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Schools for Aspiring Lyricists: How to Choose

Students wishing to become lyricists will benefit from a solid background in music, which can be obtained through many undergraduate and graduate degree programs in music. Programs in songwriting, typically offered as tracks or concentrations within bachelor's degree programs in music, can prepare students for careers as lyricists.

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Some music associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs are available that offer songwriting emphases and courses in areas like commercial music and popular music. Students in these programs should also consider taking singing and other instrumental classes.

Schools With Lyricist Programs

Music programs with concentrations and coursework for aspiring lyricists are offered at a number of institutions, including those listed here.

College/University Location Institution Type Degrees Offered Undergraduate Tuition and Fees (2015-2016)*
California State University - Fullerton Fullerton, CA 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's In-state $6,437; Out-of-state $17,597
College of Southern Nevada Las Vegas, NV 4-year, primarily associate's, Public Associate's In-state $2,805; Out-of-state $9,450
Florida State University Tallahassee, FL 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $6,507; Out-of-state $21,673
Houston Community College Houston, TX 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $1,632; In-state $3,360; Out-of-state $3,756
Lone Star College System The Woodlands, TX 2-year, Public Associate's In-district $1,504; In-state $3,184; Out-of-state $3,544
Ohio State University - Main Campus Columbus, OH 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $10,037; Out-of-state $27,365
Santa Monica College Santa Monica, CA 2-year, Public Associate's In-state $1,136; Out-of-state $8,078
Texas State University San Marcos, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's In-state $9,348; Out-of-state $20,268
The University of Texas at Austin Austin, TX 4-year, Public Bachelor's, Master's, Doctoral In-state $9,806; Out-of-state $34,676

Source: *National Center for Education Statistics (NCES)

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School Selection Criteria

When pursuing studies in songwriting, there are several things to consider:

  • Studies in areas such as technical music production, musical composition, marketing within the music industry and copyright law can be useful to individuals entering the industry.
  • Direct one-on-one opportunities, such as mentorships, with professional songwriters in a school's faculty could help students develop an artistic style and professional direction.
  • Some programs also offer internship opportunities in the industry in which students can develop hands-on skills in areas such as music engineering, production and lyrical composition.
  • The location of the school may be important, as students may want to pursue studies near record companies and places known for music production or popular performing venues.

Bachelor's Degree in Music or Songwriting

Songwriting programs can be found as a major or concentration area within several music or recording programs. Writing and recording opportunities in studios, as well as professional work experience through internships, are sometimes included. In addition to writing, students often learn the ins and outs of recording in a studio, including mixing and audio engineering.

To become a lyricist, it is common to study music at the postsecondary level. Associate's, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs that offer mentoring and internship opportunities are available at public and private institutions across the country.

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