Songwriter's Toolbox

Songwriter's Toolbox Program

— Offered by Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences: Department of Music—

This program is a deep dive into the world of professional songwriting from the perspective of the songwriter. Through working with multi-platinum songwriter Kenny Lamb and University of Arkansas music professor Jake Hertzog, you will receive training in the art, craft and business of songwriting. The program covers melodic composition, lyric writing, songwriting history, and the unique processes of marketing, and pitching songs in an evolving music industry.

After taking this series, you will be able to:

  • Compose songs in contemporary style that demonstrates key elements of songwriting
  • Identify the importance of the social, industry, musical influence and chronological context of historical songs
  • Distinguish between the scholarly frame, artistic frame, and the commercial frame of a song
  • Assess the Technical elements of a song, including lyrics, melody, form, production, and style
  • Understand various methods of demo creation as applicable to songwriting
  • Describe the processes by which songs are marketed to various music industry agents

Access / Completion Time:
3 Months Per Course

U of A 10% discount available - view details


Lyric Writing


This course highlights aspects of the lyric writing process such as rhyme, cliché and the art of finding “just the right way” to say something. Additionally, well known and creative examples of lyric writing are discussed and presented for analysis.


Theory and Melody Composition for Songwriters


Melodic construction is a key aspect of songwriting. In this course, concepts of melody and harmony are broken down and presented in relation to the songwriting process. Topics include melodic intervals, common chord progressions, and the use of chord tones in creating melodies.


Marketing and Networking for Songwriters


This course will take an intimate look at the important marketing and network building skills that can make or break a songwriter’s career. In an industry that is fundamentally built on connections, this course presents strategies for navigating and cultivating the type of nuanced professional relationships crucial for success. Topics include pitching songs, the use of song pluggers, proper etiquette, demo creation and the roles of music industry professionals in the songwriting world.


Demo Tape


This is a chance to receive feedback from established songwriters on student’s original songs. Up to three songs may be submitted for a critique of melody, lyrics, concept and commercial appeal. Submissions will not be critiqued on production quality. Feedback will reference concepts covered throughout the program.