In the first of a two part interview, I sat down with my former colleague at the Berklee College of Music, Mark Simos, to discuss the strategies featured in his book Songwriting Strategies: A 360-Degree Approach.
In May when I visited to work with (orchestra director) Clark Chaffee’s string program at Stevenson High School I was pleasantly shocked to learn that he requires every student to write their own composition, including bass lines, inner voices, counterpoint, melody, and chord progression. Perfect!! As far as I’m concerned, his curriculum should be adapted by every classical music education program in the country. His worksheet is really well done and should enable any music student to understand and execute a decent piece of “tonal” music. And it’s a direct refutation of anyone who thought this couldn’t be done.