MUSA120-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020

Song Writing 1

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 13 July 2020
End Date: Sunday, 8 November 2020
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Friday, 24 July 2020
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 25 September 2020


This course deals with the basics of song-writing including creative approaches to song writing, song notation skills, listening-based analytic techniques of songs from a wide repertoire.

This course takes a practical approach to the basics of song writing: structure, lyrics, harmony, melody, instrumentation/timbres and textures. It aims to provide students with an overview of song writing styles from the 1950s onwards, and further develop skills of song writing.  The course explores in detail many song-writing styles, approaches to lyric setting and song arrangements, and presents a range of analytic methods and modes.

Learning Outcomes

  • acquired knowledge of a range of song-writing styles and genres; 

  • acquired lyric writing skills; 

  • acquired music writing skills; 

  • compiled a portfolio of original songs (notated and non-notated)
  • acquired listening-based analysis and commentary skills; 

    Transferable skills:
  • the ability to work in a disciplined and persistent way on an individual project
  • peer review skills
  • the ability to be self-reflective about one’s own work
  • ability to produce creative work within a specific timeframe
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Subject to approval of the Head of the New Music programme, on submission of a portfolio.

Timetable Note

Student workload (150 hours) will be allocated to:
• 24 hours attending lectures
• 18 hours attending composition workshops
•  8 hours completing workshop commentary
• 100 hours drafting and writing (and possibly recording or realising) portfolio content

Lectures will be held on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10am, and tutorials will follow the Thursday lectures. It is expected that all students enrolled in this course will attend all the Composition workshops.

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Reuben de Lautour


Justin DeHart and Hamish Oliver


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Workshop Commentary 10%
Song Drafts 20%
Portfolio 70%

Student output consists of a portfolio and workshop commentary. The portfolio must contain three original songs. At least two of these must be presented in draft version at a composition workshop.

All assessments are due on the specified date and should be submitted through the LEARN system. Late work will be accepted up to one week after the deadline with a 10% penalty.

All assessments are due on the specified date and should be submitted through the LEARN system. Late work will be accepted up to one week after the deadline with a 10% penalty.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $867.00

International fee $4,000.00

* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts .

All MUSA120 Occurrences

  • MUSA120-20S2 (C) Semester Two 2020