New songwriting club aims high, starts with fundamental techniques

Grace Hazlehurst, staff writer

Club sponsor and English teacher Dirk Frey strummed his guitar briefly and played a video of a Bare Naked Ladies singer-songwriter. Then he promptly turned over the debut meeting of the songwriting club to the students. After all, the club originated with junior and sequel staffer Samantha Engler.
“I wrote a piece for his class as part of an assignment,” Engler said, recalling sophomore English with Frey. “That’s how he knew I could write music. Then, we got around to talking about how there’s no actual music-writing clubs at this school.”
The two agreed that the club would meet on the last Friday of each month.
The club’s goal—songwriting—is easier said than done. She found the eight students who attended the Jan. 27 meeting arrived with varied skill levels. So she taught an impromptu lesson on the circle of fifths, how to compose a major scale and common chord progressions.
Engler, who cites the Beatles as her first musical inspiration, confessed that she has struggled with composer’s block for the past few months.
“We’re here to write music and get better at it,” Engler said.