Listening to educational parody songs (like this gem) is a great way to help remember simple information. Similar to the way mnemonic devices work, parody songs are an effective study tool for any upcoming tests or quizzes. But it’s certainly not the most effective way to learn overall. Studies show that this type of rote memorization helps only with surface level, short-term learning.
After your test, you’ll probably forget most of what you learned from that parody song.
The entire idea of learning goes beyond just getting an A on a 9th-grade science test. Your goal should be to fully grasp the concepts and be able to explain them to someone else.
To fully grasp any concept, your effort will need to go beyond merely listening to an educational parody song. One solution to take your learning a step deeper is to write your own educational parody song.
It may sound like a daunting task at first. However, here at Jam Campus, we’ve hosted multiple student contests over the years. Students from all over the world have submitted their songs in our contests and we’ve received some top quality submissions (like this contest winning video!).
This article outlines the details of the writing process. If you are just starting off and haven’t chosen a song yet, start with this article about choosing the best song for your educational parody. And if you’re just looking for a few tips writing educational songs in general, this article is a great place to start.
If you’re a student looking for ways to enhance your learning. Or you’re a teacher looking to impress your students with your own educational parody song, you’ve come to the right place.
As you start your journey, here are our top five tips for writing your own educational parody song.
1. Outline your structure
Before you jump into writing, it’s essential to organize your ideas into an outline. Just like you would draft an outline before writing an essay, your song outline provides structure and keeps you focused. Educational parody songs are created with a specific learning objective. And to stay focused on the learning objective and make sure all boxes are checked, a thorough outline of your ideas is the best place to start.
We suggest writing your specific learning objective at the top of our outline page before you begin. This way, you’ll always have a reference easily available in case your lyrics start to get off track.
From here, start to outline your song. A simple song structure follows the format of Verse 1, Chorus 1, Verse 2, Chorus 2. By writing these words on your paper, you now have a rough outline of how the song is structured. The next (and most challenging) part is to translate your learning objective into four equal parts. Ask yourself questions like:
“What are the most important pieces of information to include?”
“How can I simplify this message?”
“What words can I use in the Chorus to make this song memorable?”
2. Match the syllables
As you begin writing your educational parody song, pay close attention to the original song lyrics and syllables within each line. Your goal will be to match your lyrics exactly to the amount of syllables in the original song. It sounds simple, but too often we hear parody songs that try to cram too many words into a line of lyrics. The result comes off sounding cheap, lazy, and less impactful when it comes to learning. An easy way to avoid this is to count the syllables on your hand. For example, if we were creating a parody of God’s Plan by Drake, the first line in the original song is:
“I’ve been moving calm, don’t start no trouble with me.”
This line has 12 syllables. Going line by line, your goal is to match your lyrics to these 12 syllables. It’s an easy way to smooth out the sound of your educational parody song. Your audience will thank you later.
3. Don’t be lazy
One big pet peeve in listening to educational parody songs is the laziness in songwriting. We mention this in other song creation articles, but it’s worth bringing up again. Think of every single word you write as an opportunity to teach. Every. Single. Word. That means that each word (or syllable) that you decide to write into your song, must be meaningful. Stick with your learning objective and infuse that objective into every word.
That means to remove any lines that say “and he was really cool” or “and she was really great.” These lines provide no value to your audience and are clearly recognized as lazy songwriting. It’s ok if you write your first draft and have a few of those in. But make sure to go back, edit, and refine those “fluff-words” out of there.
4. Use tools like Rhymezone and Thesaurus
Don’t be a hero. Let the internet be the hero. As you write your song, keep a tab on your browser open with Rhymezone and Thesaurus. These two tabs will be essential in helping you think through word ideas. Sometimes you need a word that rhymes. And sometimes you need a synonym. Let the experts guide you.
5. Say the words out loud
Words and language are tricky. Sometimes they sound good when you read them in your head. But as soon as you say them out loud, your tongue gets tangled and it comes out sounding drastically different.
To save time with your writing later, say the words out loud. Even if you only have a handful of lines written. Play the original track (or the instrumental version) and sing the words out loud. If you’ve got family around and don’t want to disturb them, you can always just whisper the words. Whispering is surprisingly much more effective than merely saying the words in your head.
This exercise saves you time in the long run. When you say your lyrics out loud, you’re quickly able to tell if your written words are going to work or if it’s time to try something else.
6. Edit and refine
With any piece of written material, editing is your best friend. No one writes a masterpiece on the first try. It takes time and dedication to perfect.
If you’ve been writing lyrics for a few hours, sometimes it’s best to take a break. Sleep on it and then open up your song the next day. With a fresh mind, you’ll find you have a whole new perspective on your song. This will allow you to further refine and improve your lyrics.
Another option is to show your lyrics to a friend or family member. Have them read through the lyrics (or sing them!) and provide their feedback. Did they understand the topic? What parts were they confused on? Peer to peer feedback is always essential in any creative endeavor and can be immensely helpful in writing educational parody songs.
Just like learning any skill, writing your own song may be a challenging task at first.
But keep going! I promise it gets easier and easier with each song. It’s an incredibly rewarding feeling to create a song or video with educational value that others can learn from. Keep moving forward and always feel free to reach out to us if you have any thoughts or questions. Happy creating 🙂