New WC Songwriting Class Teaching the Finest Points of Expression | Local News
Kiki Dee once sang, “I have music in me.”
Fredrick Sanders, Director of Jazz Studies at Weatherford College, understands that sentiment very well – and now he’s looking for students who share that sentiment.
Sanders, renowned for his talents as a piano player and conducting the Weatherford College Jazz Orchestra, has now started a songwriting course. And who knows? The next Bernie Taupin or Norah Jones could be among his students.
“Writing songs is the most common way people learn to tell stories,” Sanders said. “It’s a way to pass on their heritage.”
Sanders noted that composing songwriting is among the most vital tools a student can have in developing communication, leadership, and deep personal awareness skills.
“Over the past 20 years, I have taught these elements in all of my piano lessons,” he says. “My goal has always been to teach them the responsibility of self-awareness and self-government, and composition has always been the best tool for that.”
Sanders said the class, which started this spring both in person and virtually, has students who are “disciplined and focused.” We are excited about their efforts and what they are learning. It becomes contagious, the things they write and their approach.
Sanders said the class was a great addition to WC’s strong history in music education, as evidenced by their jazz studies.
“It’s a way for us to continue to develop our young minds and our creativity,” he said. “Here in our state there aren’t many opportunities for young writers to develop the fundamental skills they need and the habits to improve these studies, so it’s great that we have that here at our. school.
Writing a song is more than rhyming on paper, Sanders said.
“Songwriters are not only people who can write words, but people who can create a mood in the environment,” he said. “Rhyming is a great way to create cadence, but storytelling isn’t always about rhymes.”
However, not everyone needs to be musically inclined to write a song. For example, the aforementioned Taupin helped make Elton John a legend with his poetry that John set to music, bringing to the world some of the greatest pop songs ever created.
“I make sure I present all the options so that they can write words and be able to perform if necessary, but some people don’t have that type of performance output. They feel better with a pen in their hand, ”he said.
And yes, Sanders sees a bit of himself in his students.
“I see myself in the hopes and dreams that I had as a young man,” he said. “I see the boldness in me, the cloudiness in the vision of sometimes not knowing what life still has to offer.”
Her students performed their works in a songwriters display case at the Alkek Fine Arts Center in April. In addition, it produces a collection of student work for CD or download.
During the spring semester, the class wrote songs based on assigned topics, such as time. Sanders said the students also worked outside of class in areas such as pop, country and western, jazz, and even in the Broadway style.
“Our students are very versatile,” he said. “We have a very eclectic class and I am delighted.”