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core curriculum handout detail



Lyric Lab Syllabus

The Lyric Lab is made up of seven units. Please follow the order of the units as listed on this syllabus as many of the topics build upon previous material. Most units have a video, a handout, a test, and an assignment. Some units have multiples of some of these, and some units have optional exercises.

    Unit #0: Overview

    Unit #1: Progressions

    Unit #2: Prosody & Scansion

    Unit #3: Scansion Subtleties

    Unit #4: Rhyme

    Unit #5: Formatting

    Unit #6: Song Spotting

November 1 deadline:   OVERVIEW & PROGRESSIONS

In the Overview Unit, you will be introduced to some of the goals of the Lyric Lab. There is also a short video about writing in a structure, and an introduction to the AABA song structure.

Handouts: Syllabus, Song Structure I, Song Structure 2 - Which Structure to Choose?, AABA Structure

Videos: Overview, Song Structure in Musical Theatre, AABA Structure

Tests: Overview of Structure Test, AABA Structure Test

Assignments: Overview Assignment, Song Structure Assignment

The Progressions Unit introduces the concept of progression in refrains. Specific progressions discussed are:



Time Progression - Past/Present/Future

Time Progression - The Calendar or the Clock

Pronoun Progression

Geography Progression

Included is an extended session of optional examples, comparing structures in classic musicals to contemporary musicals.

Handouts: Progression, Progression Examples

Videos: Progressions, Progression Examples

Exercises: Progression Exercises

Tests: Progression Test

Assignment: Progression Assignment

December 1 deadline:   PROSODY & SCANSION

This unit introduces you to the study of prosody, and the fundamentals of poetic scansion. Topics in this unit include:

Bad Prosody

Poetic Meter (v. Spoken Meter and Musical Meter)

Repairing Prosody

Vocabulary of Scansion

The Reason for Scansion

Scansion Techniques

Handouts: Prosody, Scansion

Videos: Prosody, Scansion, Terms You’ll Never Need to Know, Scansion Exercises

Exercises: Scansion Exercises

Tests: Prosody Test, Scansion Test

Assignments: Prosody Assignments 1, 2, and 3 (Prosody Assignment #4 is Optional); Scansion Assignment

January 1 deadline:   SCANSION SUBTLETIES & RHYME

The Scansion Subtleties Unit covers some finer points of Scansion, including some problematic situations, with a look ahead at substitution and irregular meter. The video demonstrates scansion of some of the verses you will be scanning, and an explanation of some anomalies and how you might think about them.

Handouts: Scansion Subtleties

Videos: Scansion Subtleties

Tests: Scansion Subtleties Test

Assignment: Scansion Subtleties Assignment

The Rhyme Unit covers rhyme in musical theatre. Topics included in this unit include:

Single Rhyme

Double Rhyme

Triple Rhyme

Near Rhymes

Rhyme in Pop songs v. Musical Theatre songs

The Importance of Rhyme in Musical Theatre

Handouts: Rhyme, Marking Rhyme Schemes

Videos: Rhyme, Marking Rhyme Schemes, The Importance of Rhyme; Rhyme Exercises

Exercises: Rhyme Exercises

Tests: Rhyme Test 1, Rhyme Test 2

Assignments: Rhyme Assignment, Refrain Structure Review Assignment

February 1 deadline:   FORMATTING

Preparing a manuscript for rehearsal/workshop, and the differences in the manuscripts sent to producers and theatres.

Formatting script and score for producers

The integrated script and score for rehearsals

Mechanics of preparing an integrated script and score

Handouts: Format Guidelines

Videos: Formatting Script and Score, Formatting Guidelines Annotations

Exercises: Formatting Exercises

Assignment: Formatting Assignment

March 1 deadline:   SONG SPOTTING

This unit discusses the purpose of songs in musical theatre:




Character Changes

One of the videos in this unit is dedicated solely to a discussion about songs whose purpose is some aspect of character:



Resolve Conflict

Enflame Conflict

The unit includes with a brief discussion about songs which are not driven by story, and concludes with a wild song-spotting session with Scott.

Handouts: Song Spotting, Character Change, Spotting Checklist, Spotting Session

Videos: Song Spotting, Character Change, Songs Not Driven by Story, Spotting Checklist, A Spotting Session with Scott

Exercises: Spotting Exercises

Assignment” Spotting Assignment: In the final assignment, you are asked to spot songs possibilities for a play which doesn’t yet have songs.

NOTE: March 15th is the absolute last date you can turn in assignments; the Lyric Lab must be completed no later than March 15th in order for you to be considered as a lyricist for the 15 Minute Musicals.