Schools pride themselves on allowing students to “be themselves.”
Vocal, band, dance, piano, orchestra, visual arts, and photography are several such outlets.
However, one option not available in many schools is based around the elements of songwriting.
Various forms and styles of music are composed with an array of instruments, sometimes with lyrics.
If songwriting and composition are so essential to modern day music, shouldn’t schools upgrade their music programs to teach such skills?
Some students believe that the school system itself doesn’t support kids with dreams of the performing arts.
Cristo Rey junior Faith Robinson, for example, said “when they set up the music programs, they didn’t put as much effort into it as they did into other extracurriculars like football.”
Many songwriting classes are available online and in a select few colleges, such as the Berklee College of Music, which allows students to take entire courses based around songwriting. The curriculum of such courses involve history of lyrical music, rhythm studies, fundamentals of rhyme, rhyme scheme, and literary devices in music. In short, songwriting courses are vast and rigorous.
Denver Public School junior Janai Jackson, a songwriter and musician, said that she believed that songwriting is just as important as programs such as choir and band.
“The songs they play in band and sing in choir, were all written by somebody. I think that teaching [students] to write the songs themselves would be just as beneficial as learning to sing or play them.”
One common misconception about why schools shouldn’t incorporate songwriting is the belief that it is impossible to teach someone to write music.
The ability to write music is something that is, in fact, learned over time. Ask almost any artist, and they’ll tell you that they would be unable to be where they are without at least the indirect teachings of another.
“I learned everything I know about rap from listening and studying other rappers, so I definitely feel like you [have to] be taught how to write music,” said six-year experienced rapper Omari Harrell.
Songwriting and music composition classes should be incorporated into schools as soon as possible so that other aspiring musicians can reach their fullest potentials.