Course Outline

MUS100 Intro to Songwriting and Production

Course Coordinator:Lachlan Goold ( School:School of Business and Creative Industries

2022Semester 1

USC Sunshine Coast

Blended learning Most of your course is on campus but you may be able to do some components of this course online.

Please go to the USC website for up to date information on the
teaching sessions and campuses where this course is usually offered.

What is this course about?


In this course, you will study the foundations of songwriting and sound recording in a digital environment. Lecturers and industry practitioners will guide you as you engage in the basic theories and skills of lyric writing, harmony, melody, and musical form. You will apply that knowledge in a number of music production tasks, including recording, overdubbing, editing and mixing. These tasks and knowledge will culminate in a produced original sound recording of your original song.

How will this course be delivered?

Activity Hours Beginning Week Frequency
Blended learning
Learning materials – Asynchronous online delivery of learning material. 1hr Week 1 13 times
Tutorial/Workshop 1 – Synchronous and scheduled face to face workshops. 2hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) 10 times
Seminar – Synchronous, face to face seminars (Recorded). 2hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) Once Only
Information session – Synchronous online Task Information Sessions (Recorded/ All cohort/ Shared with Online). 2hrs Throughout teaching period (refer to Format) 2 times

Course Topics

Basic songwriting, Basic lyric writing, DAW proficiency, Recording audio, Writing rhythm, Writing harmony and melody, Virtual instruments, Songwriting to brief, Basic audio mixing. 


What level is this course?

100 Level (Introductory)

Engaging with discipline knowledge and skills at foundational level, broad application of knowledge and skills in familiar contexts and with support. Limited or no prerequisites. Normally, associated with the first full-time study year of an undergraduate program.

What is the unit value of this course?

12 units

How does this course contribute to my learning?

Course Learning Outcomes On successful completion of this course, you should be able to... Graduate Qualities Completing these tasks successfully will contribute to you becoming...
1 Develop a foundation knowledge of Digital Audio Workstations and the process of recording audio for songwriting Knowledgeable
2 Demonstrate an understanding of songwriting and lyric writing principles and theory based on industry concepts and instructional literature. Empowered
3 Create and manage a DAW session with correct signal path, multitracked audio, appropriate plugin use, edited and balanced to create a digital audio track. Creative and critical thinker
4 Develop an understanding of the recording process including knowledge of microphones, and other analogue technologies. Knowledgeable
5 Apply your songwriting and music production knowledge to build a demonstration recording for communicating musical concepts and ideas. Creative and critical thinker

Am I eligible to enrol in this course?

Refer to the USC Glossary of terms for definitions of “pre-requisites, co-requisites and anti-requisites”.


Not applicable


Not applicable


Not applicable

Specific assumed prior knowledge and skills (where applicable)

Not applicable

How am I going to be assessed?

Grading Scale

Standard Grading (GRD)

High Distinction (HD), Distinction (DN), Credit (CR), Pass (PS), Fail (FL).

Details of early feedback on progress

An opportunity exists in every workshop to produce and perform creative work individually and/or in small peer groups. Using assessment criteria or an assessment rubric, provided to students prior to commencing, students will self-assess and peer assess throughout the entire course.

Assessment tasks

Delivery mode Task No. Assessment Product Individual or Group Weighting % What is the duration / length? When should I submit? Where should I submit it?
All 1 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 30%
2-4 minute recording plus lyric sheet.
Week 5 Online Submission
All 2 Artefact - Creative Individual 30%
Approximately 30 minutes.
Week 9 Online Submission
All 3 Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece Individual 40%
2-4 minute recording plus lyric sheet and 300-500 words.
Week 13 Online Submission
All - Assessment Task 1:Lyrics and Harmony: Song Sketch
This assessment task will develop skills in lyric writing and basic songwriting skills, including harmony, melody, and structure.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
In this task, you will engage in industry-led practices in professional songwriting. You will develop a set of lyrics according to the principles taught during semester. The lyrics will be accompanied by basic musical elements and formed into a ‘song sketch’, including an outline of basic song structure, harmony and melody. This song sketch should be delivered as a basic recording plus a lyric sheet.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrating understanding of lyric writing and narrative principles discussed in this course.
Demonstrating understanding of popular song structures according to the principles outlined in the learning materials.
Demonstrating understanding of appropriate harmonic and melodic elements.
Applying and communicating ideas through appropriate delivery formats.
All - Assessment Task 2:Songwriting in a DAW
In this task, you will develop and demonstrate technical skills in a DAW by songwriting in response to prompts.
Product: Artefact - Creative
You will be provided with a detailed list of tasks to complete in order to demonstrate your knowledge of DAWs and their associated workflow. The resulting song/s should adhere to the songwriters toolkit discussed in classes. You will be given a limited amount of time to complete this assessment item.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Creating, setting up, managing and delivering a DAW session.
Developing a foundational knowledge of recording, editing and sequencing tasks.
Developing a foundational knowledge of plugin and signal flow tasks.
Demonstrating an understanding of the four elements of the songwriter's toolkit in a creative work.
All - Assessment Task 3:Songwriting to a brief
This assessment task will place your developing songwriting skills into a common industry framework of practice.
Product: Artefact - Creative, and Written Piece
In this task, you will be provided a mock industry publisher’s brief outlining a set of parameters required for your songwriting. You will apply your songwriter’s toolkit and knowledge of DAWs to develop a song that fits these parameters. You will present your creative work as a demonstration recording and accompanying lyric sheet. You will also submit 300-500 words outlining your songwriting and production intentions in line with the publisher's brief.
No. Learning Outcome assessed
Demonstrating an understanding of lyric writing concepts in line with a publisher's brief.
Developing recording and production processes in line with the publisher's brief.
Applying basic arrangement and accompaniment ideas to communicate your songwriting intentions in line with the publisher's brief.
Applying your songwriting and production intentions to communicate musical concepts in line with the publisher's brief.

Directed study hours

A 12-unit course will have total of 150 learning hours which will include directed study hours (including online if required), self-directed learning and completion of assessable tasks. Directed study hours may vary by location. Student workload is calculated at 12.5 learning hours per one unit.

What resources do I need to undertake this course?

Please note: Course information, including specific information of recommended readings, learning activities, resources, weekly readings, etc. are available on the course Canvas site– Please log in as soon as possible.

Prescribed text(s) or course reader

There are no required/recommended resources for this course.

Specific requirements

Students are required to bring headphones to each tutorial appropriate for a computer headphone jack. Students are required to have access to a USB3 hard drive.

How are risks managed in this course?

Health and safety risks for this course have been assessed as low. It is your responsibility to review course material, search online, discuss with lecturers and peers and understand the health and safety risks associated with your specific course of study and to familiarise yourself with the University’s general health and safety principles by reviewing the online induction training for students, and following the instructions of the University staff.

What administrative information is relevant to this course?

Assessment: Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the ethical standard of university participation.  It ensures that students graduate as a result of proving they are competent in their discipline.  This is integral in maintaining the value of academic qualifications. Each industry has expectations and standards of the skills and knowledge within that discipline and these are reflected in assessment.

Academic integrity means that you do not engage in any activity that is considered to be academic fraud; including plagiarism, collusion or outsourcing any part of any assessment item to any other person.  You are expected to be honest and ethical by completing all work yourself and indicating in your work which ideas and information were developed by you and which were taken from others. You cannot provide your assessment work to others. You are also expected to provide evidence of wide and critical reading, usually by using appropriate academic references.

In order to minimise incidents of academic fraud, this course may require that some of its assessment tasks, when submitted to Canvas, are electronically checked through Turnitin.  This software allows for text comparisons to be made between your submitted assessment item and all other work to which Turnitin has access.

Assessment: Additional Requirements

Your eligibility for supplementary assessment in a course is dependent of the following conditions applying:

The final mark is in the percentage range 47% to 49.4%
The course is graded using the Standard Grading scale
You have not failed an assessment task in the course due to academic misconduct.

Assessment: Submission penalties

Late submission of assessment tasks may be penalised at the following maximum rate: 
- 5% (of the assessment task's identified value) per day for the first two days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- 10% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the third day - 20% (of the assessment task's identified value) for the fourth day and subsequent days up to and including seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. 
- A result of zero is awarded for an assessment task submitted after seven days from the date identified as the due date for the assessment task. Weekdays and weekends are included in the calculation of days late. To request an extension you must contact your course coordinator to negotiate an outcome.


USC is committed to a culture of respect and providing a safe and supportive environment for all members of our community. For immediate assistance on campus contact SafeUSC by phone: 07 5430 1168 or using the SafeZone app. For general enquires contact the SafeUSC team by phone 07 5456 3864 or email

The SafeUSC Specialist Service is a Student Wellbeing service that provides free and confidential support to students who may have experienced or observed behaviour that could cause fear, offence or trauma. To contact the service call 07 5430 1226 or email

Study help

For help with course-specific advice, for example what information to include in your assessment, you should first contact your tutor, then your course coordinator, if needed.

If you require additional assistance, the Learning Advisers are trained professionals who are ready to help you develop a wide range of academic skills. Visit the Learning Advisers web page for more information, or contact Student Central for further assistance: +61 7 5430 2890 or

Wellbeing Services

Student Wellbeing provide free and confidential counselling on a wide range of personal, academic, social and psychological matters, to foster positive mental health and wellbeing for your academic success.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 1226.

AccessAbility Services

Ability Advisers ensure equal access to all aspects of university life. If your studies are affected by a disability, learning disorder mental health issue, injury or illness, or you are a primary carer for someone with a disability or who is considered frail and aged, AccessAbility Services can provide access to appropriate reasonable adjustments and practical advice about the support and facilities available to you throughout the University.

To book a confidential appointment go to Student Hub, email or call 07 5430 2890.

Links to relevant University policy and procedures

For more information on Academic Learning & Teaching categories including:

  • Assessment: Courses and Coursework Programs
  • Review of Assessment and Final Grades
  • Supplementary Assessment
  • Administration of Central Examinations
  • Deferred Examinations
  • Student Academic Misconduct
  • Students with a Disability

Visit the USC website:

Student Charter

USC is committed to excellence in teaching, research and engagement in an environment that is inclusive, inspiring, safe and respectful. The Student Charter sets out what students can expect from the University, and what in turn is expected of students, to achieve these outcomes.

General Enquiries

  • In person:
    • USC Sunshine Coast - Student Central, Ground Floor, Building C, 90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
    • USC Moreton Bay - Service Centre, Ground Floor, Foundation Building, Gympie Road, Petrie
    • USC SouthBank - Student Central, Building A4 (SW1), 52 Merivale Street, South Brisbane
    • USC Gympie - Student Central, 71 Cartwright Road, Gympie
    • USC Fraser Coast - Student Central, Student Central, Building A, 161 Old Maryborough Rd, Hervey Bay
    • USC Caboolture - Student Central, Level 1 Building J, Cnr Manley and Tallon Street, Caboolture
  • Tel:+61 7 5430 2890