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Seminar Reviews

John Mayer, at a Clinic at the Berklee Performance Center 

Student Question: "I was wondering if you took any songwriting classes at Berklee, and, if you did, did you find that, if you were assigned a project where you were required to write in a certain song form, or have certain techniques, did you find that it took away from the creativity of the song?" 

John Mayer: "I love it. I love it. I still do it. You know, I took a class with a great teacher named Pat Pattison, a really great teacher, and he was very honest with the class and said, 'You know, you might never use this, but I'm giving you the tools.' And I didn't understand at the time, but I still remember the examples that I learned. .. I learned a lot of stuff in that class in terms of, just again, how to approach things.

Just think about rhyming schemes: is this funny sounding? Is this weird? Learning deceptive resolution. And you don't know they're there, sometimes, unless someone tells you, and then they become an option. You know, it's almost like going to your tool shed-- this is what I can use. It's like John Madden: 'These are all the plays I can run.' The more plays you learn to run, the more you have when you sit down and you go, 'How do I take this idea and get it to somewhere else?' So I really appreciated it, and I still read that book. I've got that book on the tank of my toilet, Writing Better Lyrics. I think it's great."

As a professional songwriter I liken the sessions with Pat to going back to my golf pro to check on my golf swing. You are never too old to learn in life, and yesterday I learned a couple of things that I can now add to my writers"tool box". I am an unabashed fan!

- Bruce Woodley, from The Seekers

It's one thing to be a great songwriter, but to create a generation of great songwriters is truly a gift.

- Marshall Chu

When traveling to last year’s TAXI Road Rally, I found myself faced with a 5 hour flight. How did I spend that 5 hour flight? In the first four hours, I read Pat Pattison's latest book, The Essential Guide to Rhyming 2nd Edition. What did I do in the 5th hour? I reread chapter 8, “Sonic Bonding.” 

There are some stunning, drop-down-on-your-knees-in-awe revelations in that chapter. It begins with internal rhyme, then covers three forms of assonance (simple, hidden, family), alliteration, a new analysis of consonant families, concealed alliteration, and juncture, and caps off with voice leading and prosody (a musical technique applied to lyric writing/flow). Finally Pat pulls back the curtain to reveal the magic created by Robert Frost's 2-line poem The Span of Life.

Five hours well spent, indeed.

- Paul Tarvydas

Pat, I just had the most wonderful compliment after a show and wanted to share it with you. Last year at Song School, after I sang my song “You Get What You Settle For" in your workshop, you asked me what people tell me after shows, and I replied that they generally compliment my voice and my guitar playing. And you pointed out (correctly) that they’re usually not complimenting my songs. I took note, and have been using your tools (and a great session with Steve Seskin) to improve my very best songs over the past year.

Last weekend, after a show, someone came up to me and gave me the following compliment: "Ali, I really loved your performance, everything was great, but what I really loved was your SONGS!"

- Ali Handal

When I found that Pat was giving a seminar in Byron Bay during January 2008 I decided to combine business with pleasure and booked in to Pat's course for the weekend...

I've got to say, this was the best 2 days a songwriter could spend. By lunchtime Saturday, after two and a half hours, I learned more than I had in 35 years of playing and writing music. It just kept getting better. One thing that really impressed me was that this was not a class on how to write lyrics by numbers or how to fit a template. The word "commercial" was used once, but in a context where the technique employed not only created a more "commercially acceptable" lyric, but also created a more emotive lyric.

- Brian Ralston

Pat, arguably the world's leading authority in the field of lyric analysis, absolutely mesmerized the delegates at Songposium...and made it all really fun to learn.

- James Linderman, The Muse's Muse

"I hope you remember me. I won't forget you. I took your lyric writing course in "correspondence mode." Snail mail!! If you do remember, you may also recall I am a professional copywriter. In that regard, I have found your lessons (like the exercises in building metaphors) help immensely in my work. I tell people in the ad business I got more use out of a lyric writing course from Berklee than anything else before or since. Thank you!"

- Ron Gamache

Preserving the natural integrity of the language, making use of sense-bound imagery, utilizing fresh rhyming techniques, and taking advantage of key "power positions" in the structure of a song--these were but a few of the teaching points emphasized in the workshop presented by Pattison...

Throughout the workshop, Pat enthralled his students with his humorous anecdotes, genuine warmth, and highly developed approach to the craft of songwriting.

- Don Bridges SAW Notes: Songwriter's Association of Washington Newsletter

Is your muse asleep? Are you in need of ways to get back into your unconscious mind so you can hear and find your voice rather than imitating other writers?

If so, you would have loved Pat Pattison at the Songwriter's Seminar...

...this gifted teacher led us from the seminar room on an inward journey to awaken the muse. Pat taught us skills that really do work in gathering material from the unconscious for songs. While many seminars teach songwriters how to find topics from external objects, Pat uses external objects to find truth within one's own memory bank of sensory experiences.

All in all, the two day seminar with Pat was like a welcome visit from a high priest of the Muses!

- Ed Maly Austin Songwriters Group Newsletter

He Rewrites the Songs... Teacher Pat Pattison Puts Words in the Mouths of Aspiring Lyricists

- The Washington Post

Pat was a guest at this year's Utah Songwriters Association Seminar, and his scheduled two-hour class just wasn't enough. Several of us cajoled him into holding an extra session then, and now we are excited to have him back again for a two day intensive workshop.

Above all, Pat is a gifted and motivated teacher, with some great new ideas that can change the way one looks at, and works at, songwriting. From the "technical junk" as he calls it, to his amazing "object writing" exercise, (a kind of Tai Chi for the mind) Pat's classes are truly enlightening.

- Utah Songwriters Association Newsletter

Song critiques were crisp, honest analysis, done gently while retaining the information writers need to make the songs stronger. I highly recommend the seminar for those of you who have not taken it. It might well be the best thing I have done for my songwriting in ten years.

-Alton Rex Austin Songwriter Newsletter

“Pat is a sincere professional. His help in two areas — dissecting phrasing, and how to open strong — are concepts I utilize everyday. His workshops are so intense, if you have never written a song, your eyes would simply gloss over."

- Rob Clark Rocky Mountain Song School

The Songwriters Association of Canada:

Pat Pattison - extremely educational/excellent presenter. The co-writing was great to watch. Great way of experimental learning.
- Pamela Kachowski, Edmonton, AB

I was at the Vancouver lyrics workshop with Pat Pattison this weekend. I woke up this morning and went to my piano like I always do. When I sat down to go over some tunes for a gig this Friday I realized that my whole perspective had changed. I started thinking about how I could make the songs more interesting. That is my idea of a successful workshop. Thank you for creating this opportunity for me to take a big step forward.
- Sue Turner, Vancouver, BC

It all was great, but Pat Pattison was the most value and the most entertaining to me.
- James Penny, Winnipeg, MB

Whatever you're paying Pat Pattison - it's probably not enough.
- Neil Bell, Vancouver, BC

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