Apply Now | Music Workshop: Pop & Social Justice Songwriting 101

Spring 2018 Music workshop: Pop & Social Justice Songwriting 101


About the workshop: This course will focus on the analysis and application of the elements of songwriting (rhythm, melody, lyrics, and structure) and how they work together to produce a finished, memorable composition. In informative lectures, supplemented by group discussions, collaborations, demonstrations, and professional feedback, we will learn the craft of songwriting and the role it plays in every popular genre. During the course, students will have the opportunity to learn from popular professional examples and engage with their classmates on subjects ranging from melody writing to social media branding. Each student will spend the semester developing an original song by his or herself, and will be invited to share it with the class. In addition, students will develop a song with classmates in a team exercise that teaches collaborative songwriting. 

Because of the nature of the course, students must be at least 15 years old and have a demonstrated interest in songwriting, performance, and/or the music industry. Although all applications will be considered, youth ages 16-18 in the Harlem area will be be giving strong consideration. The course will be held on Wednesday afternoons from 4:30-6:30pm on Columbia University’s campus.

To submit an application to join the course, please click here.


Application deadline: Tuesday, March 6th


Cost: Free


Course dates and times:

Wednesday, March 7 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, March 14 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, March 21 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, March 28 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, April 4 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, April 11 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, April 18 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, April 25 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, May 2 | 4:30pm-6:30pm

Wednesday, May 9 | 4:30pm-6:30pm


About the instructor:

Afika Nxumalo is a songwriter and artist who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Born to South African and Swazi immigrant parents in North Carolina, Afika administers his own songwriting school, hosts a travel series for Rolling Stone Magazine, and writes pop songs for major label acts.

As a teenager, Afika performed original pieces as an emcee and toured the world as a bassist in a hip-hop seven piece. The band earned the Best Unsigned Act award from Billboard Magazine, and Afika eventually moved to London where he was signed by a Universal Music subsidiary. He eventually returned to the US to sign with publisher BMG Chrysalis/Green & Bloom. His recent releases have earned praise from MTV, BBC, and charted on Spotify’s US Viral 50 Chart.

While touring and recording, Afika also enrolled in community college, earning his way to UNCG where he was a University Marshall– the top 1% of academic achievers– and eventually to UNC Chapel Hill where he was a finalist in the TEDxUNC student speaker competition. He is proud to join the inaugural cohort of June Jordan Teaching Artist Fellows at Columbia University.