On Wednesday, Nov. 15, students in a songwriting course performed songs they had written in class. The showcase was hosted in Harry’s Coffee House in the University Center at 7 p.m. The performers gathered, set up, tuned their instruments and warmed up their voices.
The students support each other and are there for each song. Watching each student perform their composition shows how much effort and love they put into their music.
Steven Potaczek, Assistant Professor of Commercial Music at Samford University, teaches the course in songwriting. He opened the showcase by explaining how hard the students had worked on their compositions and were ready to perform.
“It [the songwriting course] is a part of a major of Commercial Music here at Samford that is for students that want to perform and to want to be in the music industry,” said Potaczek. “What you’re going to hear here tonight is the final project for the class.”
Potaczek is proud of his students and all the effort and time they put into their compositions.
“I think this class really showcases some of the best of what Samford and what our creative students have to offer,” Potaczek said.
Throughout the semester, each student has committed themselves to their musical talents and developed their musical skills.
“Not only are they creating music, but they are also collaborating with their peers, co-writing and working with graphic design majors to create content,” said Potaczek.
The goal for the students is to showcase their skills and efforts for others to enjoy.
“The goal of tonight is to push them beyond their comfort zone and actually perform the things that they have created,” said Potaczek.
Potaczek has high expectations for his students and knew that they would rise to the challenge and shine.
“The expectation is for them to feel what it feels like to be on stage as performers because my students are either going to be that person [on stage] or behind the scenes,” said Potaczek.
Freshman Annessa Shively, a Journalism and Mass Communications major, took the songwriting course to learn how to hone her musical skills.
“I started writing songs two years ago for fun and thought maybe I could do this seriously. When I transferred to Samford, I saw that they had a songwriting course, but Dr. Potaczek was able to give me the opportunity to take his course,” said Shively.
Her song is inspired by Potaczek’s in-class exercises.
“We did this project in the class called object writing, for five weeks we had to write for 10 minutes straight every day. For one of them I picked a bar and wrote about the atmosphere, the people, and different aspects of a bar and put them into my song,” said Shively.
Sophomore Emmy Tane,a Worship Leadership major, said she wants to use her talents to write music that expresses many emotions.
“So much of modern worship music is so much of just praise and adoration and that I need to learn now so I can explore later,” said Tane.
Tane wrote her song while spending time with her grandma in her dementia care unit.
“I went and sat in my grandmother’s dementia care unit and I had met her friends previously and I thought their story was super cute and I wanted to write about it,” said Tane.
Junior Styx McMillan is taking the course because he wants to experience new things.
“I want to get outside of my comfort zone and used to making beats and just making music. I decided to put myself out there and experience new things,” said McMillan.
Music and songwriting are important to McMillan.
“Music makes everybody smile. I have always been a people person and wanted a job where nobody can disagree with me. With music, there is a type of music that someone listens to,” said McMillan.