See yourself as the next Bob Dylan? Maybe you’ve got a songwriting partner and you want to become the next Lennon and McCartney? Or maybe you’re more of a Burt Bacharach/Hal David type? Or Holland-Dozier-Holland. Maybe even a Mark Knopfler?

Well it doesn’t really matter, because whether you’re into writing soulful ballads, funky hip-hop, heavy rock or  enigmatic songs that defy categorization, this is the course for you!

Tamara Tamara Barschak is a pianist, composer, piano teacher, film-maker and all round creative person whom I have known for many years and she is making her years of experience and training in the creative music arts available to those who want to learn the art (and science) of songwriting. If you have ever dreamed of writing that great song that lingers – barely half-formed – in your mind, now is your chance to learn from an accomplished expert who has a vast range of experience in all kinds of music: classical, jazz, bosanova, blues, pop and rock.

Tamara is qualified and experienced in teaching all aspects of musicianship and music theory. The course – carefully devised by Tamara herself and based on her years of experience as a songwriter and music teacher – includes lyric writing, lyrical genres, musical genres, melody, metre, tempo, traditional song structure and variations of structure… i.e. those rare, exceptional songs that break the rules and get away with it!

Tamara has taught music students of all levels, ages and abilities and as some one who has learned from her myself – and written songs with her – I can attest to the fact that her diversity of range and background in music and teaching makes her the ideal teacher  for the creative skill of songwriting.

“Creativity itself cannot be taught,” Tamara explained to me, when I first studied at her feet (figuratively speaking), “but if even the merest hint or spark of creativity is already there, it can be nurtured, fed, fueled and channeled by the teaching (and learning) of rules, principles and their inevitable exceptions.” And it is precisely in the teaching of these  rules and principles – and the art of identifying the exceptions to those rules and principles – that Tamara most impressively excels!

This short but unparalleled course, which costs just £80 and requires no previous songwriting experience, consists of five sessions (1:00 – 3:30 p.m.) over the course of five weeks, starting on the 1st of October.

handsonapianoThe sessions – which will include practical exercises – are as follows:-

1 October: The Art of Lyric Writing

8 October: Writing a melody part 1 (notes, patterns, intervals, chord progressions and key signatures)

15 October: Writing a melody part 2 (rhythm, rhythmic patterns, time signatures, tempo and metre)

22 October: Preparation for the Students’ Final Songs (with coaching and advice)

29 October: Recording Students’ Songs

The course, which includes practical exercises and hands-on practice, encourages artistic collaboration between the students, as many of the most famous songs were written by duos or larger groups.

In the final session, students will record their songs and get a recording to keep and take with them.

This is a unique opportunity to fully explore one’s own creativity, compose a song from scratch and record it forever!


I wanted to do a list of the ten most iconic songs of the last fifty years. The test was not whether they were my personal favourites, but whether they were truly iconic. Iconic implies recognizable, but I have tried to avoid the modern bias one often sees in these lists.

I was a little bit concerned that I didn’t have anything by the Jacksons or Michael Jackson, but I couldn’t think what to take out. I also wasn’t sure whether to go for Sound of Silence or Bridge over Troubled Water. So I made my choice and now now all I can say is here is the list – in alphabetical order.

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

American Pie – Don McLean

Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen

Dancing Queen – Abba

Everybody’s Talkin’ At Me – Nilsson

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road – Elton John

House of the Rising Sun – The Animals

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction – The Rolling Stones

Imagine – John Lennon

In the Ghetto – Elvis Presley

My Way – Frank Sinatra

No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley

Pinball Wizard – The Who

Sound of Silence – Simon and Garfunkel

Stairway to Heaven – Led Zeppelin

Sultan’s of Swing – Dire Straits

Tambourine Man – Bob Dylan

Twist and Shout – The Beatles

Whiter Shade of Pale – Procal Harum

You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling – The Righteous Brothers

Comments and disagreement welcome.