Jamie Anderson, Singer - Songwriter - Parking Lot Attendant

Songwriting Lessons by Jamie Anderson

You don't need a formal background in music to write songs. Janis Joplin said that she doesn't write songs, she just makes 'em up and Jamie takes a similar organic approach. Take private lessons or one of her classes. Get feedback for existing songs and suggestions for new ones. We can explore finding inspiration, penning interesting lyrics and making up melodies.


Songwriting for Everyone

This fun class is for beginners primarily but is open to songwriters of all levels. We'll discuss the basic elements of a song (lyric and melody), hooks, songwriting tools, creating the space to write, finding inspiration, elements of a good story, avoiding songwriting traps, different lyric forms, and methods for finding melodies. Jamie will provide examples and handouts, facilitate discussions and everyone will do some writing exercises. There's no grade or pressure, just do your best and have a good time.

You'll write at least one song. You'll have the opportunity to play it for the class and receive friendly feedback from Jamie. This is not a performance class so don't worry if you think you don't have the instrumental or vocal skills to play for other people because what matters is the song itself.

There are two different versions of this class. One is offered weekly for 4-6 weeks. It's also available as a one-time workshop of varying length for festivals and other special events. For more information, contact us.

Songwriter's Circle

This is for students who have taken Songwriting for Everyone or have other songwriting experience. In this class, Jamie cracks the whip and gives you lots of helpful activities for exercising that writing muscle. Each class will end with an assignment to write a song for next class. This could include a first line, topic, genre of song or other fun idea. If you think you've run out of lyric ideas and melodies, and if you want helpful feedback on your songs, then this is the class for you.

This is a two hour class once a week over a month. A one-time workshop of two to four hours can also be offered.

For further songwriting study, Jamie recommends these books:

  • Songwriting and the Guitar, editor: Jeffrey Pepper Rogers, String Letter Publishing, 2000 (includes Jamie's chapter, Songwriting Traps and How To Avoid Them), www.stringletter.com
  • The Craft of Lyric Writing, Sheila Davis, Writer's Digest Books, 1985
  • Writing Down the Bones, Natalie Goldberg, Shambhala, 1986
  • One Thousand Songwriting Ideas, Lisa Aschmann, Hal Leonard Publishing, 2008

Live in Ottawa and looking for lessons in guitar, mandolin or ukulele?