Songwriting Workshop Music Theory Basics

Learn the basics of songwriting by building an understanding of chords and music theory!

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6 Weeks of Lessons:

There are two types of lessons in this mini-course:

6 main video lessons, between 30-40 minutes each

7 RECORDED Q&A sessions, about 45 minutes each (these were recorded live)

That means there are 13 videos in this course, totalling 8+ hours of content.

You'll have access to these lessons forever. The videos are recorded and will be available for you to watch and download at any time.

Along with the lessons, you'll also be able to see and listen to what other course participants have written. This helps to provide further insight and inspiration on your own journey.

Why bother with songwriting? I'm not a songwriter!

The greatest musicians of Classical music learned by writing out sheet music by other masters, and by writing their own compositions - even from a very young age.
Music theory is great, but we often treat it like a cerebral exercise instead of exploring the deeper meaning of that theory.
Students will memorize chords and the circle of fifths until the cows come home, but what of it? How do those chords work? Why do those chords work? These are questions we'll explore. It'll allow you to truly understand music theory concepts in a ground-up way.

You don't have to be a songwriter to participate in this course. In fact, I expect most of you to be non-songwriters. It's fun and rewarding to create your own music, but the real reason we're songwriting is to understand music theory.

Who Is This Course is For?

This course will be suitable to people at virtually all levels of piano. This is because we're not studying one piece in particular - rather, we'll be picking at a lot of pieces and doing a ton of writing. Instead of one piece to win them all (such as we did with the " 6 week mini-course"), we're aiming to master an understanding.

The beauty of using songwriting as a learning tool is that the end result will be a handful of music you wrote yourself, not just a pile of finished theory worksheets (though there will be those too).

I recommend that you have a year or two of piano under your belt before joining this course. You need to be comfortable reading notes all across the staff (though you don't need to be lightning-fast at it), have a decent understanding of rhythm, and a little bit of chord know-how will help (though it's not absolutely necessary).

What you'll be able to do at the end of this course:

• Write a simple melody

• Choose chords to go along with that simple melody

• Come up with a "musical fragment" that you can then turn into a longer composition

• Write a 16-bar piece of music in binary form, with a modulation, fleshed-out melody and chords/harmony. (If that doesn't make sense, it soon will!)

• Write in a specific dance style (minuet, courante, etc.)

• Understand and identify I and V chords, predominants ii and IV, and the vi chord - not only will you be able to find these chords in your pieces, but you'll be able to write music with them too

• Write a pop song in simple verse/chorus form

• Show off to all your friends (wait, what?)

Basically, you'll be sharply boosting your knowledge of chords. Dance pieces in Binary form will make more sense to you, which will boost your enjoyment of learning and playing these pieces.

Your Instructor

Allysia Van Betuw
Allysia Van Betuw

Allysia has been teaching piano to people of all ages and levels, from three-year old beginners, to youth and teenagers, to retired adults, since 2005. Her website and YouTube channel is the product of her desire to branch out and share music in new ways, and to provide a coherent framework for beginners.

She’s been playing piano since she was little, first taking lessons with her mother, and later with several trained piano teachers. Her musical education had a very creative focus, with lots of arranging and ear training.

As a teenager she decided to develop her songwriting skills by joining a loud rock band, which was a blast and is something she’s been doing ever since.

In 2005, she went through training to become a piano teacher at Long and McQuade in her Saskatchewan hometown, where she often taught fifty students each week, putting them through exams, competitions and recitals on a regular basis.

She also taught piano independently in Toronto, where she learned the ropes of being self-employed, which evolved into having her own bustling home studio in Saskatchewan. In addition to teaching, making videos and courses, she’s also adjudicated a couple music festivals, something she hopes to keep doing in the future.

For more information, please visit her at her website

Course Curriculum

  Lesson 1: Chords, Cadences and the Basics of Binary Form
Available in days
days after you enroll

Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I am unhappy with the course?
We would never want you to be unhappy! If you are unsatisfied with your purchase, contact us in the first 30 days and we will give you a full refund.

Are you ready to join the Songwriting Workshop: Basics group and have more fun with music theory than you ever thought possible?

Get started now!