The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™

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The seminar has been created due to public demand for Duncan Lorien’s simple approach to composition and graduates state it is without doubt the most effective and simple way to become a songwriter and composer.

What is contained in The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™?

  • The Lorien ten rules of melody.
  • The eight basic agreements of harmony.
  • Song structure, song formulas and song arrangement.
  • Modulation (moving from one scale to another within a song).
  • Parallel and related keys (the common scales to use when modulating).
  • Transposition (moving the whole song higher or lower).
  • Cadences (musical punctuation using chords).
  • How chord charts make music notation simple.
  • Chord substitution (exchanging one chord for another).
  • A new approach to lyric writing and coming up with a really good idea.
  • Chord patterning – how to develop different styles of music.
  • The foundations for all styles of music from classical to jazz and rock.
  • How to create a melody that fits with chords you have written.
  • How to create chords that fit with a melody you have written.
  • How to create lyrics that fit with a melody you have written.
  • How to create different melodies to fit with lyrics you have written.
  • What makes a song or piece of music popular and financially successful.
  • Lorien chord system – the most powerful tool ever for composition.
  • How to write in quantity and with quality.
  • The basics of recording.
  • The basics of copyrighting.
  • The basics of promotion.
  • A practical ten minute-a-day daily practice schedule to ensure each graduate maximizes the full potential of the seminar.
  • No claim is made that graduates are composing symphonies like Beethoven or songs like U2 in only one weekend but every graduate is writing fully structured songs in four minutes for each song by the end of the seminar……..guaranteed!

How can all this happen in one weekend?

By approaching the subject of songwriting using the same system of easy steps developed by Duncan Lorien for The Understanding of Music Seminar™ that ensures everyone in the Seminar fully understands and is able to apply each step before the next step is started. All the Seminar information is included in an easy to read manual with simple diagrams. The attendee interacts with the manual throughout the Seminar and continues at home with the daily practice schedule. The Seminar manual is included in the cost of the Seminar.

What is the graduation rate? 

100 %. When Duncan Lorien states “that every graduate is writing fully structures songs in four minutes for each song by the end of the seminar” that is exactly what each graduate achieves. He says that even the inability to play an instrument is absolutely no hindrance to doing The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™ as the tools he gives the graduates actually superceed the need to play an instrument. A graduate can start producing professional songs and then notate them using an easy system he demonstrates so that other musicians can immediately read and play them.

What instruments are required?

Duncan Lorien recommends you check with the Organizer of the seminar in your area as to whether you should bring your keyboard or guitar with you to the seminar. Although the information is fully applicable to other instruments such as brass, woodwind, percussion or voice only keyboards or acoustic guitars should be brought to the Seminar.

Who should come to this Seminar? 

If you are interested in attending The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™ you must be a graduate of The Understanding of Music Seminar™, know the names of your notes on your instrument and be comfortable playing the Major and minor chords. The youngest recommended age is 13 years old (depending on study ability). If they have already graduated The Understanding of Music Seminar™ younger children will be considered on written application.

What is the Seminar schedule? 

English speaking countries:

  • Friday       9:30 am – 6:30 pm (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm lunch break)
  • Saturday  9:30 am – 6:30 pm (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm lunch break)
  • Sunday     9:30 am – 7:00 pm (1:00 pm – 2:00 pm lunch break)

There can be additional hours for non-English speaking countries. Please contact the Organizer of this seminar in your own country for the exact schedule.

What are the other important details I need to know?

Seminar Rules

There are some basic rules you are asked to adhere to while attending a Seminar delivered by Duncan Lorien in order for you to gain the maximum out of the seminar.

  • No drugs or alcohol may be consumed during the days on which the Seminar is being held (attendees receiving prescription drugs under medical supervision are requested to advise the Seminar Organizer what drugs are being prescribed).
  • Any attendee with a reading or hearing problem or who is physically challenged is requested to advise the Seminar Organizer so the best efforts can be made to accommodate that attendee.
  • No smoking will be allowed during the Seminar but sufficient meal and rest breaks should ensure this is not a problem.
  • Any attendee who is unable to adhere to the full schedule and maintain punctuality creates a disruption to the rest of the attendees and will be refunded and asked to leave the Seminar.
  • Recording is not permitted as it creates a distraction and all materials are internationally copyrighted. Taking notes are welcomed but not essential as all information is in the Seminar materials provided.
  • Each attendee undertakes to make the Seminar Presenter immediately aware of any confusion or difficulty so that it can be fully handled at that time.
Seminar Price

$595.00 (US dollars). There are no discounted rates. The full deposit of $200.00 secures the place of a student on the Seminar. The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™is held only once each year in Boston – U.S.A.

The Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™ is held in different timezones and for further information contact the local organizers of any Understanding of Songwriting Seminar™ listed on the Seminar Schedule.

There is a large demand for strictly limited places and the earlier a deposit is made the greater the chance someone has of being awarded a place at the Seminar.

The fee includes the Seminar manual and the opportunity to do the Seminar again for an administrative fee. Repeating the seminar is strongly encouraged. Those who have attended again, agree that  the concepts and actions are then mastered at an even higher level. It also includes an option to consult by letter, e-mail, fax or phone with the Understanding of Music Company™ on any aspect of the Seminar information at no extra charge.

Seminar Success

Here is a sample of success stories from the Understanding of Songwriting Seminar:

  • “This opened up unlimited realms of creative potential. Easily the most important investment I have made to myself as a musician and songwriter. Unbelievable!” – S.R.
  • “If I write everything I have gained from this seminar, it will take 10,000 pages to do it! Thank you for the gift of this knowledge!” – A.R.
  • ” The bottom line is this….if you want to become a songwriter, THIS IS the class to take!” – R.N.
  • “The tools filling my toolbox after this seminar will help me build my future as a songwriter. Duncan has delivered above and beyond once again! What an incredible gift… I’ll be back again and again!” – C.D.
  • “This seminar is mind boggling. It makes musical mysteries easily understandable. I thoroughly enjoyed these three magical days.” -M.K.
  • “Before this weekend I had confusions and complexities on how to write music. One by one these have been replaced by a simplicity and a methodology I can now use. I can now accomplish my lifelong goal to write my music and share my songs with the world. What an incredible gift!” – J.M.
  • “Suddenly I have all the tools that exist without missing one and I know how to use them in all combinations.  You solved the Rubik’s cube of music! You put everything in order for me.” – J.A.E.
  • “I don’t need to look any further. I got all the tools. This seminar changed my life! Thank you!” – R.R.
  • “I loved this seminar! It has given me much more than I had hoped. I know without a doubt that I can create an endless array of songs and this thrills me for I know that I will do it! Duncan is phenomenal – his seminar is amazing. Anyone who has a desire to write a song should do this.” – J.G.
  • “Thanks to the seminar my confusion and fears of songwriting are gone!” – R.H.
  • “Now I fully possess the tools to make a buck or two selling songs rather than treating this as an amateur exercise – which is my wife’s dream!!!! Duncan, your knowledge of music is enormous. Your ability to teach the simplicity therein incredibly unique. That said, your heart and spirit are your true gifts!!” – R.S.
  • “I’m speechless and overwhelmed! The simplicity with which the subject (or more accurately, the ‘activity’) has been communicated is literally mind-blowing in itself. Much admiration and appreciation.” – T.S.
  • “Duncan is truly the god of music teachers. My knowledge of chords and melody are going to help me fly like never before! This has truly been the most beautiful, enlightening thing I’ve done with my musical career. The whole world needs this data!” – D.O.


“Hi Duncan,

I just wanted to share my latest win with you. A friend of a friend just hired me to help him write lyrics for a marketing campaign for his company. I blew him away with the volume and quality of lyrics I was able to generate in a very  short period of time (little does he know what the volume actually was, since I only shared the best ones with him…).  Of course I am using all the techniques I learned in your seminars, from the really good idea drill to the emotional response palette, and the ever popular 2 minute songwriting drill. This contract pays back more than I have spent on your seminars, so that’s an ROI (return on investment) you can’t argue with. Thank you for teaching me how to get paid for my music. The more I work with your material the more powerful it becomes. And I tell everyone about it…

Thank you, thank you, thank you.”

Andrew Winig