USQ Logo
The current and official versions of the course specifications are available on the web at
Please consult the web for updates that may occur during the year.

MUI2002 Popular Songwriting

Semester 1, 2021 On-campus Toowoomba
Short Description: Popular Songwriting
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Creative Arts
Student contribution band : 2021 Grandfather Funding Cl 2
ASCED code : 100101 - Music
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Mark Scholtes

Other requisites

Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.

This course assumes some prior knowledge of basic music theory, and basic instrumental (keyboard and/or guitar) and vocal skills for the presentation of musical ideas.


Today’s musician must have a fundamental grasp of creative processes, as unique musical contributions become increasingly important to the sustainability of portfolio careers. This course encourages students to explore their own creativity through the vehicle of popular songwriting.


This course explores and activates student's prior knowledge of popular music and introduces the element of the lyric to musical language. Through a mix of guided exercises and projects students will apply a variety of skills (analytical, written, aural, performative) in a specialised manner to create popular songs. The course also offers students a chance to participate in collaborative learning activities introducing them to new perspectives and facilitating key network building opportunities. Weekly learning activities and work created as part of assessment in this course will contribute directly to the development of a professional portfolio of creative work. Fostering the creative and critical skills required for producing original musical works in turn supports students in their development of the creative enterprise and entrepreneurial skills that are essential to early career success in the creative arts.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. discuss and evaluate the constraints and conventions of popular songs
  2. apply relevant skills and knowledge to analyse popular songs including lyrics, melody, harmony, and rhythm
  3. apply relevant skills and knowledge to produce popular songs including lyrics set appropriately to melody and harmony
  4. communicate and present ideas for a demo recording using DIY technology


Description Weighting(%)
1. The elements popular songs 10.00
2. Lyrical form and structure 50.00
3. Supporting lyric with melody, harmony, and rhythm 30.00
4. Supporting lyric with melody, harmony, and rhythm 10.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Pattison, P 2009, Writing better lyrics, 2nd edn, Writer's Digest Books, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
As specified by the lecturer.

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 26.00
Independent Study 139.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    Students must attend and complete the requirements of the Workplace Health and Safety training program for this course where required.

    External and Online:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students’ responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

    It is the students’ responsibility to attend and participate appropriately in all activities (such as lectures, tutorials, laboratories and practical work) scheduled for them, and to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade, a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    Not applicable

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.

Date printed 18 June 2021