Songwriting Academy



Song writing Academy

Who is this 1-on-1 Program For?

The Songwriting Workshop is for students ages 8 - Adult who are passionate about the idea of expressing themselves through creating their own music.


Want to write songs but don’t know where to start? Take your poems and journal entries to the next level by applying them to YOUR OWN music with the Songwriting Workshop. Students will learn basic music theory through building chords and melodies into a song structure resulting in the creation of their own song.

Songwriting Academy Curriculum 

  • Students will be introduced to songwriting and music theory through a workshop analysis of what makes a “song”, a “song”?
  • “Good artists borrow, great artists steal” - Pablo Picasso; A deep-dive into finding inspiration for writing your own songs.
  • Discussion of chord progressions, examples of “Intro”, “Verse”, “Chorus”, “Bridge” and “Outro”.
  • Students will undergo a lyric study and writing session incorporating specific songwriting techniques tailored to each students' tastes (rhyming, literal and visual).
  • Students will learn writing melody lines and hitting key beats while maintaining the relevance to chords.
  • Student pieces will undergo a structure critique and tempo evaluation with the teacher.
  • Students will be given time to practice, perform and record their songs.

Meet Your Instuctors

derek bio


From an early age, Derek has been immersed in the world of music. He had the opportunity to study jazz piano under the tutelage of renowned pianist and Frank Sinatra's preferred Chicago pianist, Wellington Schiller. Derek continued his musical education at The Chicago Academy for the Arts. He embarked on a touring career with the national touring band, Phix, and performed alongside notable artists like Sugar Blue, John Kattke, John Kadlecik, Mer, and Chicago Radio DJ Kevin Matthews, among others.

After years on the road, Derek felt a strong desire to establish Clarendon Music Academy with the mission of providing innovative and contemporary music programs and lessons. Today, CHMA is successfully achieving that goal.

Evan bio (1)


Evan Graham Dunn has a Bachelor's Degree in Audio for Visual Media from Columbia College. When he isn’t teaching multiple instruments, songwriting, and music production, you can find him working out of his studio in Chicago producing and recording clients, mixing and scoring for commercials and film, or touring and gigging out in one of his multiple bands.

Along with his international success on BBC Radio and magazine coverage with his progressive rock band Alaya, Evan has charted on iTunes and Amazon while holding 4 songs in steady rotation on Sirius Radio’s “Coffee House” with his Folk Rock / Americana band “Edward & Graham”. Evan loves what he does, and can't wait to help you do the same by maintaining a light-hearted, down-to-earth and humorous approach in all of the courses and lessons he offers with CHMA.