Contributing writer Laura Webster ’91 Primary and Upper School Music Teacher.
Hathaway Brown School’s songwriting class is open to all students with knowledge of music theory and who play a harmonic instrument such as piano, guitar or ukulele. Students in the class meet for a full year to learn the basics of songwriting: melody, harmony, song structure and lyrics. This sequential and developmental course is both lecture and lab based. Students record their compositions and submit them on-line as well as play them for the class. The class gives critical and constructive feedback. Students have the opportunity and are required to play at Brown Bag Lunch Concerts as well as outside venues such as Gamekeeper’s Taverne and Nighttown. Special guest artists such as Jim Brickman and Anne Cochran, Dar Williams and SoNuvo present masterclasses where student’s work is presented and given consideration by masters in the field. Songwriters are involved in HB’s Annual Young Writers and Artist Festival. The course culminates in a performance of student work at an established music venue such as Nighttown or Bop Stop.
In conjunction with HB’s Women’s History Month Celebrations, a few of our Upper School songwriters are sharing their recent compositions as well as the female songwriters who inspire them.
Name: Emme Semarjian
Song title: “Lovin’ You So”
Inspiration: I have been writing music and playing instruments since I was little, but I have yet to write a song that is actually about a specific person or event in my life. Often a combination of emotions from different events spark ideas for my lyrics, but they aren’t about specifically one topic. I often can connect some of my songs to things that have happened to me after I have finished writing, but other times they are just random words put to music that sounds nice.
Favorite female songwriters: Regina Spector, Emeli Sande, and Sara Bareilles are my top three!
Name: Katy Nettis
Song title: “Love Lies” (collaboration with Elena Flauto)
Favorite female songwriters: Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Billie Eilish
Name: Elena Flauto
Song Title: “Love Lies” (collaboration with Katy Nettis)
Inspiration: I am inspired by Adele because she writes songs about past experiences that many people can relate to.
Favorite female songwriters: Adele, Beyonce, and Alicia Keys
Song title: “One Chance,” written by Maria, Brigette Fluentes, and Hanna Harlor.
Favorite female songwriters: Taylor Swift and Adele. I love how they both write about their experiences and are very relatable. They both take credit for their work, if they think something is wrong they will speak up for themselves.They are so different but they inspire so many with their beautiful voices.