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About Pat's Seminars

Pat's seminars are 2-day events (unless otherwise noted) that run Saturday and Sunday for a total of 10 hours. 

10:00-1:00pm: Seminar

2:00-4:00pm: Critique Session 

A critique session can be included as a part of any seminar, or can be an entire re-writing session. It is an opportunity to apply the tools and techniques developed in the seminars, demonstrating how they can improve the lyric's impact. We will focus on the strengths of the lyric, with suggestions for taking the next step to make it even better. Critique sessions are either by submission or on a first to sign up basis.

Seminar Topics

Writing Better Lyrics

In this wide-ranging seminar, covering the essentials of lyric writing, you'll work on verse development, use of image and metaphor, prosody and the art of matching of lyric and music. Pat will use participant's songs as a springboard to begin conversations on effective re-writing. Interactive, challenging you with a spate of writing exercises, you'll come away from the weekend with deeper insights into writing no matter the genre. 

Writing Lyrics to Melody

There's no use writing a great lyric and a great melody if they don't work together. An unfortunate setting of a word or phrase can sink the emotion of the song, calling your listener's attention away from WHAT you are saying to HOW you are saying it. This 2-day seminar shows you how to get the most out of your lyrics by combining them accurately and effectively with melody. This is a "can't miss" seminar--it's bound to take your writing to the next level. 

Writing From A Title

Starting with a powerful and effective song title, this 2-day seminar teaches you to build it into a completed lyric, including finding an effective title, developing your idea to make your title or chorus grow, setting it to appropriate rhythm and tempo, using stressed vowel sounds to brainstorm ideas, finding title placement, and developing contrasting sections. These tools will make your writing process more efficient, and your lyrics more effective. This is how Nashville writers write a song every day--sometimes two! 

Point of View: Choosing the Best Lens

Illuminate your songwriting: Involve your audience more deeply in your song by creating the most potent lens for them to look through. This weekend seminar will focus on Point of View as a tool, illustrating and understanding all the possible angles for viewing, and their effects on the listener. Choosing the right Point of View is the difference between “Wow!” and “Next.” Let everyone see your songs shine like they should!

Songwriting Tools & Strategies

Sharpen your lyric writing skills and discover the techniques that have helped Pat's students, including John Mayer and Gillian Welch, win Grammys and write number one songs. In this seminar you'll learn how to craft more vivid lyrics by mastering the process of building great lyrical ideas into great songs. Do all the elements of your song work together to support the song's central message and emotion? This seminar will show you tools and techniques to make your song stronger and more focused, using structure and phrasing to highlight important ideas, and deepen emotional impact. Whether you're a beginner or seasoned writer, this course will help you structure your lyrics more effectively. 

Phrasing: The Body Language of Your Song

This seminar will give you important keys to phrasing your lyrics for the most impact and support of meaning. Working with rhythms and placements, you'll learn how to make sure that the line, like body language, helps to really deliver the emotion you intend. This is another "can't miss" seminar -- it's bound to take your writing to the next level. 

Verse Development

Solve "Second Verse Hell" quickly and easily by learning to what to look for in a title and how to develop the flow of ideas BEFORE you waste time writing a lyric that dead-ends is some dark alley. Learn how to advance your ideas so the song gains rather than loses interest as it moves forward. Find out how to create a chorus or refrain that can be repeated effectively without having to change the words each time. This seminar will save you time and channel your energies efficiently, allowing you to write more songs and better songs.

Lyric Writing: Building Your Sonic Fabric

This seminar will explore the difference between what you’ve written and what it could become. As a songwriter writing for singers, realize that you create not only meanings, but textures and sounds with your vowels and consonants that you can use to weave a sonic fabric, a separate level of composition, patterns to support your ideas. Using selected participant’s songs, we’ll focus on creating additional flow and momentum using the sounds inside your lines. You'll develop essential writing tools and skills: effective setting, phrasing, rhythm, and rhyme and crafting singable, memorable choruses. It’ll be fun. 

The Songwriters Guide to Metaphor

"How, then, do we break through the barriers of the well ordered conscious mind and get to where the honest impulses, the richest ideas, the deepest passions live? Waiting on the muse to ascend is a fool's errand." - Mike Reid (from his foreword to Songwriting Without Boundaries

Metaphor opens a portal beyond what’s in front of you; it opens your vision, allowing you to see the world as something more. This seminar will help you develop the most creative part of your voice: your ability to see one thing as though it were another, your ability to create metaphor. Aristotle called it "the only truly creative human act." 

We’ll work interactively from prompts, learning to discover, extend and reverse metaphor. You’ll be writing, reading aloud, and listening. It’ll expand and deepen your perspectives, give you a remarkable set of new tools, and, it may even change the way you look at the world. 

Master Class

Pat's Master Classes are legendary. In these events, watch him take already strong songs and put them through a workout until they emerge trim and toned. In this session, Pat will look at selected songs and take the time to work out any kinks, focusing on prosody between the intent of the song and structure, rhyme, rhythm, point of view, phrasing, and many other tools that have proven so useful to Grammy winners John Mayer and Gillian Welsh and seminar participants across the globe.


No one demands more of a song than Pat and he can show you how to take it all of the places it could go to cross the "finish" line, while millions cheer.

Specific Areas Covered by Seminars

Lyric Structure: Supporting Your Ideas with Structure
  • Elements of structure: number of lines, line lengths, rhyme schemes line rhythms

  • Symmetry and asymmetry

  • Creating interesting motion

  • Creating contrast between sections

  • Creating prosody with structure

  • Effective Rhyming

Rhyme Types: Enlarging the Possibilites
  • Controlling motion and closure with rhyme types

  • Creating prosody with rhyme types

  • Creating interest with rhyme structure

  • Creating surprises with rhyme structure

  • Creating contrast with rhyme structure

Brainstorming: Techniques for Unearthing Idea
  • Object Writing

  • Metaphor

  • Worksheets

  • Rhyming dictionary and thesaurus

Verse Development: Strategies for Advancing Your Ideas from Section to Section
  • Point of View

  • Tense

  • Recoloring repetition

  • Neutralizing tense and POV in a chorus or refrain

Phrasing and Setting
  • Point of View

  • Tense

  • Recoloring repetition

  • Neutralizing tense and POV in a chorus or refrain

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