A Professional Songwriter's Approach to Writing




Rodriguez, Regina C.


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The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between songwriting, creative risk-taking, and critical thinking from the perspective of a single songwriter. This relationship has been examined throughout academic literature and the commonalities among the studies suggest songwriting contains elements applicable to learning how to write. These elements include finding voice, taking creative risks, and thinking critically. Researchers in a variety of fields have individually analyzed these elements, but studies focusing on the entire process of writing a song were difficult to locate. Songwriting curriculum connected to English Language Arts standards is also currently available for schools to utilize, some of which has been analyzed by researchers in the education field. After reviewing the literature, a gap was found in terms of synthesizing the elements of songwriting (listed above) and understanding how those learning those elements could improve writing skills and transfer those skills to other genres of writing. This qualitative study utilized arts-based educational research as a substantive framework and ethnodrama as a methodological framework and was guided by the following research questions: (1) How does the participant describe the process of songwriting? (2) In what ways does the participant use creative risk-taking in his songwriting? (3) In what ways does the participant's process of songwriting reflect critical thinking? Data was collected through interviews, observations, and documents and was then coded, categorized, and themed.
Four themes emerged from the analysis (a) I Do, I Do Understand You, (b) Take a Chance on Me `Cause without that, Risk Ain't Nothing', (c) R-E-S-P-E-C-T My Comfort and Privacy, and (d) Think, Think about the Critical in the Creativity. Splices of dialogue were combined with the song-title themes to create an ethnodrama to artistically demonstrate how the findings about process, creative risk-taking, and critical thinking interacted and how they applied to an education setting. Implications include the need for educators to create a comfortable writing environment for their students, for educators to build trust in the classroom by sharing and facing their own insecurities about writing, to expand the concept of writer's workshop and the Flower and Hayes Cognitive Model.


Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in CURRICULUM AND INSTRUCTION


co-write, creative risk-taking, critical thinking, professional songwriter, songwriting, writing process



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