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  • Writer's pictureIsabella Petajan

Bridging Dimensions: The Religious Experience of Adrianne Lenker's School of Song Class

Embarking on Adrianne Lenker's School of Song Songwriting course was nothing short of a transformative journey, a kaleidoscope of soul-enriching, mind-expanding, and heart-replete experiences. In just four ephemeral weeks, Adrianne and the ethereal School of Song team orchestrated a metamorphosis in my musical approach that will resonate for a lifetime. Adrianne graciously offered an eye-opening perspective and wisdom that allowed participants to grow and glow in their songwriting journey. Varied in our musical journeys, we departed with not merely four hours of songwriting knowledge but also with four or more original compositions. Adrianne Lenker’s songwriting class had an immense impact on who I am musically and on the lives of hundreds of songwriters worldwide


Lenker's classes wove a tapestry of musical revelations encompassing picking patterns, songwriting intricacies, celestial music recommendations, and delicate deconstructions of songs. It was absolutely eye and heart-opening. This class set up our minds for songwriting from the heart. Lenker graciously offered ideas surrounding unblocking, curiosity, and intuitive compass. She shared her own music and gave us a myriad of song recommendations in the form of her live performances or through careful breakdowns of their lyrics.


Her discourse was a symphony that tuned our minds to the 'melody of the heart.' In the words of class-goers, “This class was so life-changing” (Barkin). And indeed it was. This class opened my eyes musically in a way that hadn't been opened before. It completely changed the way I approach songwriting through her way of untangling a once complicated process, to simplifying it to be simply something that makes you happy. I learned you must divorce yourself from sounding good and marry feeling good. 


Others had a class experience as religious as mine felt. Barkin says, “[I] wrote 3 verses that made me cry and feel things I never thought I would get to this point in my writing, and I'm starting to appreciate what I write, seeing different things in it. This class unblocked so much stuff, and things are starting to come out. [A] life-changing class.”


Another class-goer says, “I do love the way I have this new realization about ways to write, using Adrianne's ideas of the thing/thought dichotomy/juxtaposition. I think people take things in and create relationships/sense out of what they see and hear, so this technique is so cool for creating that in a song. I often dislike writing lyrics that are supposed to feel like they 'make sense' because that's not what naturally flows out of me. This new combo thought/thing approach fits in perfectly as a way to (appear to) make more sense out of my usual otherwise somewhat nonsense lyrics. “ (Coreytree). 


Sasha Uvarova, another attendee of this class,  thought the class was a great experience to understand the various ways artists of all kinds approach songwriting, "creating meaning within their art and representing a message as effectively as possible. Adrianne took a great deal of time to deeply connect the shared experience of creating music and songwriting between established artists, herself, and the participants in the class. She answered questions from participants with as much honesty, clarity, and understanding as possible. It was a beautiful way to understand how your favorite musicians perceive themselves, their writing, [and] yours!!!!”. 


Adrianne Lenker's School of Song was not merely a class; it was a symphony of enlightenment, an artistic pilgrimage that left a mark on the very fabric of our musical identities. Check out schoolofsong.org for more life-altering experiences in your own musical journey, and keep an eye out for Adrianne Lenker's new album coming out on March 22! See you all at her Chicago concert on June 28!



(cover photo credit to Billboard.com)

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