Song writing workshop captivates Parramatta youth

You need nothing to write a good song.

So says Keiran Wilson, facilitator of the CAPTIVATE song writing workshop run in Mount Druitt last week for students in years 11 and 12 across the Parramatta diocese.

‘‘The first thing I teach them is that you don’t need to be good at your instrument to write a song,’’ he said.

‘‘Paul McCartney wrote a guitar song and only used two fingers. He doesn’t know how to read music and he’s one of the greatest songwriters of our time.’’

Mr Wilson decided to run the two-day course after he noticed a gap in students’ education while videographer for the Parramatta Catholic Education Office’s annual CAPTIVATE showcase, a performing arts initiative for primary and secondary schools in the diocese.

‘‘There were all of these really good musicians but I found that they don’t compose at all or write their own stuff, so I thought there was a bit of a gap in what they were being taught.

‘‘This course isn’t about music theory at all, because they’re learning that stuff in school.

‘‘It’s to try get kids to start composing and get the creative juices going because the earlier you start obviously the better you’re going to be at it.’’

Mr Wilson — who performs guitar, vocals and piano in band Red Oxygen — said his favourite part of the course is when students are asked to identify how many layers are in Lily Allen’s song The fear.

‘‘They usually come back with 12, maybe even 15, but there is actually 52 different layers in the song, all different instruments,’’ he said.

‘‘That’s a bit of a shock.

‘‘They have to start thinking ‘if there’s 52 layers in a normal pop song, I need to start putting these layers in my song to make it sound as good as a studio recording’.’’

Joseph George, a year 11 student at Parramatta Marist High School, said he recorded a sample with guitar and drums to gain entry to the two-day course the night before it started.

‘‘I was interested because I want to get into music, it’s a big dream,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m working on a song that’s heavy metal, but like ’80s heavy metal.

‘‘It’s basically loud and aggressive.

‘‘We were here to work on our song and improve the way we write it.

‘‘It’s been interesting, that’s for sure, and a lot of learning.’’

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