Free Lyric Writing Course @ Coursera Berklee Online

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As a full time working lyricist, I was very pleased to see that Coursera, the amazing online MOOC supplier of great courses, now has another songwriting course from Berklee Music (USA). And it's about WRITING LYRICS for BEGINNERS or those wanting to progress on from just starting out with lyrics Smile

The course is called "Songwriting: Writing The Lyrics". It is delivered by Pat Pattison of Berklee College of Music, USA, and appears to be almost, but not quite, identical to the course they previously called 'Songwriting'.

It starts on July 25th, and enrollment closes July 30th. And remember, it's free Smile

And a bonus would be even more songs for 50/90 !

It appears to be aimed at the beginner or near beginner lyric student. UPDATE ON THIS - it appears that much is the same as the previous course, but not 100%.

If you want to sign up ignore the button saying pay $43 dollars (or whatever it is), and click on the free button. You don't need to pay unless you want a certificate etc.

I am happy to create a Facebook group for anyone wanting to do this course, to give support etc to anyone as it progresses. Please let me know if you are interested in this group and I'll create one just for us Smile

UPDATE: Here is the link to the closed facebook group for support doing any of Pat Pattison's songwriting courses on Berklee Cousera

I'm in, Amanda. Pat Pattison is a genius, and no songwriter should miss any opportunity to hear him. The class is free, the work is not taxing, and it will improve your writing! Sign me up, Amanda

I have actually started reading and listening to what available for access at the moment on the course, and it appears that you can start already Smile I'm certainly able to listen to and read all the week 1 stuff so far.

Along with several other FAWMers/50-90ers, I did Pattison's initial Songwriting Course a few years ago. It was excellent. I'm sure this new course will be just a good. (***In fact, after just reading through the modules, it sounds like it's the same course but with a slightly different name description. Anyway, I recommend it.)

Here is the Facebook study support group link if anyone is interested:

@Amanda West Thank you I just signed up. I am familiar with Pat Pattison and looking forward to this course. I started reading and the next thing I know I am was asked to take a survey, which I did. It was a little annoying...but not real bad. Like what? Hillary or Donald? Anyway, this does look to be very similar to the original course a few years ago but I love this subject so I am signing up again.

@jcollins That's great ! Feel free to join the facebook group if you want to do it alongside fellow 50/90Fawmers Smile

@Amanda West Thanks, I will log in and join the facebook group. I did watch all of the videos from week one today. Even took the quiz! However, I did not submit my quiz as the new format requires money....and I'm cheap. No, wrong word...I don't have money. See you in the facebook group.

@jcollins I'm not paying either !! We can peer assess each other easily enough.

i have taken the original course, so i would be willing to peer assess if that is no longer available for free. i'm not going to take the class, however.

I took the original course a few years ago with some fellow FAWMers. My honest opinion is it was not very good. To me it felt cobbled together, probably from a longer, more coherent course. But the price was right (free) and it was fun to do it with FAWMers!

If you do take the course and are concerned about missing out on the peer reviews I would say that was the weakest part of the course so you won't miss much. I had one reviewer who had never written a song and we both spoke different languages! There was no effort made to match up students for reviewing in any meaningful way.

I just spotted another one provided by Berklee College of Music

I have to agree that the peer review aspect left much to be desired (though - given that the review set-up is entirely random - I was lucky enough to receive a few helpful and pertinent comments).

But given that the course is free, you can get the best out of it by focusing on what was/is great in terms of how to set up a coherent lyrical progression (e.g. the 'box system' tool), and guides to selecting the best words that will work to make the lyric and its message memorable.

Also, the forums themselves were interesting and often informative.

In addition, there are excellent tutorials on Pat's own website:

For peer reviews, you can ask others here - some may have time to critique - or check out off-site forums where members comment on each other's lyrics/songs/instrumentals. One of the many is (formerly the Musesmuse). Though many of the active members are beginners, there's a strong handful of experienced writers there who provide relevant and very useful critiques.

@Donna Devine a few of us have formed a small facebook group to support the course and peer review each other. I have done the course, twice, long ago, and am there as a more than happy peer reviewer for those taking it for the first time. Especially as it's mainly lyrics based and lyrics are my main thing Wink

@johnstaples Peer Review was required in all of the half dozen courses I have taken online. I told them every single time too, "I didn't care for the peer review". The students are or may not be qualified to critique my assignments. It was the same pattern in every course...went like this. Peer review is a week behind the class. The students were grading me using the new information that wasn't available at the time the assignment was due, and I was giving less credit than it should have been. That said, I passed every course except the last one (another audio course) because of a death in the family.....I dropped out.

I took Pattison's original course on Coursera (where I have taken many free, excellent classes of all kinds) and while I enjoyed the class, and picked up many helpful tips, I found it a bit formulaic and rigid, but it's well worth investing your time in. I'll be looking in on this new course as well. Thanks Amanda

My criticism of these courses is that the exams are graded by fellow students. That sort of dilutes the feedback a little IMHO. But as John says, the price is a bargain.

Out of all the 4 Berklee Coursera courses i was taking in March 2014, I got one peer review. It was on a recording of me trying jazz improv on my flute (an instrument I majored in at college, and have been playing for 40 years). I'm a classically trained musician -but I never learned to improv. The troll said I should give up music because obviously I didn't know anything about it was boring, childish and uninspiring. So I quit all my courses and never looked back. It's lord of the flies in a vacuum. I'm going to try again, with you guys to help. I need the feedback from knowledgeable people, not internet trolls. Smile Love you guys!!

[@brrrse] It's too bad you got such a negative response! There are trolls everywhere (that could have been a good skirmish song for #10's "It's Found Everywhere)

Don't be discouraged by them! You know in your heart of hearts when you do work that shows growth and potential.

I don't pay too much attention to the feedback on the site. I can tell when someone knows what they're talking about, or when they're a troll, or just aren't very knowledgeable in general, and so take those comments with a grain of salt

@corinne54 growth and potential - you said "keywords" for me, so I must thank you! I"m doing a lot of "growing" right now and looking for potential instead of product with myself and others Smile Thank you for recognizing that Smile

[@brrrse], I had a few pointless comments about my half ass work on the assignments. Some people don't understand what it is that we were asked to do. For example the assignment might say: write an unstable verse and a stable chorus....ok fine, done. Peer would say "I don't like your song". The assignment had nothing to do with being good or bad.

not only did i get mostly useless comments on peer review, i got people who quite literally sought me out and judged me as failing the assignment because i had the audacity to judge them correctly by the criteria and give them constructive criticism. the spacing system for marking stressed and unstressed syllables never worked well, such that you had to figure out what the person intended, often. i actually had to retake the last couple of units of the songwriting course to "pass" the class because of people who i had graded rushing over and judging me with the lowest marks possible. it pretty much turned me off of taking any further courses, honestly.

Not a fan of Mr. P here. I read parts of his first book on lyric writing, did some of the exercises, and started the first course then dropped out. Donated the books to thrift stores. There are some interesting techniques and good building blocks in learning how to develop lyrics. But for me, there was too much focus on Nashville/commercial songwriting, and frankly too much negativity, in both the book and the MOOC lectures. So y'all who are taking the MOOC, have fun and I hope it helps ya write more songs.

Yeah [@brrrse], the internet trolls are everywhere, I wrote a wacky song about 'em last 5090 teehee. In the end, I have to have the filter to screen the trolls, and negativity out, and follow my own path.

I think the first course was worth taking, and I didn't mind the presentation, but I know many did. I won't be doing this class as it is too similar to the first and I've signed up for the Adelaide course that @kiwafruit posted about on FB.

HMH's picture

I also had that kind of impression. Its good that they renamed it - cause it wasn't songwriting it was all about lyrics.. AND there was a strong focus on certain types of lyrics and certain concepts of what makes a great lyric. Is nyone else of the opinion that a great lyric is one that works. For my money 'I feel good doobadoobadoobadoo" is as valid as sophisticated word play

@AndyGetch I am also not a fan of Pattison! To get through the course I actually watched the videos at 2x speed to stay awake! I have one of his books but never got through it.

@HMH I agree with you completely! Pattison goes on and on about how critically inportant every word is and I can't help but recall Yellow Ledbetter and a million other songs that were successful both critically and commercially without perfect lyrics! goo goo ga joob!

Are watching the first lesson, and yes, it's exactly the same as the other I don't know if I'm going to continue.

Looking through I think one chapter has changed, but is it worth the effort? Maybe.

Eh! Wink

(Was just commenting in general.)

(Was just commenting in general. Unfortunately, the Delete button does not function here. So, am [...]; likely that button issue has to do with a direct response associated, disables it. -- Cheers all, enjoy!)

I'm dropping out because I don't like the pay nags. However, I will continue with the FB group (thanks Amanda). I have the videos as I downloaded those when I took the original course. So this week, actually the course haven't started yet, Pat is explaining point of view, the boxes, and the who what when where how why. These are important early steps if you want your ideas to develop into a finished song (lyrics).

I'm actually getting back into script writing again and that's been a lot of fun. Jimmy and I have been writing scripts with tons of great visual and storytelling. We don't plan at all (use the boxes). I take off on an idea and then Jimmy expands with an update. Then I update it further and send that back. It's fun. My muse is very active right now but its not songs so it doesn't show on my song board. What can I say? It's been a crappy year over here and I don't want to sing songs. I can't sing songs. Since I can't sing songs I moved in another creative writing area. I signed up for the course in attempt to try harder to improve my lyrics writing. But songs lyrics require a message and I free form write better and faster, and without being caught in a loop (the chorus). Hopefully this depression will leave me alone and maybe next week I will feel like "bursting out in song", once again. Thanks for reading this.

[@ustaknow] while I appreciate the advice, please understand that what is easy for you might be impossible for someone else. At my age, I don't fight anymore, I go where I do not have to. I had nothing to prove to those children and didn't care about getting "grades" for the course. I'm going through it to watch the lectures and practice on my own and with Amanda and that facebook group, but I couldn't care less what any of them think. You seem like a very outgoing person. Understand that your way doesn't work with people in different situations. Smile Enjoy. Have a nice day.

(Was just commenting in general.)

Again, good for you! Again, people are different.

Yes, indeed, sort of a given, understood ... maybe I misunderstood the thread.


I mention my interest in script writing and today I found a script writing course on Coursera. I understand this is a songwriting group (5090) but we (myself and another 5090 member) are having fun. Unfortunately, this is the format as Mr. P's class...$50 USA. That said, I do this as a hobby and really only need the tutorial videos. Like music, I seriously doubt that the certificate would lead to any jobs. This may be off topic but this thread a thread "bump" too, so its not completely useless. I actually think this is good for songwriters to keep the creativity flowing.

You can sign up for free too ( I did )...the rules are the same as the Pat Pattison course.

Any free courses are good, and I believe the certificate is more for wall hanging or if you're required to prove you did it. and writing is writing Smile everything transfers! Smile Thank you for sharing that!

@Amanda West, I checked out the Facebook Study Support group, but wondered how the posting of lyrics & critiques would be carried out?

Got your message on my soundboard, @Amanda West. Thanks. Smile

Re Facebook: I was assuming that if enough people joined, one option would be to set up some kind of yahoo group. That way, whenever anyone sent in a lyric, others would see the post, and respond to it. And lyrics and comments would be kept from overlapping.

Another – maybe easier - option might be for interested parties to join a feedback forum like Muse Songwriters. (I’ve been a member there for years.) It’s a very active community, especially in the feedback forums for lyrics, songs/instrumentals, and music videos. There are also monthly competitions, which are fun and also result in useful feedback.

In an already established setting, there’s the bonus of having extra input from existing members.

Anyway, just a thought. Smile

Options are always good for people Smile I think there are a few in the FB group, but not too many Smile The idea was only for a small group to help each other, and a couple of us who have already done it before (I did it twice when it started lol) to help also Smile