How did you get into songwriting? Was there one teacher or program that inspired you the most as you were learning?
I started in high school. I had already taken to composition and arranging, and made the jump to songwriting when I moved to a new school. I’d say Matt Corriel, who primarily writes for musical theater, but has taught seminars on American Popular Song as a tradition of its own.
What are you currently doing as a performing songwriter?
My band and I were recently awarded “Last Band Standing in New England” in a regional competition organized the New England Music Awards. We are releasing our debut full length album, When Reality Calls, this fall to follow the success of two EPs released in 2014 and 2015. Hear the first single from the new release
What do you hope to do in your class? What can students expect to get out of it?
We will listen, analyze, and discuss a variety of recordings to illustrate different tricks and tools used by songwriters before breaking out to write. We’ll use structured exercises to help focus our writing and work with one another to provide constructive feedback and practice co-writing.
Can anyone write a song?
Certainly anyone can write a song. Many military and sports anthems were conceived by people without the intention of being a songwriter. It certainly helps to have a background in music theory, or experience playing an instrument, but those are not prerequisites. I believe an ability to pick up on patterns and a willingness to take risks are the best assets to an aspiring songwriter.
What do you like to do when you’re not teaching or performing?
Outside of performing and teaching, I like to play Fifa 13, participate in civic life, attend shows, support locally-owned small businesses, and wonk out on housing and transportation policy.
Learn more about Dan at www.danmastersonmusic.com