Songwriting Class

Many of us are writing songs, but feel a bit lost wondering how to tell if they’re good… and, consequently, how to make them better.  And many others of us want write songs, but don’t know how or where to start.

If either of those sound familiar to you, this class will get you on your feet and writing songs within two months.

You Will Learn:

  • How to identify song sections, song structures and arrangements.
  • A song analysis method that will help you understand what makes great songs work.
  • Various strategies to find ideas and themes for your own original songs.
  • The basics of lyric writing: narrative, point of view and tense.
  • An easy music theory method to help you write chord progressions and spice up basic songs.
  • How to use melodic structure and repetition to write catchy melody lines.
  • How to jumpstart your creativity and write when you are uninspired.
  • The most important part of song writing: the editing process.

You can participate in workshop style reviews of your own songs (if you like).

8 weeks starting January 10, 2017 – REGISTRATION IS NOW CLOSED.
Wednesday nights 6:30-8:30pm
Soundstructure Studios, 3131 Walnut Street
Studio 1 or 24, depending on class size
$160 for 8 classes (16 hours)
Min 4, max 10 students

Music Theory 101

This class is for singers and instrumentalists with little to no prior music theory study.  Starting from the concept of what sound is, you will learn notes, keys, scales, modes, chords, chord theory, rhythm, tempo, song construction, and how to communicate with musicians.  Full syllabus below.
6 weeks starting March 8, 2017
Wednesday nights 6:30-8:30pm
Soundstructure Studios, 3131 Walnut Street
Studio 1 or 24, depending on class size
$120 for 6 classes (12 hours)

Min 4, max 10 students
Registration deadline:  Monday March 5, 2018

“I learned more in the first two classes than I did in an entire semester of Music Theory class at my university!” – E.T.
Music Theory 101 Syllabus*

Basics of Sound and Musical Notes
1.1. How sound is produced and perceived
2.1. Defining and understanding key
2.2. How to build scales
2.3. How to build and use modes
Chord Theory
3.1. Chord construction
3.2. Naming conventions of extended chords
3.3. Diatonic chords and how to find them
3.4. Voice leading
3.5. “Borrowed” and “passing” chords
3.6. Chord progressions
3.7. Circle progressions and chord motion
Scales, Part Two
4.1. Altered Scales and Modes
4.2. Harmonic Minor and its Modes
4.3. Whole tone scales
Rhythm and Counting
5.1. The 1e&a System
5.2. Identifying and Feeling Note Values
5.3. Anatomy of Drum Beats
5.4. Drummer terminology
5.5. Groove: Placement of Notes Against a Beat
5.6. Odd Time Signatures and Partial Bars
Song Construction
6.1. Song sections
6.2. Construction of Melodies
6.3. Chord Substitutions
6.4. Re-harmonizing Melodies
7. Musician Language
7.1. How to Discuss Rhythm and Tempo
7.2. Common “Feeling” Terms
7.3. Audio Engineering and Effects
7.4. How Live Music Fits Together

* This syllabus is from the Summer 2017 session of Music Theory 101.  It may change slightly for Spring 2017.  If you have questions about the specifics of the spring session, please contact us.


Stage Performance Bootcamps

In these bootcamps, Lang works with a few artists live onstage in front of the audience.  You’ll get to see the changes firsthand, and learn things that will radically improve your own performances.

We have brought Lang out from Nashville several times before to work with a small group and some individuals, and we may bring him out again in 2018.  If you’re interested in possibly joining this rare event, let us know.  We haven’t narrowed down the dates yet.  It will be either a one-day event or two half-days on a weekend.

You Will Learn:

  • How to capture and engage your audience
  • How to turn your “songs” into “memorable moments”
  • The technical skills of movement
  • How, when and why to use different places on stage
  • How, when and why to change the pressure on your audience
  • To be a compelling, confident performer
  • How to conquer the small stage
  • And much more

About Lang

Lang_Bliss_200x200 e14555713022111Lang Bliss brings has over 30 years of experience in the music industry. His work as a live music producer includes everyone from weekend warrior artists, to the Armed Services, to those who have sold millions of records and written numerous #1 hits, including Sidewalk Prophets, The Henningsens, and Francesca Battistelli. Each year, Lang also helps prepare artists who perform on the largest tour worldwide 1st quarter.

As a performer himself, Lang’s been involved in the Rock, Country and CCM music industries, as a songwriter for BMG publishing, as an artist with BlissBliss (along with his wife, former Reunion Records recording artist Reneé Garcia), and signed to REX records with labelmates Sixpence None the Richer.

As a musician he’s played and sung with artists such as Grammy and Dove award winners Michael W. Smith, Rich Mullins, and Michael McDonald to name a few.

Lang learned about being onstage while touring and appearing in front of millions of people, playing literally thousands of shows. Now, Lang passes on his knowledge, training, and experience to other artists.

Working with Lang was a great experience. His instincts were spot on, and he shares his knowledge in such a helpful, creative way. I honestly can’t imagine preparing for another tour without him!” Francesca Battistelli, Dove Award winner

 “Working with Lang was life changing. I can’t describe how much confidence I gained for my live performance. In 2 hours Lang broke through barriers that have held me back for years. How blessed I am that our paths met!”  Steve Doan, Cheyenne Recording label

The way he can take a song and transform it from something that sounds “good” to something that sounds incredible and is exciting to watch is absolutely amazing!” — CW4 Terry Beckler, 147th Army Band

“Mind Your Own Music Business” Seminar

We have held one very popular seminar with Katey Laurel in the past.  If you’re interested in an affordable seminar with Katey, let us know – we are happy to schedule another one.  You can also consult with her one-on-one by contacting her directly via her website at

Join independent performing artist, entrepreneur and music business coach Katey Laurel and Performance High for three hours of in-depth music business training and Q&A discussion on such topics as setting up and running your artist-based business, growing and managing multiple revenue streams, music licensing, branding and social media.  Come prepared with your voice recorder and a notebook, you’re guaranteed to come away with a plethora of ideas to expand and organize your existing business and thrive in today’s music business ecosystem.

MG07342571879744OYou Will Learn:

  • How to grow multiple streams of income.
  • How to license your music for use in TV, film and radio.
  • How to set up an artist-based business.
  • How to brand yourself and grow that brand.
  • The best ways to use social media to expand your business.
  • How to thrive in today’s music business.

This seminar will include a long Q&A session so you can get the answers you need

About Katey

Roots-pop songstress Katey Laurel spins hopeful, romantic, introspective songs about our common humanity.  Her sound is reminiscent of an imaginary time and space where Natalie Merchant, Fiona Apple and Emmylou Harris formed a band and wrote songs together.  Katey has had a number of music placements on shows including MTV Catfish, E! Total Divas and Keeping Up With the Kardashians, NBC’s The Voice and more, as well as indie films and web ads.

Katey grew up drawing pictures, writing stories, riding horses and playing in the woods in the Colorado mountains. This is the idyllic foundation from which she crafts her life and her music.  Katey’s songs range from radio-friendly pop tunes to lush, cinematic songs for film and television. With background in Classical piano and French horn as well as guitar and voice, her artistic roots are both deep and diverse. Laurel draws her musical inspiration as a songwriter from many musical styles including bluegrass, classic rock, alternative, country, and even 80s dance-pop.

Katey has performed hundreds of shows via venues, radio, television stations and festivals in Colorado and around the US, including Hotel Cafe (LA), The Bitter End (NYC), Bluebird Cafe (Nashville), Hard Rock Café Denver and Nashville, Colorado State Fair and the Greeley Stampede. She has built a solid fan base with her unique voice and a satisfying blend of folk and pop, garnering airplay on Triple A and AC radio stations around the country including KALC, KMNT, KBCO, KFMU and KOTO. Most recently she is a Great American Song Contest Top 5 Winner and NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Contest Regional Finalist, and has had two songs in rotation on Starbucks overhead programming.

As a live performer, she has shared the stage with Howie Day, Bill Mallonee, Katie Herzig, Matt Morris, Trevor Hall and others. With her latest album “Periscope” produced by industry veteran Warren Huart (The Fray, Aerosmith), Katey Laurel is now poised to reach an even larger audience in the days ahead.

 Katey’s Awards

  • Walnut Valley Festival New Song Winner
  • Tucson Folk Festival National Finalist
  • Great American Song Contest Finalist
  • NPR Mountain Stage NewSong Southwest Regional Finalist
  • Texaco Country Showdown Southwest Regional Finalist
  • International Songwriting Competition Semi-Finalist
Katey Laurel gives a seminar about music business at The Walnut Room
Katey Laurel gives a seminar about music business at The Walnut Room