SAA grew from the BMI Contemporary Songwriter Workshop founded by Samantha Cox, Assistant VP/Writer-Publisher Relations at Broadcast Music, Inc.; Charlie Feldman, Vice President/Writer-Publisher Relations at BMI; and instructor Billy Seidman in 2000.
Historically, music publishers took on the job of training promising composers to hone their talents within a bull pen of superstar, mid-level, and developing writers, all learning and growing from each other's experience.
As that model became a thing of the past, a new one relevant to today's music scene was needed. Some 14 years later, the BMI Contemporary Songwriter Workshop is still going strong. Demand has grown faster than the workshop could accommodate, and that's why the Song Arts Academy was launched. Here's an overview of our programs:
The Songwriters Workshop Intesive is based on the BMI Model, and is designed to teach those who want to write better songs a new vocabulary for how to listen to them. To achieve this, we use a unique critiquing system, giving writers definitive insight into what drives a song and what emotion is literally at its heart. By learning this critiquing system and the songcraft/decision-making process of the world's greatest songwriters, workshop participants quickly see new directions in which to take their ideas and apply them to their own songs.
The Workshop offers a weekly writing assignment designed to "Grow your Ears" and sensitivity. After 4-5 weeks, you'll understand organically so much more about how the songs you love are constructed, and how to construct your own. The format is: 15 minutes of member song critiques, 15 minutes of Title Ideation™ (Workshop members discuss title ideas they are working on) An hour of Interactive/lecture discussion on specific areas of "Advanced Song Craft" ™ :30 minutes of current & classic song critiquing and :30 minutes of member song critiquing then the handing out of the weekly writing prompt assignment.
Whereas The Workshop Intensive is based on a condensed syllabus similarly to that taught by Mr. Seidman at NYU Steinhardt: https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/music/composition/faculty/seidman and The New School, The Advanced Writers Forum is for writers to purely play their songs for the purpose of getting the best constructive critiques in NYC in order to re-write and bring each songs level of quality significantly higher. (See reviews of the Forum on the main Page) There are no "Course materials" handed out or assignments in the Forum. The unique insights and high quality of the critiques alone lead writers to see/choose many opportunities to make their songs exceedingly stronger via the insights, perspectives, and experience Mr. Seidman brings to their songs. It's also a Forum for continued growth, for networking, collaborating with peers, for road testing songs before recording them, and for finding resources from attorneys, producers, collaborators, musicians, studios, and others. The Forum includes visits from industry wigs as well.
The Workshop Intensive runs five weeks, meeting 2 1/2 hours each week. The cost is $325.00. The Advanced Writers Forum meets on a single scheduled evening as posted on our main page and costs $65.00 per writer. (Forum payment is via VENMO, @Billy-Seidman ) See the current schedule of classes on our home page, click here. Workshops and Forums fill up fast so act to secure your spot.
SAA also offers Vocal and Performance Training, Contemporary Music Producing and Arranging, and Master Classes in Music for Advertising. Click here for schedules and details about these classes.
The SAA Scholarship/mentor program is called Friends of SAA. Friends listen to writers' music and review lyrics, pictures, profiles and links posted on our site. If they like what they hear, Friends can choose to make a sponsorship donation. Writers wanting to be considered, Click here. Tell us about yourself and your music, and perhaps one of our Friends will dig your music and vibe with the support of an SAA scholarship donation.
Thanks for getting acquainted with SAA; we look forward to hearing any thoughts or comments about our programs, staff, or any questions.
Wishing you great success in your writing and careers, and remember: Aim high and have fun!
Billy Seidman - Founder