Songwriting is easy…right? Write some words, add some music, and you’re done! But where do those ideas come from, and how do you coax inspiration to strike? How do you know what lyrical style, song structure, mood, and tempo will work best for a lyric? How do you build drama and momentum into your narrative, and write music that helps tell the story? All the great singer-songwriters know how to make a song work on paper and on stage. You in turn can spend decades learning these skills on your own, or you can let the seasoned professionals at Berkleemusic teach them to you in a matter of months, and get busy discovering your own voice and style. The Professional Singer-Songwriter certificate is designed to give you the vocal and guitar skills you need to make the most of your technique and talent.
The first step is to make the most of your singing voice in Voice Technique 101. In this course you’ll learn to sing with more freedom, sing simple harmonies, use proper breath control, and understand how to take care of your voice. You will also learn simple warm-up and performance techniques to help you remain loose and confident onstage.
You already know how to play standard open and barre chords on the guitar. But do you know why each note in the chord is necessary? Why certain chords lead naturally to others? Which notes you can leave out? How to re-voice the chord to maximize its strength or its leading tendencies? You’ll learn all this and more in the first course of your program with Guitar Chords 101. By the end you will be able to play with greater expressivity and dynamics, and have an extensive chord vocabulary, which will prove invaluable in pursuing any style of music.
Next, you will study Pop and Rock Vocals, and learn the secrets of vocal expression, stagecraft, and most of all, storytelling. Throughout the course you’ll learn the techniques of world-class singers such as John Lennon / Paul McCartney, Janis Joplin, Robert Plant, Tina Turner, Bob Dylan, Elton John, Madonna, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Tori Amos, Gwen Stefani, Mariah Carey, Alicia Keys, and many others, and learn to perform an impressive variety of vocal styles ranging from lyrical pop to hard rock. You will also learn important physical elements such as breath support, which is crucial for pulling off this demanding vocal style.
What good is a great singing voice if you have nothing to sing? The remainder of your coursework will give you the tools you need to write great songs that emotionally move your listener. First, you will learn to brainstorm vivid and compelling lyrics in Lyric Writing: Tools and Strategies written by legendary Berklee professor Pat Pattison. When you are done, you will know how to generate ideas and find the right words to express them, be able to organize rhythms and rhymes into compelling verses, choruses and bridges, and understand how to construct a compelling narrative in your songs.
Finally, you’ll unlock the secrets behind hit songwriting in Songwriting: Writing Hit Songs. This course will teach you the structures and patterns that underlie hundreds of hit songs from the past half-century, and help you use these techniques to craft strong and memorable songs of your own. You’ll also learn how to combat writer’s block, learn tips for expressing your ideas, and work toward finding your own songwriting voice.
With the tools you acquire in this certificate program, you will be able to make the most of your passion and talent, become a more complete musician and songwriter, and begin to craft and perform songs that express your unique voice.