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Garnish Music Production School in London

MUSPR 310 | Composing Lyrics

MUSPR 310

Unit Title: Composing Lyrics

Credit Value: 5

Context

Lyrics often play an essential role in many compositions and they can resonate with a listener, sometimes educating, often influencing their views, outlooks and emotions potentially in a profound way.

When lyrics work well within a musical backdrop they can augment the composition, eliciting a range of emotions and reactions that the music would not have achieved on its own.

Lyrics predominantly reflect the culture and social environment from which they originate. They often mirror and reflect upon social, political, cultural and personal issues, as such act as a commentary and barometer of the times.

There are many transferable skills that lyric writing can impact upon including; enhanced vocabulary, communication skills, ‘emotional intelligence’, social and cultural awareness.

Aims/Purpose

This unit aims to develop learners’ skills in writing effective lyrics for music composition, developing an understanding of the key concepts of working to a brief.

The purpose of this unit is to provide opportunities to explore lyric writing devices giving learners the capacity to compose lyrics for a range of different briefs.

Skills Development

Learning in this area will support the development of the following specialist and transferable skills:

Specialist Knowledge and Skills

Rhyme types and rhyme schemes

Rhythm and meter

Structure (verses, choruses, refrains etc.)

Using metaphors, similes and personification and other imagery

Using alliteration, irony, pathos etc.

Narrative and non-narrative styles

Subject matter; personal, social and cultural awareness

Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) Independent Enquirers

Learners will analyse and evaluating the relationship between music and lyrics, judging the relevance and value of lyrical content assessing their own personal responses to this content

Creative Thinkers

Learners will generate lyrics using creative and imaginative methods that will complement and enhance the music, exploring different ideas and concepts.

Reflective Learners

Learners will reflect on their lyrics and the work of others, considering ways in which they can improve their own practise.

Team Workers

Learners may collaborate with composers to come up with a complete song. They may initially work in teams to formulate ideas before working on their own to complete them.

Self-managers

Learners need to organise themselves and others around them in recording of song ideas; organising their time and anticipating issues that may arise.

Effective Participators

Learners will participate in the generation of lyrical content and participate with others to ensure its completion

Functional Skills @ Level 2

English: Speaking, listening and communication; Writing

ICT: Finding and selecting information; Developing, presenting and communicating information

Employability Skills

Self-management

Decision making

Verbal and non-verbal communication

Creative thinking

Skill awareness

Analytical skills

Report writing

Study Skills

Critical thinking

Synthesising information

Time management

ICT skills

Problem solving

Listening skills

Presentation & communication

Striving for Excellence

Motivation

Creative Thinking

Own Skills Awareness

Reflective analysis

Learning Outcomes

The learner will be able to:

1.Demonstrate the skills to write lyrics for specific outcomes and assess own skill development as a lyric writer.

Unit Content

Using the learning outcome as the main point of reference, a scheme of work for this unit will include opportunities for learners to develop the following:

Lyric Writing Skills

Using different rhyme schemes and rhyme types Knowledge or experience of subject matter Changing the meter

Using poetic devices (e.g. imagery, metaphor, alliteration) Using humour, pathos, irony etc.

Showing continuity and development between verses/sectionsNon-narrative lyric writing

Applying lyric writing techniques to different song forms and structures (e.g. verses, pre chorus, chorus, refrain, middle 8)

Applying lyrics to music

Rhythmic Harmonic and Melodic Awareness

Ensuring lyrics match the shape and form of the melody

Ensure lyrics pay attention to the harmonic backdrop of the music.

Ensuring that the lyrics are performable and reflect the tempo of the piece

Contextual Skills

Developing social and cultural awareness

Personal awareness of own identity

Researching lyrical themes

Listening to researching and analysing existing genre specific lyrical themes

Recording Skills

Recording the song ideas

Communication Skills

Writing lyrics

Conveying musical and lyrical ideas effectively

Essay writing

Analytical Skills

Analysing the relationship between musical and lyrical content The ability to analyse and assess own skills and personal aims

The ability to assess and evaluate own work and develop strategies for improving themselves as lyricists The capacity to respond positively to tutor comments and evaluations

The ability to assess and utilise peer evaluation

The capacity to assess and act upon Health & Safety considerations

Organisational Skills

The capacity to plan and prepare effectively for lyric writing

The means to access the personal equipment required for lyric writing

Time management skills – working to a given timeframe, working to deadlines

Suggested Delivery Ideas

Delivery may be a mixture or classroom-based or location based i.e. a location that might inspire lyrical work. Sessions may focus on theoretical, research oriented work and or practical workshop style writing sessions with tutor support.

Learners may need to spend time rehearsing and recording songs to assess how the lyrics work with the rhythmic and melodic aspects of instrumental compositions.

Learners will need to spend time generating and developing ideas. As each learner may have different ideas about their own lyric writing styles and the types of lyric that they like, examples given should be varied and exemplify different aspects of what may be considered good lyric writing.

There could be exercises to generate ideas for words, metaphors, similes etc. and discussion of rhyme and meter, the effectiveness (or otherwise) of clichés and how to use other poetic devices.

The delivery may involve large group discussions on lyrical preferences, successful and well-known lyrics, lyrical, writing styles, inspiration behind lyrics in songs, the origin of lyrics in songs and the function of lyrics within song structure.

The tutor may set smaller groups activities to form small teams who may collaborate in the generation of ideas and eventually peer review each individual’s lyrical production.

Suggested Activity Ideas

For learners to engage in effective lyric writing may involve a diverse range of activities to engage the learner, based on their capacity and needs as mapped against the lyrical brief. Tutors should encourage learners to work together in the initial stages in a collaborative or peer reviewing capacity to develop their abilities and self-confidence.

Learners can be encourage to engage in a number of activities to support the creation of lyrical content, these can be tutor led, independent and group based activities as outlined below:

Choosing a subject matter

Awareness of social, cultural and personal environment Using the senses to evoke images

How to guide a vocalist in the performance of lyrics Identifying lyrical hooks

Memetics in lyrics i.e. the use of memes in lyric writing

Rhyme types (perfect rhyme, family rhyme, additive rhyme, assonance) Rhyme schemes (e.g. couplets, ABAB, ABCB etc.)

Meter & rhythm, stressed and unstressed syllables (hitting the stresses on the beat) Form and structure – verses, choruses, pre-chorus, middle 8, refrain

Power positions (first and last lines of a section) Perspectives and tense

Metaphor, simile and personification Alliteration

Clichés

Pathos/Humour/Irony

Verse development and verse continuityNon-narrative lyric writing

Writing styles, story based, personal, abstract, nonsense, protest, stream of consciousness etc.

Summative Assessment Methods

Learners will create two sets of complete lyrics. One set is to be written to fit a whole song given by the composer (who may be a tutor or a peer); the other can be the learner’s own choice and should reflect a personal resonance. The lyrics should then be recorded with the music. The learner should demonstrate a deep understanding of the subject matter through the production of the lyrics themselves.

The learners should be able to evaluate and assess how well each set of lyrics fits the music in each of the above examples.

They will also analyse strengths and areas requiring further development in their lyrics, based on feedback from their tutor or peers, in relation to: lyric writing technique; the use of language; and the writing style, and develop strategies to help improve their lyric writing in the future.

Recommended Evidence

Two sets of lyrics – lyric sheets; an audio or video recording of each lyric performed over the music, as appropriate (1.1)

Written report /videoed presentation/recorded discussion/podcast (1.2, 1.3)

Links to other areas of the MUSPRA qualifications

Knowledge and skills developed in this area may be utilised to underpin and enrich activities relating to:

Composing Music (Styles)

Composing Music (Solo)

Composing Music (Collaboration)

Working as a Freelance Music Practitioner

Grading Criteria

Unclassified

A learner not on course to achieve this unit might evidence a significant number of the following:

1.Show little or no original lyrical ideas. These ideas may be very brief, partly plagiarised or show little or no relationship to the intended purpose.

2.Being unable to identify uses for the lyrical ideas, in relation to a musical backdrop. The learner cannot give any reasons or justifications for the suitability of their lyrics.

3.Show little or no abilities in taking onboard feedback when considering how well the lyrics created in 1.1 reflect the subject matter, with no strengths or areas for development mentioned.

Pass

To achieve a pass learners must:

1.Develop two sets of independent, original lyrical ideas, demonstrating a limited range of writing techniques mostly appropriate to context. The writing style and use of language will be basic and mainly formulaic. Lyrics written for the given song will contain some convincing moments, reflecting in part the song’s musical content. The free choice lyrics show knowledge of the subject matter.

2.Assess the suitability of each lyric set to the fulfilment of the respective brief. The assessment should contain a justification for the suitability of the lyric to the brief in each case.

3.Evidence skills to evaluate strengths and areas for development realistically in relation to their lyric writing techniques, use of language and writing style and demonstrate a basic understanding of their progress as lyricists and in target setting relative to ongoing improvement.

Merit

To achieve a merit learners must:

1.Develop two sets of independent, original lyrical ideas, demonstrating a range of writing techniques appropriate to context, some degree of originality in the writing style, and some creativity in the use of language. Lyrics written for the given song will contain many convincing moments, reflecting well the song’s musical content. The free choice lyrics are successful stylistically, showing good knowledge of the subject matter.

2.Assess the suitability of each lyric set to the fulfilment of the respective brief. The assessment should be thorough and contain solid justifications for the suitability of the lyric to the brief in each case.

3.Evidence skills to evaluate strengths and areas for development realistically and accurately in relation to their lyric writing techniques, use of language and writing style and demonstrate a sound understanding of their progress as lyricists and in target setting relative to ongoing improvement.

Distinction

To achieve a distinction learners must:

1. Develop original two sets of independent lyrical ideas, which are highly creative for this level, that show expressive content and would be highly suitable for a composed song. They can effectively use a range of lyric writing techniques, which result in a highly convincing lyrical content which greatly reflects the songs’ musical content.

2.Demonstrate how the lyrical content displays a strong relationship to the musical backdrop and concept by providing a full detailed assessment of both lyrics. The learner can give detailed insightful reasons for the suitability of their lyrics for the music that is used.

3.Show excellent abilities in taking feedback on board when considering how well the lyrics created in 1.1 reflect the subject matter they may give a clear analysis of their strengths and areas for development with

targeted and realistic goals for development.

MUSPR Composing Lyrics

Credit Value 5

QCF Level 3

Assessment Framework

Learning Outcomes

Through completion of this unit, the learner will be able to:

1. Demonstrate the skills to write lyrics for specific outcomes and assess own skill development as a lyric writer.

Assessment Requirements

The learner can:

1.1Create two sets of complete lyrics in response to each of the following:

a.to fit an established song framework (a whole song) in a specified style, given by the composer (tutor or peer)

b.around a self-defined theme or concept which has a personal resonance

1.2Assess the suitability of each lyric to the fulfilment of 1.1 a and b.

1.3Analyse strengths and areas requiring further development based on feedback from tutor/peers on the

submitted lyrics in relation to: lyric writing technique the use of language writing style

and develop strategies for improvement in relation to future lyric writing projects