How to Write a Song with Chris Difford

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What is the secret to writing a great song? How can you turn a story or a personal experience into memorable lyrics? The Idler Academy has teamed up with award-winning lyricist Chris Difford of Squeeze to teach the art of songwriting in a unique interactive course. Chris himself will give you direct feedback on your homework, and we’ll give the best songwriters the chance to perform at a live event.

For over thirty years, Chris Difford has brought us characters and sketches from everyday life, turning the mundane into the beautiful. With his partner and Squeeze co-founder Glenn Tilbrook, Chris has written some of the most enduring and best-loved songs of our time, including “Up The Junction” and “Cool for Cats”. With sixteen Squeeze albums, three critically acclaimed solo albums, countless hits and tours under his belt, Chris is the perfect guide on your songwriting journey.

Over the course of seven lessons, Chris will share his life story, teaching you how to find inspiration in your own life and the world around you. He will talk about his top focussing techniques to combat writer’s block. He’ll show you how to learn from the masters – Joni Mitchell, Noel Coward, Johnny Mercer and more. There will be homework given after each lesson, and Chris will provide direct feedback on your lyrics and progress.

The Idler Academy also organises a few evenings a year for songwriting students to get together with Chris and discuss lyric writing. These are ticketed separately from the online course but from these students Chris selects one winner each year to come and perform their song at an Idler Dinner or Festival.  We encourage online course students to come to these events.

How to Write A Song doesn’t teach you to adhere to strict rules or structures. It allows you to explore your creativity and to find inspiration in your daily life, turning chance encounters and conversations into great songs. It’s the perfect course for any aspiring songwriter.

Course Outline

Introduction: Chris Difford’s Life Story – How I Became a Lyricist, with Idler editor Tom Hodgkinson (10.03)

Lesson One: Be Yourself – Your Life Story (9.02)

Lesson Two: Focussing Techniques (9.06)

Lesson Three: Self-Inspiration and Where to Find it (8.29)

Lesson Four: Writing Partnerships (9.57)

Lesson Five: Listening to the Masters (4.55)

Lesson Six: Sharing Our Lives (8.35)

Lesson Seven: Show and Tell (2.39)