Reply to Thread Bookmark Thread
Posts 1 to 37 of 37
  1. #1

    User Info Menu

    Recently I posted something about teaching someone to write a song using the 12 bar blues. Thanks for the help and replies but look like things are not going to work the way we talked about. He wants nothing to do with theory. Anytime I started talking about the 12 bar blues and cord progression all he would say is well let me show you what I have written so far. He started playing something that sounded pretty good but then it was a series of frustrating questions.

    Q: Do you understand any of the theory behind what you are doing? A:No.
    Q: Do you know words or what the mood of your song will be? A:No
    Q: Do you know the modes? A:no
    Q: Do you know the major scale? A:no
    Q:When you write your song do you know the key signatures?A:No
    Q:Well lets Just stick with C for your first song since you wont have to Key signatures and stick to the Cmajor scale okay?A:well how can it sound good if I Do that?
    Q: Do you know how to read music? A: Not really

    This is frustrating as hell I got all this stuff together about basic simple theory to apply and anytime I bring it up he goes well lets just go with what I got. He is a talented guy and can do some great fingerpicking but he has no Idea what he is doing in the context of music. He seems like the kind of guy that has watched a great deal of youtube videos and podcast and learned how to form chords and progressions off that I don't know how to help the guy write a melody especially if he has no knowledge of modes scales and very little about keys. I am only suppose to help him for a bit and he has no interest in theory what do I do?
    Last edited by Conman; 08-18-2013 at 03:30 PM.

  2.  

    The Jazz Guitar Chord Dictionary
     
  3. #2

    User Info Menu

    My 2c. If what he played sounded pretty good, then it seems to me your questions to him are besides the point. I'm all for people knowing stuff, but the bottom line is that if he can make music that sounds good to him and you by his method then what in the world would he need modes or key signatures for? I gather you are his teacher? show him some chord grips that he might be able to use. If his tune has a C chord, show him some alternatives with more color (eg C (add9), Csus). Now if he told you "I want to play jazz in the local scene" obviously he needs to learn what you told him, and a lot more.

  4. #3

    User Info Menu

    What I don't understand is what he wants from you. He seems to a) be coming up with things he likes on his own and b) lack any interest in theory. Have you asked him what he wants from you?

  5. #4

    User Info Menu

    Right. How could anyone write a song without knowing theory or modes or scales or key signatures?

    Better to suck the love of music right out of the boy than to have someone writing music without knowing the key signature for Gb minor. Who cares if what he plays sounds good if he doesn't know the difference between D dorian and G mixolydian?

  6. #5

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkRhodes
    What I don't understand is what he wants from you. He seems to a) be coming up with things he likes on his own and b) lack any interest in theory. Have you asked him what he wants from you?
    I think he does not have a clue how a song is set up and wants me to structure and set it up. the thing that will be hard is setting up the melody and he wants words but doesn't have any idea what they will be eventhough he has already written the retention section

  7. #6

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pkirk
    My 2c. If what he played sounded pretty good, then it seems to me your questions to him are besides the point. I'm all for people knowing stuff, but the bottom line is that if he can make music that sounds good to him and you by his method then what in the world would he need modes or key signatures for? I gather you are his teacher? show him some chord grips that he might be able to use. If his tune has a C chord, show him some alternatives with more color (eg C (add9), Csus). Now if he told you "I want to play jazz in the local scene" obviously he needs to learn what you told him, and a lot more.
    yeah what he has sounds good but how are we going to come up with a melody if he doest have any words or a clue about theory?

  8. #7

    User Info Menu

    You're the teacher. If he wants to learn he will learn what you teach him, if not, that's fine too. The last thing you should ever do is let someone who is ignorant dictate to you how to teach.

  9. #8

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Guitarzen
    You're the teacher. If he wants to learn he will learn what you teach him, if not, that's fine too. The last thing you should ever do is let someone who is ignorant dictate to you how to teach.
    yeah when I walked out I thought I will just wipe my hands clean of the situation but I would like to find a way to help him especially since my instructor recommended me since I know a great deal of theory.

  10. #9

    User Info Menu

    ????????

  11. #10

    User Info Menu

    Interesting thread, Conny.

    At this point (and I am sorry, I did not read the other thread you referred to), I'd have to say that If he is paying you to be a teacher, or even if he is coming to you with a need, maybe you ought to try to fulfill it, even if you disagree with the musical direction he wants to take.


    If he needs a melody, have him sing or hum one and transcribe it for him and put it into sheet music.

    Of course, you need to figure out what you want to get out of it. Do you want to pass on knowledge? Do you just want to be of assistance? Do you want to get paid money?

    From what I can gather, I agree with pkirk, show the guy some more chords to add to his repertoire.

    But if the guy does not want to learn the nut and bolts (theory) of music, its his right in our society. Additionally, if you don't want to be a part of his musical journey since he is not following your lead, you have the right to bow out too.

    Best of luck that both of you can share a rewarding experience.

  12. #11

    User Info Menu

    But...how can you write a melody if he doesn't know how to read music? Unless you play it and he learns it by ear.

  13. #12

    User Info Menu

    I don't think Bob Marley knew any theory. I've read that neither Paul McCartney nor John Lennon could read music. I've read Django Reinhardt had no music education, just a great ear. I think his quote was, "I don't know music, but music knows me". I'd bet 95% of the worlds traditional folk music was written by people who don't know any theory and that's some of the best music ever. How many of the Motown doowop guys knew theory? I think they were mostly just kids who listened to a lot of music on records and church and just started coming up with stuff that sounded good. They've been singing songs in Africa and China and the Middle East for probably 100,000 years with no Western theory or standard notation, right?

    The kid just needs to hum a melody and tap a beat with his toe, he needs a chorus and some verses and he needs to come up with some words. It sounds like he's off to a great start. I don't see why he needs needs theory to write a song unless he's trying write an arrangement for an orchestra.

    .
    Last edited by teok; 08-18-2013 at 10:46 PM.

  14. #13

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by edh
    But...how can you write a melody if he doesn't know how to read music? Unless you play it and he learns it by ear.
    edH,

    I have done as much for friends of mine.

    I have them play a song, I record it, and then I put it on blank sheet notation paper.

    They then take it with them to other people they play with and now they can read it and play it off that sheet.


    I record several takes and also make sure they have a copy of the recording so they won't forget some nice things they may have done.


    I did this for some very, very good church piano players who could not read music, but could play anything and transpose it to different keys - all by ear!!

    But every single one of these folks grew up going to church and started playing piano before age 10.

  15. #14

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Interesting thread, Conny.

    At this point (and I am sorry, I did not read the other thread you referred to), I'd have to say that If he is paying you to be a teacher, or even if he is coming to you with a need, maybe you ought to try to fulfill it, even if you disagree with the musical direction he wants to take.


    If he needs a melody, have him sing or hum one and transcribe it for him and put it into sheet music.

    Of course, you need to figure out what you want to get out of it. Do you want to pass on knowledge? Do you just want to be of assistance? Do you want to get paid money?

    From what I can gather, I agree with pkirk, show the guy some more chords to add to his repertoire.

    But if the guy does not want to learn the nut and bolts (theory) of music, its his right in our society. Additionally, if you don't want to be a part of his musical journey since he is not following your lead, you have the right to bow out too.

    Best of luck that both of you can share a rewarding experience.
    I am not getting paid. I am working with an instructor to get my hand back in shape who also instructs this kid I am talking about and asked If I would help him start to write a song. no money involved.
    Last edited by Conman; 08-19-2013 at 12:43 AM.

  16. #15

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by teok
    I don't think Bob Marley knew any theory. I've read that neither Paul McCartney nor John Lennon could read music. I've read Django Reinhardt had no music education, just a great ear. I think his quote was, "I don't know music, but music knows me". I'd bet 95% of the worlds traditional folk music was written by people who don't know any theory and that's some of the best music ever. How many of the Motown doowop guys knew theory? I think they were mostly just kids who listened to a lot of music on records and church and just started coming up with stuff that sounded good. They've been singing songs in Africa and China and the Middle East for probably 100,000 years with no Western theory or standard notation, right?

    The kid just needs to hum a melody and tap a beat with his toe, he needs a chorus and some verses and he needs to come up with some words. It sounds like he's off to a great start. I don't see why he needs needs theory to write a song unless he's trying write an arrangement for an orchestra.
    I am very theory focused. he obviously is not. I just want to know if anyone has Ideas on how to help him.

  17. #16

    User Info Menu

    If he's going to compose (let's not use the word "write" ) without theory, he needs to use his ear. The best way to help him do this is to record what he's composed so far. Then he listens to it, and decides himself where he thinks it's not right, or where he thinks it needs something else. Of course, you need to learn to play what he is, exactly, and perhaps write it out for yourself; you can annotate your part with tips from what he says.
    Then you should be able to offer hints as to what could be changed. Again you need to listen to his opinion: if he thinks something is not right with it, exactly what is it that's not right, in his view? Maybe there's a chord he can't find; or maybe some kind of rhythmic thing. Maybe he can't distinguish between verse and chorus?
    Obviously he doesn't know what he doesn't know! But your greater experience should know (by ear) what kind of additional or alternative chord might improve some point in the song he's dissatisifed with - if it seems to be a chord issue.
    Maybe you can point out a nice motif or change he's got, and suggest that as the basis for a chorus; try repeating it a few times - repetition improves things anyway, and can throw up ideas for small changes or improvements.

    If it's a melody he wants - especially if it's a song and not an instrumental - then he's going to have to hum or sing something. If he's too shy to do that in front of you, get him to do it at home on his own - either while strumming his chords, or listening to the recording he's made.
    Of course he needs some way of remembering any good ideas he gets, which is difficult if he can't write. But again, he can record (even if only on an iPhone). He can then bring that to you, and you can write his melody down - to help both of you. (The point here being to make sure you preserve the good ideas in some way: either by notating (for you) or recording (for both of you).)

    If he needs words, then he has to get some idea of what the song is about. When humming, he could just make up nonsense words for something to sing, to remember melodic phrases he comes up with (lots of pop/rock songwriters work that way).

    One thought is that good songwriters learn their craft by copying other people's songs. That's how all the pop/rock greats who knew no theory (from the Beatles on down) developed their art. You can't know how to structure a song until you've seen how other songs are structured: and you don't get that from theory books, you get it from actually playing songs - and playing (and ideally singing) them the whole way through, not just learning a few riffs or licks.
    So my question is: how many other people's songs can he play, the whole way through? Any at all? If none, it's no surprise he's having problems.

    If that's the case, the best suggestion (instead of or as well as helping with his own song) is to tell him to find a song he really likes, and study it, analytically. He may not have to actually learn to play it the whole way through, but he needs to listen, count beats and bars, hear where the verse becomes the chorus, listen out for interesting chord changes, melodic hooks, etc. And he should do this for 2 or 3 songs; and then as many more as he can find.
    It's quite OK to use tab or songbooks to help. Internet lyrics with chords too. Even if he can't read notation, notated songbooks are good because you can see the bars (vertical lines) which mark out the structure - net chord charts and tab tend not to do that.

    It's like learning to be a mechanic. You don't get given a whole load of engine parts and try to put them together any way you can (using only your common sense). You start with an engine and you take it apart, so you know from the start what each bit does and how it connects to the others. There has never been any great songwriter who has not taken dozens (even 100s) of songs apart - getting inside them - before writing good songs of their own. (And songbooks are like engineers' manuals. They work in tandem with getting your hands dirty with actual engines.)

    Once you study enough songs, you notice how the vast majority share very simple structural elements. Verses tend to have 8 or 16 bars; choruses and bridges too. Each section will have 4 lines, or maybe 2 or 8. Each line will have 4 bars.
    It might seem like these are stupidly mechanical limitations on the artist's creativity - - but they're just the reverse. (They were no limitation on Lennon/McCartney, Paul Simon, Dylan, Springsteen, name anyone.) You don't have a blank page when you start; you have a grid into which ideas can be slotted.
    Those formulas feel natural, that's the point, same as rhyming lines does. It feels odd when lyrics don't rhyme, and it feels equally odd when lines have irregular lengths, or the odd 2/4 bar. ("Odd" may not be wrong; deviations from the norm are an expressive choice. While classic jazz standards tend to be 32-bar AABA format, the Beatles started breaking that down, cutting bars or extending them, adding second bridges, etc. But even the most complex sounding rock tune still has an underlying structure, probably with "4-square" elements.)

    The point is still not to actually draw up a blank grid structure first. It's to absorb the formulas intuitively by constant repetition, playing other people's songs over and over. Not just any songs, but songs you really love. Stealing things you love is what builds your own personal style. (YOU may know this, but he needs to see it too.)
    Last edited by JonR; 08-19-2013 at 05:32 AM.

  18. #17

    User Info Menu

    Starting with the obvious, people are different.

    There are people who move their fingers around until they find pleasing sounds.
    Others hear sounds internally and search out all the notes.
    Those that follow through end up with a composition.
    Neither approach inherently requires prerequisite info.
    This is great and should be encouraged.
    Like all creative endeavors, some are more successful than others but the process is part of a learning curve.

    I would suggest if you want to introduce conceptual info, do so in direct reference to the composition(s).
    Not everyone is ready to drop the excitement of their endeavors and start digesting theoretical building blocks.
    If you are willing, meet the student at their doorstep while keeping them aware of the possibility of a
    more comprehensive approach.

  19. #18

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Conman
    yeah when I walked out I thought I will just wipe my hands clean of the situation but I would like to find a way to help him especially since my instructor recommended me since I know a great deal of theory.
    Conman, You say you know a great deal of theory, and that you've been playing jazz for a while, but your posts seem more like they are written by someone who is just starting to play/learn jazz. I get it: often when first getting sucked into jazz people become overzealous about the formal/academic music language (I'll guess from some of your posts that you are a student of Jeff Sherman's at Belarmine?) before they come to realize that this is not the main point: it streamlines things for those interested in difficult music, but is irrelevant for most musicians, even really best (how much theory did Lightnin Hopkins know?). You might consider this event as a learning experience for yourself as well as your student. In any case, most pop music these days is written and communicated without sheet music, either by recording or by ear/sight. So this student is probably just doing what most of his peers do.

  20. #19

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pkirk
    Conman, You say you know a great deal of theory, and that you've been playing jazz for a while, but your posts seem more like they are written by someone who is just starting to play/learn jazz. I get it: often when first getting sucked into jazz people become overzealous about the formal/academic music language (I'll guess from some of your posts that you are a student of Jeff Sherman's at Belarmine?) before they come to realize that this is not the main point: it streamlines things for those interested in difficult music, but is irrelevant for most musicians, even really best (how much theory did Lightnin Hopkins know?). You might consider this event as a learning experience for yourself as well as your student. In any case, most pop music these days is written and communicated without sheet music, either by recording or by ear/sight. So this student is probably just doing what most of his peers do.
    First of all: I have been playing for while But back in last september I had a stroke leaving my left side immobilized. it wasn't till a month ago that I could start to use my hand again. My hand is still effected although it is getting better. In my absence I could not do a thing on the guitar so I piked up Mark Levine's Jazz theory book and read it and I read almost everything on this website and have taken online Jazz improve classes. So I guess you could say I am getting started again (a beginner) in techniqe because My hand is the way it is but I have a great deal of knowledge about theory.

    Well over the years (since the 90s) I have had several instructors but yes I took lessons from Jeff Sherman at bellarmine in 2011 till i graduated Currently I am working with a guitar player who had also suffered a stroke in the past and he is helping me get my hand back to together after that I may switch instructors as My instructor as advised.

  21. #20

    User Info Menu

    Wow, man I'm sorry to hear that. Have a speedy recovery.

  22. #21

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Conman
    I am very theory focused. he obviously is not. I just want to know if anyone has Ideas on how to help him.
    It sounds like he needs the craft of songwriting, not so much theory. Basic song form, how to write a hook etc. You've gotten some good advice above. Since you're not getting paid for this you might tell him to get TrueFire's songwriting lesson. It walks right through the process in a non-technical way 1-2-3 Songwriting - Ravi - Guitar Lessons


    Good luck.

  23. #22

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Conman
    I am only suppose to help him for a bit and he has no interest in theory what do I do?
    I would give up. I just gave up with a friend of a friend. I very much think that (usually young) beginning song writers have the idea that every song is some kind of deep expression of what they are feeling in their soul and cannot connect whatever tiny bit of theory you teach them with what they are feeling and so reject it. They cannot write just a throwaway song. They are only going to write something when they are "inspired". I explained to the friend of a friend almost two years ago the importance of writing regularly. Just yesterday I heard that that's not going to happen because "songwriters these days only write 8 songs a year". Teaching good students is typically a thankless task, although musicians do seem to be more appreciative than folks in other fields. But trying to teach bad students is just masochism.

    But Bako's point is well taken. Sometimes guys who know little lock themselves in a room and come out four years later with Dark Side of the Moon or at least The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.
    Last edited by jster; 08-19-2013 at 06:55 PM.

  24. #23

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by pkirk
    Wow, man I'm sorry to hear that. Have a speedy recovery.
    Thanks Its getting better I will have to adapt my play style a little to compensate for my deficiency. Its frustrating because the mind is there but the body (or left hand) is not. However I still can play some (my main problem is moving up and down the neck with speed and using my pinky and ring finger. Chords are extra hard because of my fingers but I can play lead. recently I learned moon dance in open position.

  25. #24

    User Info Menu

    Always great to see a person overcome obstacles and maximize what they do have.

    Django would be proud.

  26. #25

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by AlsoRan
    Always great to see a person overcome obstacles and maximize what they do have.

    Django would be proud.
    lol thanks.

  27. #26

    User Info Menu

    So, JonR hit the nail on the head IMO.
    I would like to add (possibly repeat) some thoughts on this topic. As a theory teacher and guitar teacher I have been in this situation before, many times.

    Theory will not help this student in any way. At least not harmonic theory (theory of keys and chords) which is what is commonly thought of as "Theory"

    If theory is to be used at all, a discussion of form will most likely be of the most use and will also keep the student's interest. This goes back to what Jon was saying about learning WHOLE SONGS, something which can be surprisingly tough to get a student to do. In fact, I find it more impressive when a student learns a WHOLE SONG than when they learn the modes. I believe the latter to be completely useless to a songwriter BTW.

    As far as key goes... dare I say it.... also relatively unimportant to a songwriter, that's what capos are for. ; )

    Things that I have found helpfull in songwriting lessons...

    Identifying common "sections" (verse, chorus, bridge, interlude, solo, intro, breakdown, etc..) and their characteristics.

    Writing and singing super simple songs WITH the student during the lesson to help take the pressure off.

    Spending most of the lesson listening to paul simon... only kind of kidding.

    But above all else... form (which sections are being used?, how long are they?, how do often they happen?, etc.)

    When I have a student who IS well versed in theory who wants to learn about songwriting, the protocol is the same... "Learn as many WHOLE SONGS as you can and forget what harmonic theory is suggesting, just don't forget that super awesome part of that Bowie tune you learned last week and how it felt" dig?

    Without making this an overly long, "two beers in" rant. I also believe that technical proficiency on either piano or guitar (or a partner who is) is pretty essential to good songwriting.
    Last edited by timscarey; 08-22-2013 at 11:52 PM.

  28. #27

    User Info Menu

    If he's a song writer have him write songs. He doesn't need to know theory until he realizes he's limited without it. He doesn't need to know Dorian or mixolydian to write a melody. He can put some chords together and sing or hum a melody. Don't take all the pleasure of creating music away from him by demanding something he doesn't feel he needs. If the song sounds great tell him so. I hope you didn't half way validate him by saying something like "it sounds nice, but you don't know your theory so it sounds not as nice as it should . . " Creativity is a sensitive territory. Try to help him find some alternate chords. See whether he likes those and if he asks how you came
    up with them. Or try modulating the bridge or some harmony parts. Let him know that theory helps. Spice things up by changing the voicings or inversions. Move the bass around. See if his eyes get big. But if he wants to be a songwriter don't bog him down with jazz theory. You'll lose him for life.

    My two cents.

  29. #28

    User Info Menu

    There's another side to this coin. When I first started writing songs as a young person, I did so very simply. And then, when I started to learn theory, I would complicate things were it was entirely unnecessary, sometimes making changes in the name of "sophistication" when the tune would have been better left as it was, simple.

    I agree with Henry's opinion on this.
    Last edited by paynow; 08-24-2013 at 11:00 AM. Reason: Correct a typo

  30. #29

    User Info Menu

    Thanks paynow. And it really helps if you are a songwriter yourself. And what kind of songs is he writing? Jazz type tunes? Americana type tunes? Alternate rock/pop or R&B favored? There's a whole huge subject of songwriting. I actually know some good, and very successful songwriters who wouldn't know a mixolydian from a hammer. But they can play changes and create tunes, modulate to any key at the drop of a hat. A couple of these guys are doing some shows on Broadway, I believe. Hits, placed songs on albums for other artists.

    Getting too complex too early might be the worst thing for a budding songwriter. There's a world of differences between being a songwriter and a jazz musician. The two CAN coexist, but not very easily at first.
    Last edited by henryrobinett; 08-24-2013 at 10:43 AM.

  31. #30

    User Info Menu

    Here's my POV

    Before I got into jazz, I was ignorant to theory. I barely knew what a major scale was, no idea what a key was, or anything. I used to play well though. Had bands, wrote music, and it was pretty good. Even at my level of musicality now, I listen back to things I used to write, and they're actually pretty good!

    I got into jazz, and that actually stuck me in a rut in terms of writing. At first, I was learning jazz as part of school, since i was in school for music, but I only intended to use the jazz stuff as a way of writing better rock/metal stuff. So I did not focus on jazz, and I was still writing some really cool stuff. Riffs, melodies, "chord progressions" (not really progressions in the jazz sense, but it had a lot of nice stuff going on).

    After I started taking jazz seriously is when my writing got bad, I couldn't stop thinking in jazz terms, ii-V's, everything I wrote came out as really really cheesy, everything had to resolve, stay in the changes, and whatnot.

    I feel like your student might be experiencing some of this. As you said, he writes some cool stuff as it is, and he might be using jazz as a way to learn a technique to help his fingerpicking stuff, or he's afraid jazz might turn him away from what he likes now. Nothing wrong with that.

    You as a teacher, have to find your own ways of dealing with this, whether it be supporting what he does now, or actually motivating him to learn jazz or theory. Some people are just not open to playing jazz. I can't blame them. I used to hate big band stuff, and I used to (and still) hate Kenny G, and that's what most people are exposed to.

    Anyways, I know you're a jazz guy, and it's weird for you to think this way, but MANY kids learn to play with no theory, and they're actually pretty decent writers, composers, or instrumentalists. However, it makes it hard to collaborate. Since he doesn't understand the way you would come up with something (see the chord he has, look at the scale or arpeggio and figure out a melody) and you can't seem to teach him those things, it's pretty difficult. Again, it's not impossible to write a song without the words, and incorporate the words later. I used to do this.

    The best thing you can do is to forget about teaching him traditional theory. Here's what I would do:
    Jam with him, have him teach you one of his songs, the chord progressions. While you're learning his song, it's your job to figure out what the chords he is playing are. You do the analysis. Then just inconspicuously say "oh, that's a [name of chord] you got there." Small things like this will get stuck in his head. When you learn the song, take turns improvising on it. When he's improvising, it's your job to make the chords sound interesting. You can figure out inversions, melodic ways to play the chords, etc. Help his ear come up with something he could play and be like "wow! that sounded cool."
    When you're improvising and he's playing chords, it's your job to do something theoretic in your playing. Take the chords and play the right scales in a solo, make up little melodies for him. Record all this and look back onto it, or give him the recording, I'm sure it will help him get something out of it and add to the tune.
    As I said, little subtle things will get stuck in his head more. Say, if he's playing a tune with a lot of open string chords, ask him to transpose it to another key, but don't say it that way. The conversation would more or less go:
    you: that sounds cool, but I bet it would sound better up a few frets
    him: yeah but I need the open strings to play the chords
    you: no you don't, you can actually play different forms of the chords up here like this [and you play some really nice, rich voicing]
    and just have him try it. It'll take a couple of minutes to help him transpose all the chords he has to up the 3 or so frets you'll probably have him move, but after you're all done just say "guess what, you just transposed a whole song, that would take some people much longer to do, and that's if they have the sheets on them"

    Also, when learning tunes, use staff paper to write out the chords, say it's for yourself, but have him keep a copy.

    Small things will ease him into theory, and if he's really interested, he'll ask you.
    Remember that the job of the teacher is to teach, but a teacher can't teach if the student doesn't ask.

  32. #31

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by Conman
    I am not getting paid. I am working with an instructor to get my hand back in shape who also instructs this kid I am talking about and asked If I would help him start to write a song. no money involved.
    Sounds like the other instructor is passing the buck onto you. How little is your time worth to waste it on a student that doesn't want to learn? We use to do this all the time whenever we got difficult/stubborn students with monied-up parents. Take their money, pass him off to some other schlub who doesn't value their own time, and teach the students we want to teach.

  33. #32

    User Info Menu

    Your student (and you) should check out the songwriting course on cousera. It's put on by the Berkeley school of music and it's free. It's a great course. Google coursera.

    This is course teaches songwriting without dipping into much music theory other than song structure.

  34. #33

    User Info Menu

    Maybe a place to start would be to sketch out A few familiar tunes such as Eleanor Rigby...Tuesday Afternoon...Rhythy, of the Rain...give him 5 or 6 popular chord progressions of well known tunes... Let him experiment and slowly work in some theory and guide him that way... We are all still learning...and when you don't know anything..it's hard to verbalized what you do not know..patience as a teacher and understanding goes a long ay

  35. #34

    User Info Menu

    I'm completely confused about what this thread is about. What does this guy actually want you to do?

    Am I getting this right? He comes in, plays something for you that he wrote. You ask him if he knows what he's playing. He says, "No". You ask if he wants to. He says, "No".

    I don't get it. Why is he even talking to you. He should just go write more stuff if he's happy with what he's doing.

  36. #35

    User Info Menu

    Quote Originally Posted by fep
    Your student (and you) should check out the songwriting course on cousera. It's put on by the Berkeley school of music and it's free. It's a great course. Google coursera.

    This is course teaches songwriting without dipping into much music theory other than song structure.
    That looks cool. Thanks. https://www.coursera.org/course/songwriting

  37. #36

    User Info Menu

    If he's willing to listen at all, how about using the similarities in the shapes of chords a fifth apart (e.g. C and G), just to demonstrate options he has for choosing chords? He may even ask why those chords sound good together, which sets you up to explain the circle of fifths in C and chord movement/function.. just an idea

  38. #37

    User Info Menu

    Well I may have this wrong but I thought he wanted to learn something about writing songs.