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    Hear sample songs from Kara DioGuardi’s students

    Songwriter/Berklee College of Music professor and former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi sits with her some of her students.
    Evan McGlinn for The Boston Globe
    Songwriter/Berklee College of Music professor and former "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi sits with her some of her students.

    Liberation (1-minute sample clip)

    Music and Lyrics: John Silos and Stewart Taylor

    Instrumentals: John Silos


    Arranging/Production/Engineering/Mixing/Mastering: John Silos (special

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    thanks to Axel Ulfson)

    Breathing Down My Neck (1-minute sample clip)

    Music and Lyrics - Sarah Walk, Pete Nappi, Ingrid Andress

    Vocals - Sarah Walk


    Instrumentals - Pete Nappi

    Production/Engineering/Mixing/Arranging - Pete Nappi

    Stewart Taylor, third semester songwriting major, on having Kara DioGuardi as a teacher: “I have been following Kara’s collaborations for years. I watched “American Idol” and I was listening to that Enrique [Iglesias] record back in 2001. Even going through my CD collection now I find that she’s on most of my favorite albums, so just even getting an opportunity to come here and work with her, someone you respect so much, and watching “Platinum Hit” on Bravo religiously with my brothers and sisters and then being in the same environment was definitely a mind-trip for sure.”

    On his song “Liberation” which he co-wrote with fellow student John Silos:

    She really tried to get it into my head that I needed to come from a more honest place. And I got teamed up with John here and started thinking about “What changed my life significantly? What’s my honest truth?” And I was thinking back to high school and middle school and getting made fun of for doing what you believe in and freeing yourself from it … It’s supposed to be a celebration: “I’m free of all of that stuff you put me through and feeling bad about myself.” I’m just cool in my own skin.

    Sarah Walk, sixth semester songwriting major, on the biggest challenges of the “Hit Songwriting” class:

    “The biggest challenge has been working with other people. I’ve always done my own thing, I write it and that’s it. I’ll take my band’s input but that’s about it, so having to sit down and co-write with people has been a whole different thing for me. Plus having tracks that are fully produced has been a challenge. It’s been great and it’s made me figure out what I need to work on and what I bring to the table.”

    On how co-writing songs like “Breathing Down My Neck” is different for her:


    ”For me, the hard part about Berklee is you know what you’re doing. The first three years is learning, learning, learning and then having to learn how to forget what you’ve been taught. The stuff that I usually do is a full band rock vibe so this class has been a whole new thing for me.”