Bambara Primary School tells us about their songwriting process

Thank you to Donna Marwick-O’Brien, who has sent us through the below information, about the processes her students through creation to submission of their ACMF National Songwriting Competition songs:

At Bambara Primary School, students are constantly immersed in rhythm, rhyme, and melodic activities so by the time they’ve reached years 6 and 7, song writing is the next logical step.

Steps taken in the Song Writing Course:

1. Lots of brainstorming and collecting of ideas amongst the students.
2. The children look at their own lives and what they would like to write about, for example some students write about home, family, relationships, future, peace, while others prefer to write about controversial subjects (this year one group wrote a song about the dictator, Kony). Others write fun action songs which they get to teach to the junior classes.
3. Identifying popular songs and their chord structures. Recognising that a huge number of these songs consist of only 4 chords. For example,
‘Boulevard of Broken Dreams’ (Green Day) – Am / C/ G/ D &
‘Scar’ (Missy Higgins) – C / G/ Am/ F
4. Look at changes in choruses and bridges.
5. Teacher plays some of these chord structures while students explore vocally or on instruments until they feel they have a melody they are happy with. This can take quite a while as it is important for the students to move out of their ‘heads’ into their feelings.
6. In groups, the students identify and work to their strengths. Some maybe writers and are in charge of the lyrics (although input is encouraged from all). Others work out instrumental parts, lead etc while singers take their role. A non-musical student is assisted by other children or the teacher to play a simple musical pattern or chords to fit with the song.
7. Approximately one term is spent getting these songs to a performance level.
8. Students create their own power point which is played while they perform.
9. Once they have learnt their own songs, many students assist other groups in their performance.
10. Several rehearsals take place in front of other classes.
11. A final concert is held for parents and guests.
12. Songs are recorded and sent to ACMF.