Find your voice with Studio School songwriting instructor Jacob Frost
Music is in the air at your new arts center. You know our staff loves a good beat, but did you know Oklahoma Contemporary offers music-related classes through Studio School? If you've got a melody in your heart, you can sign up today for a 10-week virtual songwriting class with local composer Jacob Frost.
Like other Studio School courses, Frost's class takes a fun, low-pressure approach to helping students grow in their craft regardless of confidence or experience level. "If you've never written a song before, this is a good place to start," he said. "My class is like Planet Fitness: a 'judgment-free zone.'"
For today's #ThursdayThree installment, we talked with the instructor and multi-instrumentalist about his path to music, what makes the perfect song and what students can expect from his upcoming class at Oklahoma Contemporary.
Can you tell readers a little about your musical background?
I've been making music for most of my life. I started off as a teenager. I got into playing guitar, mostly rock and roll. Then from there I played in some bands. I ended up going to school for music composition. I got my Bachelor of Arts in music from Drury University, then I got my Master of Arts in music composition from the University of Oklahoma, where I am [teaching] now. My musical background is a combination of a bunch of different stuff: rock and roll, folk, blues, jazz, classical. I just love all kinds of music.
What can students expect from your upcoming songwriting class at Oklahoma Contemporary?
It's going to be a collaborative, workshop-style course. We'll spend some time learning about different songwriting techniques and the great songs that have been written throughout human history. (A few artists we'll probably be interacting with include Rush, Kendrick Lamar and The Mountain Goats.) Students will spend the other part of the time workshopping and getting feedback and constructive criticism from both their peers and from me, the instructor. We'll be focusing the discussion on the different techniques in each class session.
There's no genre requirement. There's not any expectation that you'll write in a certain style. The idea is to help students find their own voice as a composer and songwriter, and to learn techniques that will serve whatever kind of music they decide to create. They'll also develop a vocabulary and an intellectual basis for talking about music with others, to give and receive feedback, and not to be just a good songwriter but a good colleague and fellow traveler of music.
"My class is like Planet Fitness: a 'judgment-free zone.'"
What, in your estimation, makes for a truly great song?
Speaking in universals is dangerous, but I'm going to do it anyway. I think all art that has staying power is on some level about what it means to be human. If you can write a song that says something interesting about what it means to be a human being, and what it means to live in this world — whatever kind of music you're writing, people will gravitate towards it. I think that's what makes for a great song.
Registration for the first round of Studio School's winter session ends Jan. 3. Sign up today for Frost's virtual songwriting course, and check out other four and 10-week offerings — featuring a mix of online, hybrid and socially distanced outdoor, in-person classes on everything from fiber arts and ceramics to digital media.
To hear some of Frost's own work, check out a few of the instructor's compositions below.
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