On this page you will find required materials for lessons on songwriting,
composition, and music theory here at Promethean Studios and various other
resources for these topics as well. The resources on this page are specifically
for songwriting, composition, and music theory, more generic resources
(music stores, recording studios, etc) are listed
here. At the time this information was entered, all links worked and products
listed were available. For information purposes only; we won't post
resources when we know there might be any sort of problem with a product,
business, or person listed but please check out the reliability, appropriateness,
and reputation of any resource you plan to use. If you have any additional
questions, please ask your teacher or email us at
These lessons: Most students who take these lessons want to learn how to write popular
songs like on the radio or YouTube. However, this type of lesson could
also include any of the following 3 disciplines or a mix thereof. Please
look at them and think about what
you want to learn.
Songwriting. Writing popular songs. These lessons are ½ writing new songs and
½ understanding music theory. The understanding of music theory
allows the student to create excellent songs independent of others. Songwriting
students need to quickly learn to play a chording instrument at an extremely
basic level. This is for you, the student, so that someone else isn't
writing half of each song for you (the chord structure). You don't
have to play well, just enough to make a few chords. Students who do not
play a chording instrument (ex., guitar or piano) should begin to learn
enough of one of these instruments to create very basic chords.
Composition and Arranging. This is writing instrumental or vocal music of a more serious nature,
normally classically oriented. Movie and game scoring fall in this category.
Instruction includes writing, arranging, scoring & orchestration,
form & analysis, chords, chord function & analysis, ear training,
music history, 16th - 20th century compositional techniques.
Jazz composition may be oriented towards either songwriting or composition.
Music Theory. For students who want to focus on improving their theory knowledge and
skills exclusively. Instruction will be divided between cognitive, ear
training, and sight-singing. Theory is about making your brain work for
your music and cuts years of learning time.
Please have these for your Lessons:
An instrument in fair condition. I can advise you on the suitability of specific instruments.
3 ring binder with loose-leaf paper and pockets for holding handouts. Yes, really.
Pencil. Erasable, colored pencils are best.
Manuscript paper (music paper, staff paper).
Hover over the resources tab of Dallas Music Lessons, select Music and Tab paper and
print 5 sheets of ‘medium music paper, treble clef only’, bring
them to your lesson. Feel free to download any of the other types of music paper you want
and your friends can, too. For assignments and written exercises.
5 GB flash drive or larger. (suggestions and details below).
Download Audacity – details below.
Leave it home.
Metronome or Drum machine (suggestions and details below).
Leave your metronome at home.
Classical students - Theoretical Foundations of Music, Duckworth and Brown, Wadsworth Publishing Co.
Jazz students - The Jazz Language - Dan Haerle, Warner.
More details and resources:
Pencil. Musicians write with pencils because they make changes to their music
and make frequent notations on the pages. Erasable, colored pencils are best.
5 GB flash drive (or larger). To record your lesson.
Bring this to your lesson. When you begin each lesson, give your flash drive to your teacher and
they'll record your lessons. Be sure and take the drive with you when
you leave and listen to it in your computer the day of or the day after
your lesson. This will give you a way to review the lesson and give me
a way to send demonstrations of technique or songs home with you. If you'll
review your lesson each week, you'll progress about 5 to 10% faster.
Audacity. Also, if you'd like to get a even more out of some of your own practices,
go back to
www.dallasmusiclessons.com, this time actually click the
Resources tab, go down to ‘recording and editing’ and download
Audacity, a free computer-based recording program. It does many great things to
help you practice; people even make professional albums with it. You can
change the pitch of your song, record yourself, record yourself playing
with your song, or isolate sections of songs for practice. Many good things.
Leave your metronome at home, but you need it to practice. Apps for iphone – Tempo Advance is
the best - $4. For Android, Tempo - $2. Standalone metronomes: Planet
Waves PW-MT-02 ($15), Korg MA-1 ($20-25).
Use the metronome whenever possible. It will develop your sense of rhythm and counting; equally important,
it will show you
where you should be practicing. If you follow the beat from the metronome in
songs and exercises, the areas where you don't do well will be revealed,
and you'll know where to spend extra practice time. The metronome
is your drummer.
When you’re having trouble getting into the metronome, use a drum
machine. For iphone, use Garage Band, for Android use Drummer Friend -
$3. Standalone drum machine: Boss DB-60. And a little home keyboard with
rhythms and metronomic markings works well, too.
Students who practice with metronomes or rhythm machines will also progress
about 5 to 10 percent faster.
Harvard Brief Dictionary of Music. Recommended, but not required. Definitions for many useful musical terms
are found here.
More songwriting resources:
Dallas Songwriters Association,
https://dallassongwriters.org Meets the second Tuesday Monthly Meetings at 6:30 PM. A past president
was a former student of mine.
http://www.copyright.gov You can register a copyright here.
http://copyright.columbia.edu/copyright/copyright-in-general/copyright-quickguide/ . Fairly extensive information here.
Music notation software:
http://musescore.org/. MuseScore is a free cross-platform WYSIWYG music notation program.
Recording and editing in addition to Audacity (see above):
http://www.audio-tool.net Sound recording software for FREE!
http://www.reaper.fm REAPER is a fully featured multitrack audio and MIDI recording, editing,
processing, mixing, and mastering environment. This is a $60 pretty good DAW.