Amazing Start to the Cabana Concert Songwriter Series: Cynthia Brando + John O'Kennedy!

A huge thank you to Cynthia Brando and her music partner John O'Kennedy for the amazing show last night at BA Music Studio / Songsmith LA!

The concert was the first of its kind at the studio—past performances have featured Bobby and students and friends, but now we're open to any acoustic musicians coming through or living in LA. The poolside cabana makes a great stage and the crowd was enthusiastic! 

Until next time—stay tuned for who's playing next. Thanks! Photos below.

Next Songwriting Group: Saturday October 3. Join in the fun and group work!

Hello musicians and musicians in the making! 

We had a wonderful songwriting group Sept 12 at the studio! 6 of us shared our goals, work thus far, tips, and got started on the group prompts. We workshopped an amazing song by Dylan (pictured at right) - very fun and engaging for everyone.

The prompts are assignments we all do and the results are always really fun and inspiring to others. These serve a couple purposes:

  1. The prompts are songwriting exercises, so the pressure is off. Having a place to start means you don't tie yourself in knots trying to write The Great Song. As a result, things flow and often surprising things come out of it - like melodies, lyrics, or even whole songs you can use.
  2. When everyone writes from the same starting point, every result is different. You get to see what other people in the group did with the same prompt (chords, lyrics, or more to start from) and those things you didn't think of inform your writing next time.

The prompts that are "due" next time are listed at the bottom. Ask if you have questions or need help - no experience is required here!

Next class: Saturday October 3, 3-4:30pm. Space is limited - please RSVP at Facebook; class is usually 5-8 people and consists of a group chat about progress and roadblocks; advice and technique; sharing recordings / playing songs on guitar or piano (past work is great, or new songs since last time); and looking at the prompts / group exercises, which Bobby creates and shares with you.

First class: FREE  /  $20 donation after. Snacks and swimming provided after! RSVP on Facebook please! >>


OCTOBER PROMPTS: Your choices are 2 or more of the following:

  1. INDEX CARD BLIND CO-WRITING. Write an original lyric on an index card (single side only, the quicker the better) and as soon as you've written it down, take a picture or type of the lyrics and email them to Bobby; set it to music, it should be less than 120 seconds long. Record your song quickly without editing and share it with me. Bobby will trade lyrics with a partner, who will make a new song from your lyrics without hearing your recorded version or knowing who wrote it. You'll make a new song from that person (or another's) lyrics. We'll share both recorded versions of yours and your partners' songs at group class, when you'll find out who was your partner.
  2. OPTIONAL: LYRIC-FIRST WRITING WITH A LYRIC EVERYONE KNOWS - 'Stand By Me': Last time, we took the lyrics for Yesterday by the Beatles and everyone had very different, beautiful results! For October write a new song with the lyrics from Stand By Me with different chords and melody and even instrumentation. This is a challenge because you'll hear the original melody in your head. Change to minor key, come up with chords first, or hum a melody into your phone's recorder. Improv is key or start with a stock progression (a good idea for songwriting any day) using Autochords or a similar app. Another tip: try altering the pacing of the lyrics; don’t pause in the same places. You can expand the lyrics as well - add a verse!
  3. OPTIONAL: CHORDS-FIRST WRITING in Eb. Write a song of any length based on these chords. Try improv on it. They can be the only chords, or they can be a verse with different chords in a chorus, or vice-versa. They just have to be present somehow. Eb, F7, Ab add 9; optional 4th chord (every time, or here and there: Bb sus4). Need chord help? 

That's it! Thanks, and don't forget to RSVP on Facebook, thanks!

Next Songwriting Group: Saturday September 12!

Hello musicians and musicians-to-be, 

We had a wonderful songwriting group last night at the studio! 5 of us shared our goals, work thus far, tips, and got started on the group prompts. These are assignments we all do and the results are always really fun and inspiring to others. These serve a couple purposes:

  1. The prompts are songwriting exercises, so the pressure is off. Having a place to start means you don't tie yourself in knots trying to write The Great Song. As a result, things flow and often surprising things come out of it - like melodies, lyrics, or even whole songs you can use.
  2. When everyone writes from the same starting point, every result is different. You get to see what other people in the group did with the same prompt (chords, lyrics, or more to start from) and those things you didn't think of inform your writing next time.

Here are the prompts and also at right - yes, they were posted before the last class; we got them started and they're "due" next time. Ask if you have questions or need help - no experience is required here.

Next class: Saturday September 12, 3-4:30pm. Space is limited - please RSVP at Facebook; class is usually 5-8 people and consists of a group chat about progress and roadblocks; advice and technique; sharing recordings / playing songs on guitar or piano (past work is great, or new songs since last time); and looking at the prompts / group exercises, which Bobby creates and shares with you.

First class: FREE  /  $20 donation after. Snacks and swimming provided! RSVP on Facebook please! >>

School's Back! Book your lessons today - even if you don't have kids!

Hi everyone, it's August already - somehow! It may not seem like it, but this is the busiest time of year for everyone, kids or not.

LA United starts school on August 18 and Glendale even sooner - August 10! – so please be sure to reach out to schedule your child if you haven't already. And if you don't have children and are thinking about piano or vocal coaching for yourself, the sooner the better - I only have a couple prime slots left, and they'll fill fast.

A few new items and dates:

  • Studio pool party this Sunday, August 9. If you're an adult piano, voice, or songwriting student, please RSVP and come swim! You probably walk by the pool many times and now's your chance to take advantage as well as hang out socially with other students (and me, the conversation is scintillating, not to brag). 
  • First songwriting group of the fall is Saturday, August 22, 3pm!
  • Don't forget classes begin again the week of August 17 for kids!
  • Lastly, I'm often told how beautiful the studio is and other teachers mention they would love to us it. Check out the new page: the studio is available a couple days a week when I'm not teaching to rent for out-of-towners or LA residents who want access to a grand piano in a quiet, private space. Studio rentals for rehearsals and teaching
  • Coming this fall: Living Room concert series. I'm talking to a incredibly talented local singer-songwriters about coming to the studio to perform poolside.

Thanks, and happy August!