Song writing workshop captivates Mount Druitt youth

You need nothing to write a good song.

So says Keiran Wilson, band member and 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’.’’

Elijah Keepa, a year 12 student at Loyola Senior High School, said one of his teachers signed him up for the course after he produced a song about the Iraq war for English.

‘‘It’s pretty good making beats,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m working on a hip-hop track.’’

Elijah plays bass guitar, drums and piano and likes to write lyrics.

‘‘He [Keiran] was telling us what it takes to write music and how if we want to make it we have to work hard towards our own.’’

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