“I was a musician before I was a physician,” says Jay Segel, discussing the songwriting class he offers at Featherstone Center for the Arts. “My long-term goal is to create a place of creativity where songwriters have a chance to critique in a warmhearted way.”

Dr. Segel wants to retrieve the Vineyard reputation of creativity, and his first step is to offer this class in songwriting. As an accomplished musician, with hundreds of songs to his credit, Dr. Segel is in a unique position to attract enthusiastic songwriters and steer them to express themselves. “I want to bring the idea of songwriting into the collective consciousness,” he says.

“Songwriting is akin to poetry in that you want to use the most evocative words in your song. Yet lyrics must fit the melody, so there is a “sharper degree of verbal economy,” according to Dr. Segel. “You have only so much time to say what you want to say.”

“Develop the kernel deserving a song,” he says, noting the value of self-expression. Learn to write a piece that means something to someone else. This class will teach how to turn musings into music.

Motivation is important. By offering a weekly class, students will be inspired to create. And a cooperative element within the class should lead to a higher level of songwriting.

Songwriting doesn’t just happen. As Dr. Segel says, “Crafting a song without inspiration is like a lawn with no landscaping. Writing a song without crafting is like a lawn full of weeds.” Songs often reflect a moment in time or a given theme, but need to be tightly focused. Dr. Segel encourages his students to write from the point of view of where you are in life right now.

His long-range goal is for his creative community of songwriters to write a number of songs and perhaps burn a CD of the best tunes. Take this class and be one of the authors of the songs. Learn the elements of creativity and self-expression. And find out copyright protection of your music, as well.

Jay Segel is an ASCAP affiliate songwriter and publishing member, whose work dates back to 1984. From love songs to lullabies, from folk to rock, he’s done it all.

Songwriting at Featherstone is offered on four consecutive Tuesdays from 5:30 to 7 p.m. starting March 24. The course is $80 for four sessions. For further information contact Featherstone at 508 693-1850 or on line at featherstonearts.org.