As usual, there’s so much I want to talk to you about, but…time. I want to talk about different musical discoveries. I want to talk about progress, or lack thereof, with different instruments. I want to tell you that I’m practicing non-stop (not true). I want to tell you about some cool music discoveries from the PA Renaissance Faire…there’s a lot going on at the moment, really.
But, for now, all I’m going to do is talk about my ‘out of the gate’ impression of “Songwriting” which is one of the online courses offered by Coursera.
Now, let’s go into this with some basic background: I probably don’t really need a songwriting course. But, all information is good information and I figured I might get a kernel or two out of it that would make it worthwhile. I did major in Literature in college, which also is going to play some part in my impressions on any writing course, song or otherwise. I am a writer and poet. Those things are all going to color my opinion of this course in no small measure.
So we open it up, and it’s just a guy sitting before a black screen. Talking. It looks more like a dramatic presentation than anything instructional. Really, at first glance, it’s pure farce. The point is to illustrate that by writing songs, we are telling stories. No kidding. He tells us that there are things any good song (or story) have. No kidding.
Then, he goes on and on about the different point of views. (First Person, Third Person, Second Person, Direct Address). And then, you have to take a quiz on point of view.
I’m not sure if you can tell, guys, but my eyebrow is twitching. Understanding that there are different points of view from which songs can be written and that they will affect the intimacy level of the song. Yes, that’s important. Being able to identify those points of view? Nonsensical. This will NOT make you a better songwriter. This will not help your songwriting AT ALL. EVER.
Having taken several (mandatory – due to issues with college classes not transferring properly…multiple times) creative writing classes, I can tell you very explicitly and with absolute certainty that no creative writing teacher will ever ask you to do this. Why not? Because it’s creative writing, not Lit 101. Therefore, in songwriting, it should be equally understood that someone who is going to write a song, in theory, actually understands the basic bones of the language they are planning to write it in. (For sake of argument, English, as that’s the language I’m working with.) If you do not know how to read and write, creative writing, or songwriting, which is a type of creative writing, is just plain going to be beyond your abilities until you’ve learned those basic language fundamentals.
So, out of the gate, the Songwriting course looks like a complete joke. One should assume, in teaching a songwriting course, that while some light discussion on point of view may be helpful, it is not, and should not, be a fundamental point of the course.
So, we’re looking at a very overdone, dramatized instruction, to no purpose, so we can talk about the fundamentals of English usage? You can’t be serious.
I do hope that as the course goes on, it actually says something that I didn’t learn in elementary school, but if this is where we’re getting started, my expectations are at sea level and sinking.
Until Next Time, will be multitasking my way through this nonsense.