Songwriting 101

A number of years ago I was fortunate to meet Pat Pattison, a professor of songwriting at Berklee School of Music. I was impressed by his keen insights and his ability to break down the elements of songwriting into understandable and fun lessons. I love this lesson on his blog about how to make a happy marriage between the lyrics and the melody. Here’s an excerpt:
(LINK to full article)

Words and notes start with something in common: both belong to dynamic communities of stressed and unstressed members. The trick is to match each with their own type, stressed notes with stressed syllables, unstressed with unstressed. Recognizing which is which is sometimes easy, sometimes an art: depending partly on the words and notes themselves, partly on their context.

Look at a bar of 4/4 time. The first half-note is stronger than the second, though they are both stressed.
1st line

“Bridegroom” would fit the bar perfectly: both syllables are stressed but the first syllable is stronger:

2nd line

A perfect match.

-Intrigued? He goes into way more depth and it gets really interesting after this excerpt. Read more here: LINK

‘Live In The Present': Charlie Haden Remembered

This is a beautiful radio show honoring bassist Charlie Haydn, who died on July 11th. In short highlights from interviews with Hadyn on Fresh Air, Terry Gross captures Haydn’s honesty, humbleness, and caring for the world as well as providing some gorgeous samples of his music from his decades of creative work. It is truly inspiring. Link to listen

Charlie Haden plays upright bass with Keith Jarrett's band in New York City, 1975. Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Charlie Haden plays upright bass with Keith Jarrett’s band in New York City, 1975.
Jack Vartoogian/Getty Images

Raven Barbiran and Nayah Damasen sing!

Check out this gorgeous rendition of “When You Believe” that I recorded with my amazing students, Nayah (9) and Raven (13). Their voices are so rich and agile!

A big thank you Raven and Nayah and their awesome parents for creating this video so we can share their voices far and wide.

Virtuoso musicians perform climate messages

Sandhya Sanjana & Satchit Puranik (Mumbai and Amsterdam)

Sandhya Sanjana & Satchit Puranik (Mumbai and Amsterdam)

Watch virtuoso musicians perform 2-min climate messages in several languages. Brilliant. The Climate Message Video Festival at this link:

Paco De Lucia We are grateful for your music!

I am grateful for the opportunity to have seen Paco De Lucia perform. May his beautiful music live on.

Gorgeous music made with bicycle parts – you have to hear this!

The Power of Art

“The power of art is to revive spirit, simulate consciousness, restore a brutalized humanity.”

― Muriel Rukeyser

Raven Barbiran sings!

What a rich, gorgeous voice my student, Raven Barbiran, has – enjoy!! (Video taken by her proud uncle)

Walter Ogi Johnson, Flutist Extraordinaire, recording “The Time Has Come” at Doug Pohorski’s studio last week!

Just got it. Super excited. Kitty asks, “What is it?”