Songwriting Workshop

Shelby Vaughn will present a songwriting workshop at the Hardin Center on Saturday, July 29. This one-day workshop is free and will take place from 10 am to 3 pm, with a lunch break from noon to 1 pm. The workshop is open to individuals of any age.

10 am – 12 noon: Song Structure and Chord Progression
– Explanation of the most common song structures (verse 1, pre-chorus, chorus, verse 2, pre-chorus, chorus, bridge, chorus). Shelby will go into detail of what each section does for a song and explain the most common uses for each piece.
– Expanation of basic music theory in the form of chords and numbers.
– Examples of the common chord progressions in each genre will be demonstrated. Participants will be shown how to come up with any type of progression and even come up with it after writing the lyrics and melody.

1 pm – 3 pm: Lyric, Melody, and Meaning within Songwriting
-Within lyrics, Shelby will explain rhyme scheme and the importance of rhyme in a song. She will discuss wordiness and ways of writing that can trip up the singer or the listener.
-Melody will coincide with a lot of the lyric explanation. She will explain small tips like making the chorus have the most catchy phrase or most singable/memorable melody.
-Within meaning, Shelby will explain different types of songs, like songs written from different perspectives or personas, making a song one big metaphor, speaking from personal experience, or speaking on a world issue, etc. She will also speak about vulnerability, transparency, and pure artistry. Songwriting cannot happen without a person being vulnerable and deciding to share their own story, struggles, failures, desires, and triumphs with the world.

This free workshop is provided through a generous grant from Regions.

Registration is required for the workshop and participants must register by Wednesday, July 26. To register, email or call (256) 543-2787, ext. 0.


Shelby Vaughn graduated from Southeastern University with a Music Business degree where she studied voice with Gretchen Geist. She spent four semesters studying classical voice and performing with the University’s Concert Choir and Advanced Women’s Choir. Shelby spent her last semester at the Contemporary Music Center in Nashville where she studied contemporary songwriting and performing. In Nashville she worked with songwriter Rick Elias and producer Luke DeJaynes. Shelby now resides in Gadsden and is involved with the worship department at Legacy Church. She continues to pursue a solo career as a contemporary songwriter and performer. Shelby is currently teaching voice lessons with the Gadsden Community School for the Arts at the Hardin Center.