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School of the Arts

Songwriting Class Showcase

CSU, Chico's Songwriting Class Showcase Moves to YouTube

Songwriting student Daniel Hernandez performs song
Daniel Hernandez performs "Follow Your Heart"

Due to the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, California State University, Chico’s “Songwriting Class Showcase” was cancelled. It was to be the first annual concert of its kind, presented live on April 21 in Rowland-Taylor Recital Hall. 

Instead, the composers of each song have created a video of their composition being performed. A playlist of the 14 songs/videos was compiled, and people are encouraged to watch the composers perform their compositions on YouTube

“We believe hope, emotion, community and the necessity of ‘social distancing’ should not have to mean we remain ‘socially distant,’" said Paul Young, Department of Music and Theatre faculty member. “Music should not live in isolation, even while we all must do so for now.” 

This songwriting class and playlist are not akin to a TV talent show, recital or competition. Singers are not judged and perfecting stage performance skills is not among the primary goals in the course. Songwriting is about crafting music, messages and meaning into songs.  

“If the song lends itself well and can speak to its widest possible audience, the listener should be able to imagine it being performed by just about anyone befitting each song's unique melody and message,” said Young.  

The lyrics, songwriter credits, etc. are listed in the description fields of each video. All copyrights involved with these songs and videos are owned by the respective songwriter. Every video in this playlist was made at home under quarantine. Songwriters could not utilize Chico State's recording studios, practice rooms, pianos or collaborate in person.  

“They did whatever they could here simply to make it work. So, if you like what you hear, appreciate their efforts, messages, etc.,” said Young.

These students are the owners of their creations, and took to the uncommon risk of performing these songs themselves so their songs could still be offered to the public in these restrictive times to spread music and community with you. 

“I, and all my colleagues at California State University, Chico, are very proud of them for their resilience and doing all they could to make this work so our ‘virtual concert’ would still happen, today, just as planned,” said Young.

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Story by Shelby Casey, School of the Arts publicity assistant