• Offered by School of Music
  • ANU College ANU College of Arts and Social Sciences
  • Course subject Music
  • Areas of interest Musicology, Music
  • Academic career UGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Christopher Sainsbury
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2020
    See Future Offerings

Songwriting: Concepts and Craft addresses the knowledge and skills required to write songs in a range of contemporary popular styles. Songwriting is a creative practice seated in a discipline with history and context, and theory and method. Students will be guided through an historical overview of major eras and styles of popular songwriting since ca.1910s as well as in analysis of the relevant musical theory and methods that underpin songs from these eras and styles, with the intention of informing the students own portfolio of original popular songs.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. apply relevant musical theory and songwriting method to original songs in a range of modern styles and songwriting contexts.
  2. critically evaluate major songs drawn from major historical eras and styles of the recent century.
  3. apply song arranging skills to their original songs, inclusive of: writing for the rhythm section, writing for backing vocals, writing for horns and/or second keyboard (e.g. synth pad), and creating charts. 
  4. articulate key decisions taken during the creative process (both contextual, as well as technical and expressive) through an exegesis.

Indicative Assessment

Oral presentation (10 mins) 10%. LO 2.
Portfolio of 3 original songs (minimum 3 mins, 25% each) charted and recorded (basic demo style). Total 75%. LO 1 and LO 3.
Exegesis on original songs (800 word) 15%. LO 4.

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

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130 hours of total student learning time made up from:
 a) 36 hours of contact: 12 hours of lectures and 24 hours of workshop and workshop-like activities.
 b) 94 hours of independent student research,  composing, reading and writing.

Preliminary Reading

Repertoire list as reader.

Assumed Knowledge

Basic level of music theory equivalent to MUSI1105 Music Theory and Aural Skills 1, and ability to play an instrument.




Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $3120
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4800
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
3317 24 Feb 2020 02 Mar 2020 08 May 2020 05 Jun 2020 In Person N/A

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