Learn to write songs yourself, completely from the "bottom"

In “Songwriting” at Vrå Folk High School, we write songs “from scratch”. To write a song, use five ingredients:

  • A text
  • A melody
  • A rhythmic groove
  • A harmonic element
  • An arrangement of sound that creates an overall impression

There are countless traditions and styles which form the basis for how the five ingredients perform optimally together.

When the songwriting line creates “new,” we do it by studying and learning the traditions and styles to know, so we are able to break them.

To create “new” is a creative process. A process that is very personal and individual.

In song writing, we do not expect that inspiration will fall from the sky. We work consciously to seek inspiration.

We dare to do away with the usual working methods. We test method “obstructions” and we work with deadlines.

In practical terms, some hours do go to writing songs. Other hours go to listening to and learning about music. We will also take the time to arrange each other’s songs and play them in the practice room. Sometimes, we record the songs in the studio.

There will be a basic introduction and lessons in music theory, text production, composition and sound study technique.

About you:

  • You have something in your heart or mind that you want to express
  • You have already worked with – or want to work with song writing
  • You are willing to share and discuss your songs with others
  • You are open to personal feedback and guidance

In the lessons, we will teach you the three main areas:

  • Analysis
  • Text and lyric
  • Arrangement and sound study technique

Analysis: Every week, we use time to listen, analyse and discuss music and lyrics that are related to genres and styles. The lessons also include some music history, where music is put in its own time. Here, you will learn to understand the different cultural streams that the music originates from. Music will also be analysed in a more academic musical context. Parameters like instrumentation, sound ideal, form, idiomatic and harmony.

Text and lyric: Here you create your own text. You will receive a wide variety of writing exercises that will be placed within a particular frame. It’s a matter of teaching you to write a text, and to put a hole in the myth that great text comes from heaven as divine inspiration. The text assignments fall into three main categories:

  1. A themed assignment with focus put on a specific subject. Your wonder and curiosity about the subject will be the focal point of your text
  2. Language development. Here you will learn to “steal” words from around the world, such as newspapers, film books and magazines and put them into new creative in context. You need to look at language as a goldmine of opportunities
  3. Personal texts – here you turn some personal experiences and feelings into lyrics

Arrangement and sound study technique: Here, we play and arrange each other’s numbers. We focus on the numbers that are suitable for orchestra, and we record them in the recording studio.

You do not have to have many songs lying in your desk drawer in order to join the song writing team, and you do not have to be good at singing. This class is for beginners, but it is also for those who want to go further in the education at the music conservatory in Aalborg, Aarhus, or Copenhagen, or other educations such as HF MUST, popular music and audio production at Aalborg University, Musicology in Aarhus or Copenhagen after the Folk High School.


Anders H. U. Nielsen

Anders is a lead singer amongst others than Uhrskov and Andersen and has previously been a guest researcher and research assistant at the Center for Danish Jazz History at Aalborg University.

In addition, he has been radio director at Radio Aalborg and sang choir at the highest level, where he has travelled extensively and performed at concerts in many countries, inside and outside of Europe. Generally, he spans broadly from rock, blues, roots, jazz over electronica, dub and modern classical music.

Anders has been employed at Vrå Folk High School since 2008 and teaches songwriting and music theory.

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