I believe my service stands out because I've been songwriting for 20 years now (since I was very young), I got my first publishing deal when I was 18 and I've written with some of my favorite artists (Kelly Clarkson, AKON, Jojo, Icona Pop, Jason Mraz, Adam Lambert and Damien Rice). I'm very patient as a person/teacher, I like my students to take their time.. it's ok to mess up and make mistakes! Perfection is not possible in art- so it's better to accept that not every song is going to be great. I think my services stand out because I've been in the industry for so long, I'm able to give advice about it. I've learned from my own mistakes and I can explain to a student the differences between releasing a song/EP independently vs. signing to a major label, how to find the right management, what percentage a booking agent should get, how to release your music on Spotify and collect your royalties...etc. and how to "hold your own" as a true artist throughout all of this.
I absolutely adore creative writing. I've written pretty much every day since I was 8 years old and I still get excited. "Catching inspiration" is a bit like gambling; It's addictive. I never know what's going to come to me or WHEN it's going to strike! I just have to keep sharpening my tools and have faith that when it does, I'll be ready.
Having the opportunity to work with someone who has written with Damien Rice and Kelly Clarkson and some of the most incredible artists of our time was bananas! I had high hopes and she exceeded my expectations! Her advice is invaluable and it’s no wonder she is where she is. Thank you Amy for sharing your immense talent and time. This was worth what I paid and so so so much more! Still kind of can’t believe it! 🙌🏻
First, I like to assess where the student stands with their knowledge/experience in songwriting so I can best help them move to the next step. I can do this by listening to their existing recordings, reading their lyrics, poems or hearing a song they’ve covered by another artist. What if they’ve never done any of this? That’s fine! We start from square one… finding a simple chord progression either I can play, or teach them to play on guitar or piano, we come up with a song concept and start brainstorming lyrics for that concept. Sometimes I will just listen to a student talk about their life experience while I type out everything they say… I’ll later send them the notes I’ve taken and more times than not, they’re able to extract lines to use as song material. As we move forward I’ll dig deeper in rhyme schemes, use of similes, metaphors and imagery etc… I encourage all students to keep a journal close by to jot down any and all ideas. I also encourage students to use GarageBand or Voice notes in their phone to record melody ideas. When/if the time comes, I can guide the student through the recording and release of the song if they choose to do so independently.
My parents put me in piano lessons at the age of four and I competed in piano juries all growing up. I also played for church, recitals and different worship bands until I went to college to study music composition and creative writing. I left college in 2007 to tour with an artist I admired and from then till now, I’ve worked in the industry as a solo artist (AMES), and as a co-writer for other artists. I’ve had songs cut by the likes of Kelly Clarkson, AKON, Jason Mraz, Adam Lambert and Icona Pop. I’m signed as a writer to Kobalt Music Publishing, and as an artist to AWAL + Mateo Sound here in Los Angeles. This past summer (2019) I worked as the sole Music Teacher for SOCAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts), and two summers ago, I worked as a songwriting instructor for Sea Stars North, a summer camp for the survivors of the Sandy Hook mass shooting. I also have multiple private students with whom I skype or FaceTime for weekly lessons.
Yes, I have a standard pricing system for my lessons. I charge $75 per hour if I can Skype/FaceTime/Zoom with my student or, my student comes to me (East Hollywood). If I’m to travel to my student, It’s $95 an hour or $150 for two hours. My minimum is one hour as it’s almost impossible to make progress on a new (or existing song) in less than one hour. I do request that my students pay me before each lesson. I also have a 24-hour cancellation policy.
In a lot of ways, taking sessions with new artists is like teaching. I’ve been “sessioning” for Kobalt Music Publishing since 2015 and a lot of times, I’ll get in the room with a brand new artist who’s never written a full song before. It might be a Youtube Star, an Instagram model or someone just recently signed- someone has little to no experience making their own music. I think I learned more than THEY did during those sessions on how to draw an idea out of someone who isn’t as familiar with the creative process. Since then, I’ve taken teaching jobs when they present themselves and this past summer at SOCAPA (School of Creative and Performing Arts), I really got my teaching technique down. I’m also able to teach music history and theory if necessary!
I’ve primarily worked with students between the ages of 13 to 19 (Some beginners, some already having recorded a song or two). I’m not opposed to working with older/more experienced songwriters however, I have one student who's a beginner, in his mid 30s.
A recent event I am fond of, happened during my birthday weekend (this past weekend). As a present, my sister took me and my fiance to see "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" at the Arclight and it was fascinating to see what L.A. looked like in the 60's. We kept hollering and pointing out different street corners and restaurants that we're familiar with. It made living in Hollywood feel so special again.
The advice I would give any student is to take a break from listening to whatever is popular on Spotify/Youtube/iTunes...etc. -live a few days just listening to instrumental music. Cleanse your palate. Listen to your own inner voice and write down the ideas that come to you. ALWAYS keep a song journal, either on physical paper or in your iPhone 'notes' where you can keep any and all song ideas safe and ready for when inspiration hits. Try to learn a few easy chord progressions on Guitar or Piano, and do vocal exercises (you can find them on Youtube), to keep your voice healthy and strong.
Questions a student should think through:
1) What are my weaknesses?
2) What are my strengths?
3) What do I hope to achieve by taking these lessons?
4) Do I want a career in music or is this a hobby?
5) How far am I willing to push myself?