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Psalms Hymns and Spiritual Songs: Writing for Congregations
TH 1:30pm - 3:20pm
The overall aim of this course is to promote high quality writing skills for songs and prayers specifically for the context of Christian worship. The course will include theory on the musical/literary features of songwriting, analysis of existing works, and the study of various writers’ process. A substantial part of the course material, and most of the assessment, will be devoted to learning practical writing skills: each student will be expected to produce songs, prayers and liturgical readings for critical assessment and further editing. Each session begins with teaching content, followed by class critique of writing exercises. Preparation for each week is a practical writing exercise, and/or reading ahead on theory or analysis.
Some prior interest in writing either lyrics or melody, or both, and a love of Christian worship song in any style.
It is possible to take this course as a lyrics-only writer, but you need to have an appreciation of melody in order to do that. If you want to write music as well as lyrics, you need to have sufficient ability to communicate your song ideas.
Attendance at class is vital, as much of the course is carried out as practical coaching work in the classroom. Also: reading, writing exercises and a songwriting journal.
Final portfolio will contain: a) a selection of songs (lyrics or lyrics-and-music), presented as sheet music, with lo-tech recordings of each song. b) a 10-page essay that explores one of the areas of theory from the course. The grade is awarded on the basis of evidence of development in writing ability, and a clear grasp of the principles of writing for congregations.