Theory 101:

an introduction to the musical genius of Stevie Wonder for songwriters

A 2-part online workshop, October 29th + 30th, 2022

Do you ever feel tired of so much music theory being a dry, boring conversation about dead white guys?

Have you clicked on tons of YouTube videos of people talking about theory of modern music and gotten lost or just lost interest after the first few minutes?

Do you sometimes feel stuck in your songwriting because your songs all sound similar, yet you don’t know quite how to gather the inspiration you feel from someone brilliant like Stevie Wonder?

Your search is over. This workshop is for you!

Your instructor

Donovan Dorrance

Donovan Dorrance...

…hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he trained as a multi-instrumentalist before moving to Brooklyn to pursue his passion for music. 

Dorrance has had the opportunity to compose original music and tour internationally accompanying dance for the last six years, including performances at the Guggenheim Museum and the Joyce Theatre. Dorrance also composes for film, theatre, and podcasts.

He’s currently working on a new album, but you can stream previous releases under his name or the collaborative moniker Prawn til Dante. 

He’s been with golden lotus studio since the beginning of 2020 and feels very privileged to get to share music with others during such a turbulent time.


Donovan Dorrance

What if you could hear better?

Think of music theory as a kind of toolkit. If all you have in your toolkit is a hammer, you can only build certain kinds of objects. But if you have a hammer, and a saw, and a wrench, and a router, and a drill press… OK, maybe I’m enjoying the analogy too much. You get where this is going.

You could also think of theory as a painter’s palette. You won’t get too far in your painting if you only have yellow. But what if you add blue, red, and burnt umber? Soon you’ll be making happier trees than Bob Ross. 

The point I’m trying to make is that when you have a greater conceptual understanding of how music is put together, your own compositions can have a depth you previously only heard in other people’s music. Plus, as a bonus, you’ll understand and appreciate other people’s music better, too. It’s kinda like learning a magician’s tricks.

For example, by exploring the different ways that you can build a melodic sequence, you suddenly discover several exciting new possibilities for where your song can go. Or if you pick apart how the melody interacts with the chords in, say, Stevie Wonder’s song “Send One Your Love,”  you’ll have a new set of strategies for allowing your chords and melodies to become more adventurous. You’ll learn to find a palette of sounds that matches your harmonies and brings a more dynamic musical tension and release to your songs.

And all the while, your musician ears will be getting bigger and bigger, metaphorically speaking, so you can find inspiration in the most surprising places.

Who is it for?

This course is for songwriters and composers who have some basic skills as a musician, but want to grow in applying those and other new skills to their composing. It’s also for musicians who have a solid grasp on music theory, but would love to know better how to apply that knowledge to the craft of songwriting. Practically speaking, this course is for people who have some understanding of major and minor chords on a musical instrument, and have written a song before!

Because this workshop is about songwriting and involves a songwriting assignment, this workshop is ideally suited to folks who are willing to work on a song between the two workshops (a 24-hour period). The first workshop will have a lot of information as we will quickly work through 3 Stevie Wonder songs, analyzing the theory behind the chords & melodies, before arriving at your songwriting assignment. Students will then volunteer their original songs to be heard in the second workshop date, as time allows.

When is it?

This unique 2-part workshop will happen LIVE (online) on Zoom,
on October 29th & 30th,
from 2-3:30PM Eastern Time Zone.
What if I can’t make one or both of the sessions live? Will the sessions be recorded?

Heck yeah!

Register below to have exclusive access to the the recordings for 2 whole weeks after the workshop is finished.

How much does it cost?

Normally, a live, interactive online workshops like this one could cost between $250-$550. Because of our boutique size and low overhead, we at golden lotus studio are delighted to offer you this workshop for the introductory price of only $69.

But hurry!

Registration for this workshop closes October 28th!


Sign up now!

Join the waitlist!

Oh, shoot! Registration for this course has already ended. I hope you’ll check out the other great courses we have available at golden lotus studio.