Week One (15th November-21st November)

This was the first week where we sat down in our groups to plan our workshop. I was grouped with people that weren’t there that day, so I switched groups and worked with Ellis and Tom instead. I think this is a great group as we all have very different skills, for example, Tom is great at lyrics, Ellis is good with production and I am an instrumentalist. We all have a great sense of pitch and rhythm, so I think creating a successful workshop should be really fun with them.

We were given a community called ‘Youth In Mind’ to deliver the workshop to. This is a local mental health organisation for young people. It supports children and young adults through mentoring, interactive activities, 1:1 support, confidence-boosting, family therapy sessions and more. Our audience will be a small group of teenagers similar to our age, so the workshop we have chosen should fit really well; we could make it a little more challenging if they’re up for it too.


First, we brainstormed some initial ideas that we could do, such as a singing workshop, guitar lesson, ukulele workshop, improv class and more. We picked the one that would be most suited to any group we were given, from young people who are not musical to older people that may have experience in this field. This was the production/songwriting workshop. Deciding on this was fairly easy as it is something we can all get involved with as we all have a fair bit of experience in songwriting and production. We started to plan the games we would introduce to the group and ended up changing this a few times before deciding on a simple rhythm game as the first game, and a musical drawing game as the warm down.

Whilst working on the plan, we were given the iPads to experiment with Garageband on, as the class will be using these for the production element of the workshop. We did this to make sure we know our way around this software before we hand it over to the group, as we are the professionals in this environment. We have to be aware of any issues they might come across, how to fix them, and most importantly, how to explain how to make a simple song and navigate the UI to people with no experience in production. Deciding to stick to simple songwriting means, by using a C major key and the drum pad which only goes up to semiquavers, is a good idea as it keeps things easily explainable and understandable for anyone. However, if anyone wants to challenge themself by using different keys and creating a more complex drum beat, we will allow this.

After this, we wrote down a brief plan of our workshop, how long each section should last and what things it will include. Here is a concise rundown of the idea:

Intro: 3/5 mins
Who, what, why etc

Game: 5/10 mins
a quick rhythm game with percussion

Production/songwriting: 30/40 mins
basic rhythm
chords (chance)

Lyric writing: 30/40 mins
give lyrics reference (a song already out)
give a list of ideas
help with lyrics
create a melody

Warm down: 15 mins
picture game
3 songs of different styles and moods

Targets For Next Week

-Make the plan more detailed. We can do this by expanding on each bullet point, indicating what this means and how we will actually achieve this. We need to do this to make sure the workshop goes well and all three of us know exactly where we are task wise on the day.

-Test our own ideas between ourselves by working through our plan methodically as though we are the students, making sure the different parts make sense to us. This is important as if we don’t understand our own workshop as musicians, non-musical people won’t either.

-Deliver a shortened version of the workshop to classmates and gather feedback. I want to do this to get improvements early on and see how the workshop goes down with a group of musicians who already have experience with songwriting and production.