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DECODING THE HITS

Get Inside the Hit Song Matrix
and Discover the Patterns and Science Behind Today's Hits

A FOUR-PART HIT SONGS DECONSTRUCTEDONLINE MASTERCLASS SERIES
Saturdays from 11AM - 3PM ET on October 17th, October 31st, and November 14th.
Writing and producing a song vs. writing and producing a HIT SONG
require two different approaches.
And today’s hitmakers know it. That’s why they combine their unique creativity with tried and true techniques for arranging their songs, composing killer hooks, and writing lyrics that connect with widespread audiences.

If you want to compete at the highest levels, you need start using them too.

Sometimes you just can’t get a song out of your head…
want to know why?

Using the Hit Songs Deconstructed methodology, and an array of in-depth Hot 100 Top 10 case studies, this interactive, hands-on masterclass series pulls back the curtain on the science and patterns behind today’s hits.

By attending this masterclass series you will:

  • Learn how to recognize the science and patterns behind today’s hits and how to use them to optimize your own songs
  • Learn new techniques for crafting infectious vocal melodies, composing ear-catching hooks, writing engaging lyrics and rhyme schemes and arranging your song for maximum impact
  • Gain insight into the thought process that goes into making production, editing and mixing decisions
  • Understand the hit songwriting mindset and learn how to channel your unique creativity into commercially successful songs
  • Add an invaluable set of brand new tools to your songwriting and production toolbox
  • And much more!

Classes take place on Saturdays from 11AM – 2:00PM ET on October 9th, October 23rd, November 6th and November 20th.

Following each class, you will receive proprietary Hit Songs Deconstructed materials to help you apply the techniques you learn during each class. The video of the live class will also be made available following each class.

If your goal is to take your craft to the next level and give yourself a competitive edge, then this masterclass series is for you.

Your Masterclass Instructor

David Penn, Co-Founder, Hit Songs Deconstructed

David is a recognized expert in the craft and trends behind hit songs and has been featured by Billboard, Variety, Music Week, Canadian Musician Radio, BMI, Financial Times, and the Economist, to name a few. He also regularly guest lectures at top universities such as Berklee College of Music, NYU, and Frost School of Music, as well as at industry events such as Music Biz, DIY Musician Conference and others.

A music connoisseur of all time periods and genres, he is a “go-to” consultant for songwriters, producers, publishers and labels.

Guest Lecturer: Decoding Hit Song Production

Prince Charles Alexander, Grammy winning, multi-platinum music producer, mixing engineer and professor at Berklee College of Music

Prince Charles Alexander is a Grammy winning, multi-platinum music producer, mixing engineer and professor at Berklee College of Music. At Berklee, he created the Commercial Record Production minor curriculum for the Music Production and Engineering major, co-authored the Vocal Production course and authored the Commercial Vocal Production graduate course for Berklee Online. From 2005 to 2014 he also taught at NYU’s Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music.

Prince Charles’ client list includes Mary J. Blige, Sting, Destiny’s Child, Aretha Franklin, the Notorious B.I.G., J Lo and Diddy. But, his most recent successes are those of his former students, including two that are currently garnering huge success as artists in the music industry, Charlie Puth and Maggie Rogers.

FAQ

Do I need advanced knowledge of music theory to understand what is being taught?
While a basic understanding of music is highly recommended, you do not need advanced music theory knowledge in order to attend.

What level of songwriting knowledge do I need?
A solid foundation in the basic craft of songwriting is strongly recommended.

Who is this meant for?
Songwriters, producers, instrumentalists and A&R/Music Industry Professionals who have the goal of being involved in today’s mainstream music scene.

What is the basis for the material covered?
We will focus on the songs that land in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, because they are the most successful. Examples and case studies span an array of genres.

How will the material be conveyed?
The presentation will feature a combination of audio examples, graphs, charts, and commentary to illustrate principals and techniques

What does my registration include?
Your registration includes four live workshop with plenty of time for Q&A, a copy of the presentation deck, exclusive Hit Songs Deconstructed materials to assess your songs and optimize them for commercial success, access to HSD-Connect, the Hit Songs Deconstructed community and network, and access to the masterclass video.

Decoding Hit Song Vocals: October 9th

What makes a song so catchy that you can't get it out of your head? A killer melody, of course...Or to be more precise, a strategically arranged killer melody.

This segment will pull back the curtain on the science and patterns behind today’s hit vocal melodies and the vocal delivery techniques that bring them to life!

  • Writing singable and infectious melodies
  • Turning infectious melodies into standout hooks
  • Techniques for strategically arranging melodies within and across sections
  • Using compelling vocal delivery techniques to make your melodies stand out and shine
  • Heightening emotional connection with your listeners through melodic devices

Decoding Lyrics & Rhymes: October 23rd

While a stellar melody is an incredibly important component of any pop hit, without an intriguing narrative, engaging lyrics and a methodically structured rhyme scheme, a song will never realize its full potential.

This segment will provide you with unique insight into how today’s hitmakers lyrically craft their songs.

  • Creating a strategically structured narrative designed to keep the listener engaged from start to finish
  • Heightening memorability through methodically structured rhyme schemes
  • Bolstering the impact of your storyline through the use of the A.I.D.E. principle (action, imagery, detail, emotion)
  • The strategic use of attention-grabbing opening lines, clever lyricism and nonsense lyrics to take engagement to the next level
  • Writing lyrics that connect with both your target audience AND the artist

Decoding Hit Song Arrangement: November 6th

Earworm melodies and stellar lyrics are only part of the equation! How a song’s vocals, instruments and hooks are strategically arranged is equally important.

This segment will show you how today's hits are methodically structured and arranged to heighten the listener’s emotional connection to the song and keep audiences coming back for more.

  • How to create an engaging energy flow that keeps your listeners engaged from start to finish
  • Techniques for creating standout, attention-grabbing moments throughout the song
  • Strategically balancing repetition and contrast both within and across song sections
  • Selecting instruments and production elements that fit with both the song and today’s musical landscape
  • Current trends, techniques and best practices for maximizing audience connection value and engagement
  • Techniques for maximizing the impact of song sections including the intro, chorus, post-chorus and more
  • Strategically arranging hooks to ensure they stand out and connect

Decoding Hit Song Production: November 20th

In any hit song, it’s the production that really makes the vocals, lyrics and arrangement shine.

In a live Pro Tools session, Grammy-winning, multi-platinum producer and engineer, Prince Charles Alexander, will take a deep dive into two recent hit song case studies to explore the production techniques that made them so effective.

  • An insider’s look at live Pro Tools sessions featuring recreations of two recent top 10 hits
  • Insight into the producer/engineer thought process
  • Selecting appropriate reverbs, delays and effects
  • Balancing elements in the mix for a cohesive, professional sound
  • Current production, mixing and editing techniques being used in today’s biggest hits
  • Techniques for selecting and layering sounds for a full, well-rounded production

This masterclass will provide you with rare insight into the producer/engineer thought process, and you'll come away with an array of proven techniques geared to help your songs compete on the hit song stage.

Limited Seats Available

Registration Price: $449 | Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

"Amazing workshop, I wish this type of class was taught in my undergraduate or even graduate school curriculum. Spot on with the analysis and relevant to any music theory, composer, songwriter, or producer in the game now. Bravo!”

- Dr. O, producer, Young M.A., Chris Brown, Lil Wayne

“Very thorough, fun and insightful. Kind of a moneyball for songwriting, which is an interesting and original way of analyzing the creative process. As a pro I recommend this workshop to songwriters of any level.”

- Asier Cazalis, Grammy nominated songwriter and artist

“I've been searching for ways to set my lyrics in more purposeful ways than just humming and trying endless variations on my keyboard. This workshop teaches you how to create memorable and impressive vocal lines while still preserving your unique voice and artistry.”

- Artur Brisita

"It’s amazing ! The depth of your analysis, the techniques you covered, the practical tools you provided us with, and the the level of professionalism of each masterclass. I’m really honored and profoundly grateful for all I learned from you."

-Patrick Gorce, healer composer
Tony Allen, Oxmo Puccino, Damon Albarn, Ghetto Blaster

"This was one of the most pivotal online classes I have ever taken. I have written songs for years and, although I focus on the story and the method of rhymes, I had know Idea what I was missing."

- Wendy Elston Davis, Writer/Publisher

“This was one of the most thorough, well-presented and thought out master classes on pop writing I have ever experienced. It was also made user friendly by David Penn’s deep understanding of the music he was teaching.”

- Jay Rodriguez , Grammy nominated saxophonist, flautist, clarinetist, film composer, producer and arranger
Prince, Elvis Costello, Miley Cyrus, Celia Cruz, Tito Puente, Akon, Wu Tang Clan, DJ Premiere, Guru

“For those of you concerned about producing and writing hits songs while staying current, this masterclass is for you. Wonderful insight into what makes these current hit songs appeal so well to the artists audience.”

- Atom Troy, Professor/Artist

“The masterclass was so informative! seeing what I usually hear in a visual form really solidifies things. I love the multiple visual explanations!”

- Carrie Cunnignham, singer, songwriter, live sound engineer, auctioneer, CEO of Sound Barn Publishing

“Insight like no other into vocal melodic patterns of pop hit songs.”

- Pablo Arango

"What a class! Even as an avid student (and teacher) of theory and musical analysis, I had never seen the granular and global view to a song that Hit Songs Deconstructed presents. Highly recommended!!!"

-Anthony Postman, singer/songwriter, music instructor

To attain the knowledge and skill required for continued commercial success, you have to treat your writing and producing like a business.

This means that you need to put in the time. You need to be disciplined. You need to continuously hone your craft, whether you feel inspired to or not. You need to stay in tune with how today’s music scene is evolving. And, most importantly, you need to understand how your music connects with your listeners.

By attending this masterclass, you'll come away with new insights, tools, and techniques that you can immediately apply to your own songwriting and producing.

Videos of the class will be made available to participants following each masterclass segment.

This means that you need to put in the time. You need to be disciplined. You need to continuously hone your craft, whether you feel inspired to or not. You need to stay in tune with how today’s music scene is evolving. And, most importantly, you need to understand how your music connects with your listeners.

Inside the Hit Song Matrix is for you if:
• You want to compete at the highest levels and attain continued commercial success
• You want new tools to evaluate your songs' strengths and weaknesses and help prime them for maximum impact
• You are ready to take the leap and combine your unique creativity with a little bit of science
• You are willing to devote time to virtually collaborate with other participants in between classes to apply the techniques covered

There are no shortcuts. But if you put the time into applying what you learn during this masterclass, you will take your writing and producing skills to the next level, regardless of the genre you’re working in.

"It has really helped with our writing and arranging. The leap we have taken has led our music to be playlisted at the Yankees, Islanders and also MSG! Crazy for an unsigned Irish band!"

Through an array of current Hot 100 Top 10 hit case studies, we will examine some of the most effective techniques that have been making hits so successful, independent of genre or the artist employing them.

Maximize Your Creativity with Tools and Techniques
from Today’s Hits that Have Stood the Test of Time!

Ever get that song stuck in your head and you don’t know why? Well, there's a very good reason. The human brain is conditioned to react in a certain way to certain things, and today's hitmakers know that. During this workshop, we are going to pull back the curtain on tried and true techniques for connecting with wide-spread audiences and keep them coming back for more.

Critical listening exercises are at the core of this workshop. Together, we will listen to examples from recent and past hits, deconstruct the techniques being utilized, and analyze why they are so effective.

You'll come away with new insights, tools, and techniques that you can immediately apply to your own songwriting and producing.

At the conclusion of each segment, there will be ample time for your questions.

Videos of all workshop segments will be made available following the workshop.

Join us for this masterclass where we pull back the curtain on the patterns behind today’s hits and the techniques being used by today's hitmakers.

Tyson Harding - Songwriter/Guitarist for Skyfever

Learn how to combine your unique creativity with the proven techniques today’s hitmakers are using to connect with wide-spread audiences and keep them coming back for more!

This live, online masterclass takes place over a 5-month period on Saturdays at 11AM EST.

Day 1: The Core Components

The workshop begins with a deep dive into vocal melody. We’ll start off by looking at an array of recent Hot 100 Top 10 choruses, ranging from the ultra-simplistic to the more complex. We’ll examine what these choruses have in common, what sets them apart, and how they are all optimized for maximum engagement, infectiousness and memorability. We’ll then hone in on one recent chart-topper to see how the vocal melody is optimized in each section of the song.

The lyric section follows, where we’ll focus on the narrative as well as rhymes, the glue between the melody and the lyrics. Using recent case studies across an array of popular lyrical themes, we’ll look at how the storyline is structured & developed across sections, and how it is optimized to connect with the listener.

Vocal production is next. We’ll take one recent chart-topper and go through the entire song while referencing a DAW arrangement outlining the song’s vocal production, and explore the techniques that were used to maximize the song’s vibe, increase memorability and amplify engagement. We’ll also review an array of popular duet/group vocal structure techniques.

We’ll then close out day 1 by exploring how harmony and strategic instrument selection can heighten a song’s impact through a host of recent Top 10 case studies.

DAY 2:  Optimizing Your Song for Maximum Impact

Day 2 is all about optimizing your song.  We’ll begin with structure and dive into key, tempo and song form, reviewing current trends and exploring how strategic structural decisions can impact your song. We’ll then move into energy and arrangement where we’ll use DAW projects to illustrate effective energy and arrangement flow to heighten engagement and memorability. We’ll conclude the segment with a host recent C.I.A. (chorus impact accentuator) techniques that will  help prime your choruses for maximum impact.

Next, we’ll dive into song section optimization techniques, honing in on three strategic points in a hit song – the intro, the “D” (departure) section, and the outro. We’ll look at an array of techniques from recent and classic hits, including “saying hello” to the listener with different types of hook-based and multi-part intros, providing an engaging and memorable departure through recycled and new material and A.P.M. (audience participation moment) techniques, and “saying goodbye” with a focus on effective outro techniques such as the “Ramp Down” and “Wind Up Grand Finale Hook Fest” techniques.

Hooks are next.  Using an array of recent and classic hit song examples, we’ll see how some of the most infectious, engaging and memorable hooks are structured and employed. Topics will include vocal hook techniques such as full section, partial section, “icing on the cake” hooks, instrumental hooks including foundational and melodic, and an array of hook maximization techniques.

We’ll conclude the workshop with methods for optimizing your song for today’s marketplace by looking at examples of recent hits and examining their genre/influence blend, instrument choices, vocal characteristics, lyrics, etc. and discussing how they leveraged trends to connect with their audience while transcending trends to stand out.