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Pat Pattison – Professor of Songwriting (Berklee)

Ah, what a wonderful evening with the one and only Pat Pattison, lyric-writing extraordinaire, Professor of Songwriting from the famed Berklee College of Music. It’s been 2 years since attending one of Pat’s seminars and though I’ve been dabbling in, but mostly out of my songwriting, just being in the presence of songwriting royalty has given me the kick up the butt I needed to get back on the horse again with my songs. So this smile you see is the smile of reinvigoration, of excitement and of thirst – here’s to plenty of new songs, good, bad and ugly!

 

complete cheese – and I love it!

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Picking the brains of these extraordinaires: Pat Pattison and Bonnie Hayes workshop

Pat Pattison and Bonnie Hayes. Two of Berklee’s (College of Music) finest professors, royalty in songwriting, two people who genuinely care about the art of writing songs and equipping their students with the tools to produce better music, sigh!

This last weekend I got to spend time picking the brains of both Pat and Bonnie at their recent songwriting workshop. To simply be in the presence of these two was awe-inspiring with their knowledge, experience and line-up of phenomenal musicians/ songwriters they have taught/ worked with (Pat taught John Mayer and Gillian Welch to write songs and had recently spent a week teaching the writers at Disney, that’s write DISNEY, to write better songs for their movies, just to name a few, and Bonnie played for Billy Idol back in the day and wrote songs for Bonnie Raitt – BONNIE RAITT!!! Not that name dropping matters =p ) but to top off the delightful weekend I was fortunate enough to have my song “Someday” appraised by them. Of course they were ruthless (in a good way of course) and everything they had to say about my song was totally right; the melody and the setting of the lyric were disjointed at times… giving emphasis to inconsequential words like “of” and “the” detracted from the emotional response of the listener … the content in the 2nd verse plateaued so there was no reason to sing the chorus again … oh such gold! Of course none of this was negative feedback, in fact I was so thankful for their honesty – how else am I going to get better as a songwriter? What I was thoroughly taken back by was how encouraging both Pat and Bonnie were. Bonnie dealt with the music and Pat dealt with the lyrics #dreamteam. They loved the chords and the melody, the bridge was “very Bacharach” (as in Burt!), the chorus was beautiful “remarkable” even, and the “will you think of me someday” catch line was “so cool” but the setting of the lyrics had to be perfect, no just kinda good or just a little lumpy or clumsy.

Ok Pat and Bonnie, yep you totally schooled me with my own song. Thank you for the kick up the bum and the reminder to never settle for just KINDA good … perfection here I come!

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