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Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014
 

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'How to Write a Song'



"How to Write a Song" was a Princeton Atelier course at the Lewis Center for the Arts taught by Paul Muldoon and John Wesley Harding where students explored the art of songwriting and performed in public. Read more.


Video Closed Captions


PAUL MULDOON: My name is Paul
Muldoon and this is the

Atelier on how to write a song.

[SINGING]

PAUL MULDOON: You know, one of
the things about the Atelier,

of course, the central idea of
the Atelier is that it's based

on a collaboration.

And so I was thrilled to think
of the possibility of working

with John Wesley Harding, Wes
Stace, his real name, of

course, the great English
novelist.

JOHN WESLEY HARDING: Paul
and I have been

writing songs together.

And with his kind of lyrical
expertise and with my just

knowledge of throwing songs
together a bit, that's what

we're hoping to pass on.

[SINGING]

[SINGING]

PAUL MULDOON: We would take a
particular theme that's based

on some kind of emotional
charge.

It might be jealousy.

It might be anger.

It might be joy.

It might be defiance.

Whatever it might be, revenge.

And just allow the students
to go to town on that.

And it's worked out
fabulously well.

MAIA TEN BRINK: We
did loneliness.

And I thought about a love story
between the moon and the

Earth, where the moon can never
get close to the Earth,

but really wants to
be with the Earth.

And the Earth just kind
of ignores it.

And the moon's just going
around and around.

But the Earth is in
love with the sun.

EMMA ZORENSKY: We're working
with two instructors who are

very well known and they
have a reputation

that precedes them.

But they're so fantastic
to work with.

And I was definitely
intimidated, especially not

being a trained musician or
like a poet, that I just

didn't have that background.

But the feedback that they give
was fantastic every week.

And they have such a unique way,
especially Paul, of like

looking at a lyric and just
knowing the perfect thing to

do with it.

And you and your partner could
have sat and worked on the

same two lines of a song
for half an hour.

And he just like, [SNAP].

PAUL MULDOON: I would be
inclined to think of "I hope

the waves will come crash
every party in this town," and isolating

it even further and have
it a kind of bridge?

JOE EDELMANN: People get really
excited about these

songs when they hear them.

And so it's more everybody has
their own thing that they find

special about the song, they
really want to talk about.

So really the discussion has
always just sort of flowed

naturally from people's
reactions to the songs.

JOHN WESLEY HARDING: Just be
thinking about this while

you're listening to these songs
this week and also as we

go into next week, which is the
rehearsal for the gig that

is on Saturday at 9:00 PM.

EMMA ZORENSKY: I'm definitely
super excited.

It's going to be a great
opportunity to just like

actually really show what we've
been working on in this

classroom to the community,
because I think so many of the

songs are so great.

And there's so much talent, that
I had no idea, even as a

senior, existed on this campus
with regard to musicians and

lyricists and just actually
people that are creating.

PAUL MULDOON: And we had the
great honor of working

together with this group of
extraordinary students in a

class called, "How to

Write a Song." [SINGING]

MALE SPEAKER: Thank you.

[APPLAUSE]


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