Anyone else taking Songwriting with Pat Pattison on Coursera?
Old 1st April 2013
  #1
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Anyone else taking Songwriting with Pat Pattison on Coursera?

Does anyone else think he's a horrible teacher?
Old 1st April 2013
  #2
Really???? Who have you found better than Pat? I feel he understands songwriting prolly better than any teacher I've come across.. What did you not like about him? Just curious ..
Old 1st April 2013
  #3
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Fun fact: Pat has around 65,000 students in that course.
Old 1st April 2013
  #4
Personally I've written #1 songs in multiple genre's, Grammy nom's , etc.. I'll go on the record saying "If I had the time I'd take his course.. Few people know more about songs than Pat.."

Clay
Old 1st April 2013
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
Personally I've written #1 songs in multiple genre's, Grammy nom's , etc.. I'll go on the record saying "If I had the time I'd take his course.. Few people know more about songs than Pat.."

Clay
Yeah, i hear you Clay!!! Always learning in order to improve our Craft.
Great attitude to have of not resting on your 'Laurels'.
Hats off to you once again!!!
-H.W.

P.S.- Have you check outindex.

Very interesting... Let me know what you think of this new notation method.
Science meets Art.
I'm just scratching the surface.
Old 1st April 2013
  #6
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Originally Posted by drdestrukto View Post
Does anyone else think he's a horrible teacher?
His book has book has improved my songwriting more than any other I've read in the past 15 years. He's not so much about "who's my target audience? and how I should appeal to them?", but he's more about...

1. Expanding and improving your lyric writing abilities, and
2. Giving you a bigger tool set to work with.

IMO, his exercises can improve your lyrics regardless of style. I will say doing his exercises does require some self-discipline. There's a lot I've never done.
Old 8th April 2013
  #7
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Yeah, its a great course, though the peer review aspect is frustrating many other students.

Its week 6 and now Pat is showing how it all comes together. Simple changes to the phrasing to match the emotion of the song is pure genius. I think they will run it again, if they do sign up, though I must warn you the week 5 Identifying Worksheet Rhyme Types Quiz is INSANE..... lol

Pat gives you tools for life.
Old 8th April 2013
  #8
Pat is a great analyzer of songs but peer evaluation is useless.. I'm a hit songwriter.. I don't look to peers to evaluate me.. That is bogus.. Why take a class from a teacher when you get reviewed by students who are jealous or potentially untalented or ignorant.. Does not make any sense
Old 8th April 2013
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
Pat is a great analyzer of songs but peer evaluation is useless.. I'm a hit songwriter.. I don't look to peers to evaluate me.. That is bogus.. Why take a class from a teacher when you get reviewed by students who are jealous or potentially untalented or ignorant.. Does not make any sense
I thought the same, then I participated in the peer reviews (cause if you did not you got hammered 20% of your assignment grade) and I learnt heaps. Each one I have received has been fine, others got abused!
Old 8th April 2013
  #10
Okay.. If peers knew that much about songwriting they would be teaching the class. Getting abused by peers simply is peers trying to feel superior. Not an environment that is professional creative or for learning.. Peer review is amateur review.. Not what I would take a class for ..
Old 8th April 2013
  #11
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I'm not taking the class -- though I considered it -- but I have been involved most of my writing life with writing workshops -- which I guess one might class as 'peer review' -- though that term of art (as it's used in other fields) suggests an entirely different sort of process.

Some folks don't get the concept of such a, we might say, 'crowd-sourced' constructive critique processes.

The point is that one should go into a workshop with the understanding that it is a crowd-sourced effort.

The effort isn't predicated on the hope that there will be one or two folks who are brilliant analysts who can cut to the quick of any creative problem -- but rather that if you have enough individuals sincerely telling what works and doesn't work for them in a given work, and that those data points can then be used by an open-minded artist who wants to know how his work is affecting others, in order to improve his craft.

The point is not to take every suggestion or comment as though it is gospel -- that's a fundamental misunderstanding of process.

Each comment, rather, should be treated simply as one person's reaction at a given time... but, with good process, the artist will hopefully receive a wide variety of comments that will hopefully give him better insight into how his song will affect a range of different people.


Of course, what would I know, I've never written a hit song.


(Nor, of course, do I think having written a hit song is a sign of anything whatsoever. Most of the crap one hears at the top of the charts is utter drivel -- which is a shame because there's a lot of great new music being made out there. But, you know, I often hear about these 'hot,' in-demand songewriters and then I go check their hits and... damn, mostly it's just strings of cliches glued together with buzz phrases.)
Old 8th April 2013
  #12
Personally, I think the idea that there is "Utter Drivel" mostly on the radio is uninformed .. I know first hand the amount of skill and creativity that went into many of my hits and the hits of my friends who are pro writers.. Not many people write at that high a skill level.. There are lots of people who sit back and claim there songs are better, I give you that much lol

As far as crowd sourcing.. Like I said before.. I respect Pat as a teacher.. Amateurs critiquing my song is just that.. Amateur with their own agendas and not a respected teacher or professional..
Old 8th April 2013
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
Personally, I think the idea that there is "Utter Drivel" mostly on the radio is uninformed .. I know first hand the amount of skill and creativity that went into many of my hits and the hits of my friends who are pro writers.. Not many people write at that high a skill level.. There are lots of people who sit back and claim there songs are better, I give you that much lol

As far as crowd sourcing.. Like I said before.. I respect Pat as a teacher.. Amateurs critiquing my song is just that.. Amateur with their own agendas and not a respected teacher or professional..
It's opinion, but it's hardly uninformed.

Also, you appear to be picking a quarrel with something I didn't actually say -- at least if you are under the impression that I had written that everything at the top of the charts is crap.

What I actually wrote was this:
Quote:
Most of the crap one hears at the top of the charts is utter drivel -- which is a shame because there's a lot of great new music being made out there. But, you know, I often hear about these 'hot,' in-demand songewriters and then I go check their hits and... damn, mostly it's just strings of cliches glued together with buzz phrases.
Now, you might suggest that I'm parsing words, here, but I wasn't talking about every song at the top of the charts -- rather, the crap songs at the top of the charts, or, rather, most of them. (In other words, I'm entirely open to the possibility that some of these crap songs are not utter drivel. ) At any rate, last time I checked, there were plenty.

All this is written with the understanding, of course, that we are talking about subjective valuation here, by necessity, as with almost any aesthetic discussion -- and what I consider crap may well strike others as pure genius.

No accounting, after all, for individual taste.
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1
Old 8th April 2013
  #14
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Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
Okay.. If peers knew that much about songwriting they would be teaching the class. Getting abused by peers simply is peers trying to feel superior. Not an environment that is professional creative or for learning.. Peer review is amateur review.. Not what I would take a class for ..
In a properly functioning writing workshop, no one gets abused.

The writing workshops in the real world and online that I've been involved with or observed either quickly evolve into cooperative ventures where mutual respect, consideration and helpfulness are the order of the day, or they quickly lose their members.

It's my thinking that the goal of such workshops is not to tell people the tips and tricks of writing hit songs or hit novels or whatever -- but to improve one's craft and one's knowledge of technique, as well as to help one with specific works. Such efforts prove helpful to some, but not to others, for a variety of individual reasons.

If such a workshop, perhaps, opens up one's perspective and introduces one to less narrow ways of looking at things, so much the better.
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Old 8th April 2013
  #15
I started taking the class and had to drop it due to time constraints. I will say from the first week, the video content was excellent, the presentation was a bit quirky, but not a problem.
The peer review thing is necessary because you are dealing with so many students. He can't review 65k assignments each week, so you have students review each assignment, and you should have an overall good bit of feedback.
Old 9th April 2013
  #16
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Originally Posted by Iostream View Post
I started taking the class and had to drop it due to time constraints. I will say from the first week, the video content was excellent, the presentation was a bit quirky, but not a problem.
The peer review thing is necessary because you are dealing with so many students. He can't review 65k assignments each week, so you have students review each assignment, and you should have an overall good bit of feedback.
What? No one-on-one?


The online, free education movement is in its infancy. It's going to take a while to figure out ways of making it work as well as it can.

Back in the day, I took some experimental classes that had previously been taught as survey classes (those big, lower division classes held in lecture halls with possibly hundreds of students) -- but which really seemed to come alive for a lot of students when they were recast as team-taught, with a central lecturer as usual, but with the enrollees broken into groups with a handful of team teachers assigned as floaters to 'moderate' and oversee discussions in the groups. Because of the size of the class and the limited number of team members, they tended to float between several groups. But it greatly helped shape the discussions in a positive direction -- particularly for those from disciplines where free-thinking group discussion was all but unheard of, a cohort often otherwise uncomfortable in such circumstances. The group-leading team were comprised of grad students from the department.


The economics of such online classes might prevent professional team leaders, but I could easily imagine those who had been through the class before perhaps volunteering to 'help out' much as volunteer moderators often do in online BB communities.
Old 9th April 2013
  #17
Old 9th April 2013
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
It's opinion, but it's hardly uninformed.

Also, you appear to be picking a quarrel with something I didn't actually say -- at least if you are under the impression that I had written that everything at the top of the charts is crap.

What I actually wrote was this:
Now, you might suggest that I'm parsing words, here, but I wasn't talking about every song at the top of the charts -- rather, the crap songs at the top of the charts, or, rather, most of them. (In other words, I'm entirely open to the possibility that some of these crap songs are not utter drivel. ) At any rate, last time I checked, there were plenty.

All this is written with the understanding, of course, that we are talking about subjective valuation here, by necessity, as with almost any aesthetic discussion -- and what I consider crap may well strike others as pure genius.

No accounting, after all, for individual taste.
Why when I state my opinion you accuse me of picking a quarrel!? I simply stated mine as did you.. You're entitled and so am I.. I can respect you have a different opinion..You said most songs at the top of the charts are "utter drivel" .. I happen to disagree since I know first hand the skill that is required to write a hit song .. Especially these days .. Most successful gifted writers I know are writing a couple 100 songs a year.. And coming up with amazing stuff...
I offer this.. Post your best non- drivel lyric here and I will post one of my hits.. And we can discuss the elements of writing that went into each.. Could be fun and educational
Old 9th April 2013
  #19
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I studied with Pat at Berklee. I haven't checked out this course, but my experience is that he has a deep understanding of the way language works in songs. I learned a ton from him in my 20s.
Old 9th April 2013
  #20
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Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
Why when I state my opinion you accuse me of picking a quarrel!? I simply stated mine as did you.. You're entitled and so am I.. I can respect you have a different opinion..You said most songs at the top of the charts are "utter drivel" .. I happen to disagree since I know first hand the skill that is required to write a hit song .. Especially these days .. Most successful gifted writers I know are writing a couple 100 songs a year.. And coming up with amazing stuff...
I offer this.. Post your best non- drivel lyric here and I will post one of my hits.. And we can discuss the elements of writing that went into each.. Could be fun and educational
Again, you seem intent on ignoring what I wrote; I quoted and then explained what I wrote at length above. Suggest you read it again.

You say you're not trying to pick a quarrel with my defense of writers' workshops against your derision -- yet you argue with my contentions -- even as I suggest that such workshops are, indeed, not for everyone. It certainly seems to me like someone trying to argue. But you say you're not. I'm not sure how to take that, since it flies in the face of what I see, but, whatever. Let's just say I'll stipulate that it's apparently not your conscious intent and leave it at that.


With regard to your suggested 'best song' competition -- I don't write for competitive purposes.

Maybe you have, indeed, written some fine songs; I wouldn't mind hearing them. And anyone interested in hearing my music need only check my sig area links (they should always appear on one's first post in a thread).

But I'm not interested -- in the slightest -- in some sort of unit-measuring contest. I know full well that there are better songwriters than I am out there -- because I hear and appreciate their songs. (Maybe not so much at the top of the charts. Every once in a while it happens. Just as in the past.)

And maybe some of those better writers might disagree with me about the potential value of workshops for some writers -- but their being presumably better writers isn't going to make their point of view any more pertinent as to whether other individuals might benefit from such workshops. If you don't get that, I don't see much more point in continuing this attempt at dialog.

I hope that makes my position here very clear.


PS... I just want to put a little friendlier face on this, since you do seem like a good guy with some valuable insights. Maybe I took your comments on the writing workshop approach a bit the wrong way. That said, while I understand they're not necessarily a good fit for everyone -- or at every point in one's writing 'career' -- I do think they can be enormously valuable for those so inclined or who can meet the process half-way -- particularly when there isn't a great teacher available to give critique and feedback. OK?
Old 9th April 2013
  #21
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Originally Posted by brill bedroom View Post
I studied with Pat at Berklee. I haven't checked out this course, but my experience is that he has a deep understanding of the way language works in songs. I learned a ton from him in my 20s.
This is the part that sounds most interesting to me from what's been written here.

I'm often fascinated by how just a few small changes in how one says a given thing in a song or other writing can greatly affect the tone. A few words, a slight shift in tone or descriptive shading, can mean the difference between a song that really communicates on multiple levels and one that is still trapped in unrealized potential.
Old 9th April 2013
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
This is the part that sounds most interesting to me from what's been written here.

I'm often fascinated by how just a few small changes in how one says a given thing in a song or other writing can greatly affect the tone. A few words, a slight shift in tone or descriptive shading, can mean the difference between a song that really communicates on multiple levels and one that is still trapped in unrealized potential.
In week 4 they uploaded 4 videos of one of Pats Master Classes with Singer/SW Allison Rapetti. MIND BLOWING!!
Old 9th April 2013
  #23
To TheBlue1....I seem to have touched a nerve here.. I simply disagree respectfully with your opinion that most chart topping songs are "utter drivel"..... and I in no way proposed a "best song" competition (music in my opinion is not a competition) .. I suggested we post two types if songs .. A chart topping hit and a "non-drivel song" , to use your terminology.. and compare as a learning tool the elements that make up those songs.. I'm always open to learning something new and it could be fun.. It's easy to sit back and blanketly criticize the work of those who create chart topping songs.. Let's compare?
And by the way.. I studied at Berklee with Pat Pattison.. Brilliant man. As I stated its my opinion that peer review is almost useless.. Many students can have personal agendas, useless bad songwriting habits, and no ability to get to the truth of the matter.. Sure some might have something valuable to say but you'd have to wade through a lot of wrong to find right.. Like going to MySpace.. How much music would you randomly sample to find something great.. Pat is great.. I put my money on him.
Old 10th April 2013
  #24
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Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
To TheBlue1....I seem to have touched a nerve here.. I simply disagree respectfully with your opinion that most chart topping songs are "utter drivel"..... and I in no way proposed a "best song" competition (music in my opinion is not a competition) .. I suggested we post two types if songs .. A chart topping hit and a "non-drivel song" , to use your terminology.. and compare as a learning tool the elements that make up those songs.. I'm always open to learning something new and it could be fun.. It's easy to sit back and blanketly criticize the work of those who create chart topping songs.. Let's compare?
And by the way.. I studied at Berklee with Pat Pattison.. Brilliant man. As I stated its my opinion that peer review is almost useless.. Many students can have personal agendas, useless bad songwriting habits, and no ability to get to the truth of the matter.. Sure some might have something valuable to say but you'd have to wade through a lot of wrong to find right.. Like going to MySpace.. How much music would you randomly sample to find something great.. Pat is great.. I put my money on him.
I'm sorry, I really did misunderstand what you were saying.


But you seem to be still misinterpreting what I wrote -- not that I think it's that big a deal a this point. If you were to take a look at it again, I think you will see that I wasn't saying that all or most of the music at the top of the charts is crap -- but I was talking about some of the music at the top of the charts -- music that I am perfectly willing to characterize as 'utter crap' (with the implicit but fundamental understanding that personal valuations of music are virtually always ultimately subjective).

To be honest, there were likely better ways I could have expressed the core of what I was thinking -- without the colorful language. I suspect that may have overshadowed what might seem somewhat rabbinical semantic distinctions.


Now that I understand the nature of your suggestion better, it does sound like an interesting idea that might well prove informative and valuable all 'round.

For what it's worth, songwriting is, at this point, a personal thing for me, but I certainly understand how it's a profession for others -- and those two approaches can prove to be quite different.

But let me hasten to add that I also understand how a pro might write a 'teen-ditty' one day and an intensely personal, very 'serious' song the next.

Heck, I've certainly written my share of pretty vapid songs -- and I wasn't even on someone else's dime.

It's all good.
Old 10th April 2013
  #25
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Originally Posted by BlackBackDrop View Post
In week 4 they uploaded 4 videos of one of Pats Master Classes with Singer/SW Allison Rapetti. MIND BLOWING!!
Sounds very interesting.
Old 10th April 2013
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GetCreativeSongs View Post
T I suggested we post two types if songs .. A chart topping hit and a "non-drivel song" , to use your terminology.. and compare as a learning tool the elements that make up those songs.. I'm always open to learning something new and it could be fun.. It's easy to sit back and blanketly criticize the work of those who create chart topping songs.. Let's compare?
.....
Sounds like a good idea.....here's one of my recent tunes.

Music page of BrandX - MP3 music page on SoundClick

They All Fit In A Box

She poured her tears inside that paint
But her life was bigger than the frame
Her every stroke was a work of art
That kissed my eyes and broke my heart
I took them down and wiped them clean
And wrapped them up in all her dreams
They once filled a house full of light
But all that's left is the dark of night

Now they all fit in a box
Only memories can unlock
They're worth more than all the gold
Buried in Fort Knox
And they all fit in a box

Those soft hands caught my fall
When I tried to walk before I crawled
Those loving arms rocked me to sleep
And held me close while I counted sheep
Those two lips were strong and wise
And spoke the truth when others lied
Those green eyes cried and laughed
And led me down a narrow path

Now they all fit in a box
Only memories can unlock
They're worth more than all the gold
Buried in Fort Knox
And they all fit in a box
Old 10th April 2013
  #27
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@ButchP:

I listened to your song 'They All Fit In A Box' and you get an A+ for it!!
The lyrics are well thought out and your voice is very nice and mellow.
The song itself is very sad. Was expecting to hear a 'choir' in the chorus to liven up things, some vocal harmony...

Congrats, H.W.
Old 10th April 2013
  #28
K.. Here's a hit I wrote for Darius Rucker...


I left out in a cloud of tail lights and dust
Swore I wasn't comin' back
Said I'd had enough

Saw you in the rearview standin'
Fadin' from my life
But I wasn't turnin' round
No not this time

Chorus:
But don't think I don't think about it
Don't think I don't have regrets
Don't think it don't get to me
Between the work and the hurt and the whiskey
Don't think I dont wonder 'bout
Could've been should've been all worked out
I know what I felt and I know what I said
But don't think I don't think about it

When we make choices we gotta live with them
Heard ya found a real good man and ya married him
I wonder sometimes if I cross your mind
And where would we be today
If I never drove that car away

(Repeat Chorus)

Solo

(Repeat Chorus)

No no

Don't think I don't

Don't think I don't
Mmmmmhhhhmmm
Old 10th April 2013
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post
If you have a song to post, please post it under "rough demos" or "finished demos" and we'll look at it there.
ut
Oh shoot, Enter The Party Pooper!!!

Anyways, don't know what time it is over at the

Cloud Peak on The Karakoram, but here in NYC is

past my bed time, Good Night!

-H.W.
Old 10th April 2013
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank_Case View Post

And let me ask you a question. I believe that many Beatles songs are so good that in 100 years they will still be played on some radio stations, maybe even daily. Do you think your song is so good that it will also be played on radio stations on a frequent basis 100 years from now? I have a feeling that very few commercial songs written within the past few years will have any significance far into the future.
Even if the song was of that kind of quality it wouldn't matter. I know people who DO write at the level you talk about but in today's world music just does not have that kind of reach. Part of it is that we live in a time where nothing is truly significant. Meaningless times. Hell if Yesterday was written today (there's a title for you) it wouldn't mean diddly squat in the current climate. It'd be on NPR at best, maybe end up in the closing credits of some movie if it was lucky. Most of what's on the radio is total drivel. It undoubtedly takes talent to make that drivel (not sarcasm) but that's not much consolation. It's depressing to see and hear.
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