Join the Songwriting Workshop:
Music Theory Basics


We're so excited to welcome you to our first-ever songwriting workshop! This six-week course will take you through the basics of chords, melody writing and form. By the end of it you'll have composed two full-length (16-bar) pieces in binary form, a couple shorter excerpts AND a little pop ditty in verse/chorus form. Follow along even if you've never composed before!

Songwriting Workshop Basics: The Details

If you're interested in joining this course, please have a look through this page outlining all of the details.

6 Weeks of Lessons:

There are two types of lessons in this mini-course:

6 main lessons, between 30-40 minutes each

7 LIVE Q&A sessions, about 45 minutes each


That means there are 13 videos in this course, totalling 8+ hours of content.

You'll have access to these lessons forever. The videos are recorded and will be available for you to watch and download at any time.

Along with the lessons, you'll also be able to see and listen to what other course participants have written. This helps to provide further insight and inspiration on your own journey.

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Who Is This Course is For?

This course will be suitable to people at virtually all levels of piano. This is because we're not studying one piece in particular - rather, we'll be picking at a lot of pieces and doing a ton of writing. Instead of one piece to win them all (such as we did with the "6 week mini-course"), we're aiming to master an understanding.

The beauty of using songwriting as a learning tool is that the end result will be a handful of music you wrote yourself, not just a pile of finished theory worksheets (though there will be those too).

I recommend that you have a year or two of piano under your belt before joining this course. You need to be comfortable reading notes all across the staff (though you don't need to be lightning-fast at it), have a decent understanding of rhythm, and a little bit of chord know-how will help (though it's not absolutely necessary).

What you'll be able to do at the end of this course:

Write a simple melody

Choose chords to go along with that simple melody

Come up with a "musical fragment" that you can then turn into a longer composition

Write a 16-bar piece of music in binary form, with a modulation, fleshed-out melody and chords/harmony. (If that doesn't make sense, it soon will!)

Write in a specific dance style (minuet, courante, etc.)

Understand and identify I and V chords, predominants ii and IV, and the vi chord - not only will you be able to find these chords in your pieces, but you'll be able to write music with them too

Write a pop song in simple verse/chorus form

Show off to all your friends (wait, what?)


Basically, you'll be sharply boosting your knowledge of chords. Dance pieces in Binary form will make more sense to you, which will boost your enjoyment of learning and playing these pieces.

Accessible Pricing – $49 USD

The pricing for this course is deliberately kept simple and straightforward. It's a one-time fee that grants you access to the content forever. There aren't any subscription fees, tiers or refunds.


The pricing is the same as the 6-week mini-course, which follows a similar format. For $49, you'll get to write some music, learn some theory, and enjoy the process alongside other piano enthusiasts.


Outline of the Course

Here's a brief overview of each of the six lessons:

Lesson 1: Chords, Cadences and the basics of binary form

This lesson will get you up-to-speed with some basic concepts, so nobody gets behind on our music theory adventure.

Lesson 2: Implied Harmony and Q&A-Style Melody Writing

It can be challenging to figure out the harmony in music when there aren't obvious chords, so we address that in this lesson. And we get started with melody writing and our first composition exercises.

Lesson 3: Predominants and Inventing a Melody

This lesson goes deeper into chords and melody, and you'll learn how to take a musical excerpt and complete it. Kind of like finishing someone's sentence, but in music.

Lesson 4: Verse/Chorus Form

We detour from our more Classical-style lessons into pop music territory. Verse/chorus form is like the modern version of binary, so we'll explore some popular pieces and do our own pop writing.

Lesson 5: Full-Blast Binary

This is where we get heavier into binary form, which is more complex than we typically assume. You'll learn how to modulate (change keys) this week and next, and you'll write your first binary form piece.

Lesson 6: The Baroque Dance Suite

Finally, we finish by discussing the Baroque dance suite, using one of Handel's as our example. Baroque dance music is where you'll largely find binary compositions, so it's worth exploring here. You'll learn to compose a piece in a specific dance style (minuet, courante, etc.)

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"I want to thank you again for creating such a wonderful and creative course. At the beginning I didn’t think I’d be able to write anything worth sharing, and now I find song writing downright therapeutic, especially when words fail, whether it be out of happiness or sadness. It’s been an amazing experience, and I loved hearing everyone’s compositions, which in turn inspired me even more when it came to the next lesson/composition. I’m looking forward to whatever courses you might offer in the future!" -Jen

"The talent and creativity of the songwriting students stands on the excellent work they have shared both here and in the Q&A sessions. It is a testament to the organization and inspiration of Allysia in putting together this short but most instructive course. I for one have benefited so much in this endeavor. Thank you Allysia for extending this gift of the joy and beauty of music to your students. " -Charles

"I just wanted to say a big thank you to Allysia for this course. It was really well constructed and you explained everything in a way that made it easy to understand. The homework was challenging in a great way and also varied which was nice. I’ve really enjoyed seeing and hearing all the wonderful compositions and everyone in the group has been so supportive, it’s been a pleasure to be involved. " -Coo

PDFs of all sheet music, worksheets and lesson plans

You'll be able to download all of the music and worksheets used in this course in PDF format. Detailed lesson plans are available as soon as you join this course if you'd like to look ahead. There are also a few other additional sheets to help you out, like a scale cheat sheet and binary form cheat sheet.

The video lessons (and the accompanying audio files) will begin on March 2, 2019 and will finish on April 13, 2019.



No prerequisites required!

If you've already participated in the "30 days of piano", our first full live course, or the "6-week mini-course", great! If not, you're still welcome to join this course. There is slight overlap of material (mainly in the first lesson), but you'll find the vast majority of this course to be original content that stands on its own.

You might want to check out the "Starter's Guide" we created for the original 30 days of piano course, since it gives a run-down of the basics you'll want to know. Most people who have been playing for a year or two should be well-equipped for this course.



Interactive Q&A Sessions

In addition to the weekly lessons, we are also doing a weekly Q&A session every Saturday for the 6 weeks. This gives participants a chance to ask questions about the things they were learning in real-time, either via text or video.

Another great feature of the Q&A sessions is it'll allow you to share your compositions with a wonderful and supportive community, and receive feedback from myself and others if you'd like.

We tried out Q&A sessions in the 6-week mini-course, and they were a huge hit. They did wonders for camaraderie and people of all skill levels were sharing their music.

Don't worry if you're not able to attend live - you'll have the chance to watch a recording later, and you can send me your practice audio/video via email.


Are you ready to join the Songwriting Workshop: Basics group and have more fun with music theory than you ever thought possible? 🙂