Creative Writing students perform songs live on campus radio station

CRWR 411 Lyric Forms class photo

Students in UBC’s Creative Writing program will perform songs on UBC’s campus radio station for course credit.

Recently UBC Creative Writing students performed their own songs live on UBC’s campus radio station, CiTR. The performance is one example of how the Creative Writing program integrates applied learning opportunities within its curriculum.

The performance was an assignment for CRWR 411: Lyric Forms, a songwriting course taught by lecturer Tariq Hussain who is a Juno nominated songwriter and recording artist.

Visiting the radio station provided students with the unique experience of performing their own creative work, while gaining exposure to the media with a behind-the-scenes tour.

“Because lyric writing is ultimately a performative genre – songs must be sung by someone and can’t simply exist on paper – I feel it’s important to build some element of performance to the class. It’s also beneficial for students to ‘road test’ their material to see how songs actually feel. So much can be learned this way,” says Hussain.

“I can certainly appreciate that performing in front of a big audience might be a challenge for some students who aren’t used to it, but that’s why the CiTR venue is perfect – the bigger audience is out there, unseen, tuning in online or in their cars, while the students have their peers to play in front of and also a few invited guests. So, hopefully that makes it a little less intimidating but just intimidating enough.”

Students also participated in a discussion about their work in an interview format hosted by the radio station’s program manager, Madeline Taylor and music department manager, Jasper Sloan Yip.

“I had never had an opportunity to perform a song live on radio before. It was nerve wracking but such a valuable experience. I proved to myself that I can do it! And it was a real eye-opener in terms of what songwriting and performance can look and sound and feel like,” says Carrie Jenkins, a former CRWR 411 student.

“The group atmosphere in our class was so supportive, too. We helped out singing backup vocals on each others’ songs and I really felt like there was this collaborative space opened up for us to be experimental and push our creative boundaries.”

A recording of the performance is available on the CiTR website.