 activities namely; musical aesthetics and creative intention.

Musical Aesthetics.

Students will be required to pick 3 songs to be used as reference tracks when writing their songs. They will also be required to fill out a worksheet that will ask them to describe 3 elements they liked from each song. This task will help give the students creative direction and inspiration for the song they are about to write.

Creative Intention.

Students will be required to continue completing the worksheet they’ve been given which explores their intention for creating their song (their ‘why’). They will be summarising what the purpose of the song is, who their audience is and how they are going to relate to their audience.

Audio Formats.

Students will learn the differences between mp3 and WAV file formats, this knowledge will help them distinguish between high and low-quality audio formats to prevent complications and misunderstandings when interacting with studios or music professionals in the future.

Production.

The production process will consist of understanding song structure, recording techniques and audio FX which will all contribute to shaping the sound of their song. 

Song Structure.

Students will learn in detail, the fundamental elements of structuring and arranging a song, via lectures and slides. The content discussed will be Intro, verse, pre-hook, hook, bridge, outro and examples of professional work that has implemented these ideas.

Recording Techinques.

Students will be taught to incorporate various recording techniques when writing their songs, such as tone, cadence, doubles, harmonies and ad-libs. They will also be introduced to several vocal warm-ups to ensure they achieve the best performance when recording their songs.

Processing Effects.

Students will explore fundamental audio FX such as reverbs, delays, flangers and pitch shifting so that they can expand their audio vocabulary and unlock new ways of thinking about music which will ultimately influence their songwriting.

Recording.

Students will be given the opportunity to have their songs professionally recorded by either themselves or they can elect an artist from Burncity Studio to record for them.

Self Recording.

If the students request to record the song themselves, they will be produced as professional artists and have the opportunity to implement vocal warm-up, recording techniques and audio FX throughout the recording process ultimately shaping the sound of the song.

Another Artist.

If students pick another artist to record their song, they will sit in on the recording session as a co-producer where they’ll be allowed to tell the artist how to sing the song by implementing knowledge about recording techniques and audio FX.

Evaluation.

After the song has been mixed and mastered by the engineer, students will receive a copy of the song and will be asked to write a short reflection. The reflection will be in the format of the gibs reflective cycle, with questions prompting them to evaluate their work.

Benefits of Learning Outcomes.

Musical aesthetic & creative intentions:

Allows students to research their interests and set goals in attaining that interest. This also teaches students to be intentional about the tasks they are performing by declaring their reasons as to why they are writing their song, whom they are writing to and how they can relate to them.

Understanding your demographic and thinking of ways to engage and relate with them is a crucial skill when dealing with any form of public relations or communication between employees, investors, classmates etc.

Audio formats:

Understanding how audio formats work in context with a professional studio can be useful to help students when interacting with producers, engineers and composers. Audio formats are commonly used within the music industry and it is important to know which audio formats students should be working with and which audio formats they should stay away from. This will also help students when uploading their music to streaming services and pitching for playlists or radio stations as all these platforms require a particular industry-standard file format.

Song Structure & Recording techniques:

Whether producing music or performing music, song structure and recording techniques are the foundation of any creative process used in the studio. Equipping students with this knowledge will give them a strong understanding of how songs are made from an industry perspective. This will allow the students to feel more confident when collaborating creatively with another artist as they already have a strong foundation of how the production process works.

Audio FX:

Understanding various audio FX will unlock the potential for students to think differently when approaching the creative process, when equipped with the knowledge of audio terminology they will be able to communicate new ideas effectively with producers, musicians and engineers. This will also encourage collaboration as students will be able to succinctly deliver their ideas using this terminology.

Recording:

Students will be given a rare opportunity to see how a professional studio session operates whilst recording a song that they wrote, encouraging them to feel inspired and accomplished. This experience will give them an opportunity to increase their social interaction skills as they communicate their ideas to the artist/producer detailing how they wish the song to sound. It will allow students to understand what it feels like to communicate using specific terminology in a professional environment.

Evaluation :

The evaluation report will help students reflect on their progress and understand how they can use this reflection to improve for future events. This reflection process is a vital life skill used to bring about development and progression. The program encourages a thorough reflection report to ensure that the students are aware of this process.

Weekly Topic Structure.

Day 1

Topic: Musical Aesthetics & Creative intention

Task/Activity: Identify creative direction and musical aesthetic

Day 2

Topic: Audio Formats, Song Structure: Pre-hook & Hook

Task/Activity: Song writing 

Day 3

Topic: Recording techniques: Harmonies & Adlibs, Tone, Doubles & vocal warmups.  

Song Structure: Intro/Outro & Verse

Task/Activity: Song writing 

Day 4

Topic: Audio FX: Reverb & Delay Flanger & Pitch shifting

Song Structure: Bridge.

Task/Activity: Song writing 

Day 5

Topic: Catchup Lesson/go over content.

Task/Activity: Song writing 

Day 6

Topic: Recording Session: Self-recording or Co-producing, Project Evaluation.

Task/Activity: Recording/Producing

Week
Day
Topic
Task/Activity
1
1
Musical Aesthetics & Creative intention
Identify creative direction and musical aesthetic
1
2
Audio Formats, Song Structure: Pre-hook & Hook
Song writing
2
3
Recording techniques: Harmonies & Adlibs, Tone, Doubles & vocal warmups. | Song Structure: Intro/Outro & Verse
Song writing
2
4
Audio FX: Reverb & Delay Flanger & Pitch shifting | Song Structure: Bridge.
Song writing
3
5
Catchup Lesson/go over content.
Song writing
3
6
Recording Session: Self-recording or Co-producing, Project Evaluation.
Recording/producing

All classes apart from recording sessions will include a 45min lecture, 15min break and a 1hr practical.      

Curriculum.

Day 1: Planning.

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Slideshow Presentation (Lecture).
12:30 – 1pm
Filling out worksheet.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Completing worksheets, brainstorming lyrics for the song and finding a backing track for their song.

Day 2: Pre-hook & Hook (Chorus).

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Slideshow Presentation (Audio formats, Pre-hook and Hook).
12:30 – 1pm
Exploring ideas for Pre-Hook and Hook.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Finish writing Pre-hook and hook. If there’s time left over start discussing how a verse works.

Day 3: Intro & Verse.

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Slideshow Presentation (Recording techniques, Intro & verse).
12:30 – 1pm
Exploring ideas for intro and verse.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Finish writing intro and verse. If there’s time left over start bridge.

Day 4: Bridge & Audio Effects.

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Slideshow Presentation (Bridge & Audio Effects).
12:30 – 1pm
Exploring ideas for bridge and how the use of audio effects can help.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Finish writing bridge.

Day 5: Catch-up lesson.

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Answering any questions or clearing up confusion with coursework.
12:30 – 1pm
Continue working on the song or if students are ahead, begin the recording session. Recording sessions would have been booked prior to the day 5 class.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Working on song/recording session.

Day 6: Recording Session.

Time
Item
12pm – 12:30pm
Recording Session.
12:30 – 1pm
Recording Session.
1pm – 1:30pm
Lunch.
1:30 – 3pm
Recording Session. Evaluation/Reflection worksheet (Gibs Reflective Cycle)
0:00
0:00