Fleet Foxes’ Robin Pecknold Is Sharing His Songwriting Wisdom By Teaching A Workshop

Robin Pecknold has proven himself to be one of indie’s best songwriters, as evidenced by the tremendous body of work he’s built up with Fleet Foxes over the years. Now, he’s getting ready to share his wisdom with a new songwriting workshop.

The workshop will take place on four consecutive Sundays — January 16, 23, 30, and February, with two one-hour lecture sessions on each day, at 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. PT, to accommodate different time zones. Pecknold is teaching the workshop through School Of Song, and they detail the four topics the course will cover:

“Process & Manifestos: In this class, we’re going to take a look at the full life-cycle of a song’s creation: how to come up with musical and lyrical ideas, achieving consistency by establishing a musical vision early on, and understanding the many different hats we have to wear as songwriters.

Melody & Lyrics: Stravinsky once said that melody is the only aspect of music that can’t be taught, but in this class we’ll give it our best shot, looking at various means of melodic development, the importance of rhythm to memorability, interval relationships, utilizing extensions and common tones, and techniques for writing melodies that accommodate harmonization. We will also explore the relationship between melody and lyrics.

Utilizing musical ‘technologies’ for defamiliarization: A song can (and should) start from anything, be it an unfamiliar instrument, a new plug-in or app, a strange tuning or harmonic mode, a YouTube video, a sample, or any number of things. In this class we’ll discuss the difference between songcraft and the employment of these novel technologies, and the importance of both to the creative process.

Attention & Novelty: How can we best rise to the occasion of maintaining a listener’s attention? We’ll discuss this question at many timescales: over the course of a song, throughout an album, & over an entire career. We’ll talk about solving the problem of managing expectations and surprise. We’ll also explore the closely related topic of novelty (both to ourselves as creators and others as listeners).”

The course costs $120, so learn more about it here.