Fleet Foxes frontman Robin Pecknold takes education seriously. Years ago, Pecknold took time off from the shimmering indie-folk celebrity to enroll in Columbia University. This year, Pecknold has been freelancing, appearing on the Big Red Machine album and in the studio with Kanye West and Post Malone. Today, Pecknold announced that he will soon be teaching an online songwriting course for School Of Song.
Starting in January, Professor Pecknold will be leading a four-week workshop. He’ll be doing lectures, live question-and-answer sessions, and he’ll likely grade your writing homework. Here’s how Instagram School Of Song describes the topics Pecknold will cover:
Processes and Manifestos: In this course, we’ll look at the full lifecycle of creating a song: how to come up with musical and lyrical ideas, achieve consistency by establishing a musical vision early on, and understand the many hats. different that we have to wear as songwriters.
Melody and Lyrics: Stravinsky once said that melody is the only aspect of music that cannot be taught, but in this course we will do our best, looking at various means of melodic development, the importance of rhythm for memorization, interval relations, using extensions and common tones, and melody writing techniques suitable for harmonization. We will also explore the relationship between melody and lyrics.
Using musical ‘technologies’ for defamiliarization: a song can (and should) start from anything, whether it’s an unfamiliar instrument, a new plug-in or a new application, a strange chord mode or harmonic, a YouTube video, a sample, or any number of things. In this course, we will discuss the difference between making music and using these new technologies, and the importance of both for the creative process.
Attention & Novelty: How to best seize the opportunity to maintain a listener’s attention? We will tackle this question at several timescales: over the course of a song, throughout an album and throughout a career. We will talk about solving the problem of managing expectations and surprise. We will also explore the closely related topic of novelty (both for ourselves as creators and for others as listeners).
I wonder if the Attention & Novelty class will cover former member of Pecknold’s Fleet Foxes group, Father John Misty. Pecknold’s course costs $ 120, which is actually a lot less than I expected, and you can sign up here.