SongWriting Workshop

Imagine what a harmonious world it could be if every single person, both young and old shared a little of what he is good at doing - Quincy Jones

Songwriting Workshop

Program Length: Five Days

Program Dates: Monday - Friday,

                               July 23 - July 27 and/or
                              August 6 - August 10


Requirement: None

Age group:       11 years to 17 years

Registration Fee:  $25

​Tuition:                    $600/week

Immerse yourself in the art of songwriting. Discover effective songwriting techniques by exploring melody, rhythm, harmony, lyrics, and the latest technology. Under the direction of John Dandan, Program Director in DPAC, you will receive expert support and feedback on your original material from veteran songwriters and industry professionals. Learn about the tools you need to place your songs in YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat,, Triller, TV and film.

Student gallery: Photos, Videos

Curriculum Overview

Topics are varied and are designed to provide information for songwriters of all experience levels.

Singer-Songwriter Workshop: Want feedback on your songs? In this workshop, you’ll play your songs in front of your peers and Songwriting Department faculty. You may perform solo, have a friend accompany, use a prerecorded track on CD. It is recommended that you have a typed or neatly written lyric sheet of the song(s) you are going to perform.

Recording Techniques for Songwriters: Recording at home is a crucial step to getting your music out and into the world. This hour-and-a-half workshop will cover the key techniques and tools to making recordings at home. Topics include: the vocal recording process and why it’s so important, microphone choice, room choices, and fixes.

Collaboration: Some of the best songs ever written have been collaborative efforts. With the right collaborator you can improve your music and increase your productivity, and with the wrong one you may feel as if you’re just wasting your good ideas. Whether you’re the track person, the lyricist, the topliner, or the one that drifts in and out of the room (or all of the above), this class will explore the benefits and pitfalls of collaboration.

Stage Performance Workshop: In this workshop, you will work on the concepts of performance as it relates to songwriting, developing answers to questions such as: Who is your audience? What do you want to convey to them, and how can you do that? Should you perform solo or with a band? What instrumentation works best for your voice? What do you need to know to work with a band to arrange your song from the bottom up? What skills do you need to be a great performer?

Hip-Hop Songwriting: In this class, you will learn how to write effective hip-hop songs by studying the lyrical and compositional elements involved. The class will listen to current hiphop songs, analyze different hook structures, and perform in-class writing and improvising exercises. Topline Writing for Pop, R&B, and Dance Songs: You don't always have to sit behind a piano or a guitar to write a song. Many of the biggest songs these days are written using a technique called toplining. In this workshop you will learn how to write a song (possibly a hit song) using this technique.

Improvisation Workshop: Improvisation is at the heart of all songwriting. In this class, we will use free word association, vocalize melodic ideas, make up rhythms on the spot, and use any chords we choose to "jam out." Create some words and music in the moment and come away from this class with a new sense of artistic freedom, and maybe even a brand new song!

Vocal Techniques: The voice can be a powerful tool for the songwriter. This class will focus on ways in which vocalists can generate and work on songs.  In this workshop you will learn the how you can use your voice to create melodies and harmonies and to form the song. Students will participate as a group and have the opportunity for individual critique.

Keyboard Styles for Songwriters: This class will focus on keyboard accompaniment styles and knowledge of theory approached in terms of the keyboard with a focus on songwriting/composition concepts and skills. Each session introduces small composition exercises and technical work on keyboard skills development.


Monday                                             Activities

9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.                      Music Production Techniques

10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.                    10 Minutes Break

10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.                    Songwriting Seminar

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.                      Lunch Break

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.                        Project Time/Play Time



9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.                       Music Production Techniques

10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.                     10 Minute Break 

10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.                     Songwriting Seminar 

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.                       Lunch Break

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.                         Project Time/Play Time



9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m.                       Music Production Techniques

10:30 a.m. - 10:40 a.m.                     10 Minute Break 

10:40 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.                     Songwriting Seminar 

12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.                       Lunch Break

1:00 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.                         Careers Panel


Dandan Performing Arts Center

Phone: 510-200-9360



676 Bockman Road,

San Lorenzo, CA 94580

Monday - Friday 10:00 am- 7:00 pm

Saturday 9:00 am- 1:00 pm


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