Episode 106: Write...Write a Song
Sara Bareilles teaches the Greenies how to write music for their show while Hank and Spike discover that it’s not so easy for two people to write a song together.
Featured Art: Song Writing
It goes without saying that a musical needs music! It falls to Sarah Bareilles to teach our Greenies about the important, but complicated, art of songwriting.
Songwriting can be tricky. In fact, most popular musicians don’t actually write their own music, opting to find pieces authored by professional songwriters instead. It’s a multi-layered skill that involves both lyrics and melody.
Song lyrics often rely on rhyme. Rhyming competency doesn’t explicitly find its way into many school curriculums, but students will encounter it plenty enough with poetry as a common element in English classes. After mastering rhymes themselves, songwriters are then tasked with rhyming words in a way that conveys an actual message. Spike is great at combining words together, but his lyrical prowess might need some work in the face of putting it to music.
The remainder of the song falls to the melody. Musicians and music producers occasionally create melodies and beats independently, but lots of singer-songwriters and playwrights write the music themselves. The melody keys the song – is it catchy? Upbeat? More serious? The flexibility of language and meaning enables songs with similar words can be interpreted very differently depending on the melody. Hank will have to learn to fit his music to the words.
Documenting songwriting results can be tricky for younger students – it takes a certain degree of musical literacy, musical skill, or aptitude with music production programs. But for interested students, relevant program applications like Garageband can be as cheap as $4.99.
Sara Bareilles first achieved mainstream critical praise in 2007 with her widely successful hit "Love Song,” which reached No. 1 in 22 countries around the world from her debut album “Little Voice.” Since then, Sara has gone on to receive six Grammy nominations throughout her career, which include Song of the Year and Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for “Love Song” and one Album of the Year for her highly acclaimed third studio album, “The Blessed Unrest.” Her book, Sounds Like Me: My Life (So Far) in Song, was released in the fall of 2015 by Simon & Schuster and is a NY Times best seller.
Making her Broadway debut, Sara composed the music and lyrics for “Waitress,” for which she received her first Tony Award nomination for Best Score and a 2017 Grammy Award nomination for Best Musical Theater Album. She will be making her Broadway acting debut as the lead in “Waitress” for a limited engagement of 10 weeks, from March 31 through June 11, 2017. “What’s Inside: Songs from Waitress,” her most recent solo studio album, is out on Epic Records. For more information, please visit www.sarabmusic.com.
Warm Up Game: Duck Duck Cluck
Many songs have rhymes, which makes rhyming a valuable skill for songwriting! Duck Duck Cluck keeps you rhyming and on your toes.
Whoever starts the game sings the jingle, a variation of “duck duck goose,” and tags someone else with a word to rhyme with! That person comes up with words that rhyme, followed by the next tag and word. The process continues until everyone has taken a turn.
For example, Gus starts with Peri. Her word is “Hat.” Think about what other words rhyme with hat: Peri comes up with cat, pat, mat, and rata-tat-tat!
The Greenies run through the words “hat,” “Peri,” “fog, “ “box,” and “shoes.” But there are so many more. Rhyming games like Duck Duck Cluck keep the mind sharp and help widen the vocabulary. Try it yourself!