In this section you’ll find descriptions of the classes being offered at the retreat as well as information about Mentor Sessions and Song Salons.

MorganEve Swain – How to write songs when you don’t play guitar.

I grew up playing the violin. As a touring musician I’ve played upright bass, violin, viola, even cello, but it wasn’t until I started my own band that I started playing guitar on stage. I still don’t consider myself a guitarist, but here I am, fronting a band with my little Fender. How do you write songs when you don’t play the traditional song-writing instruments? In this class we’ll talk about writing from a place we’re not used to, whether it be turning away from the guitar you know well, or towards an instrument you don’t quite know.

MorganEve Swain – Writing like a writer

For the most part, I’ve always linked music-writing to the great mysterious muse. It’s either there or it isn’t. To an extent, writing memoir is similar— I need a spark to get going in the first place. But then there are hours of revision and rewriting and editing that I rarely give to my songs. What happens when we approach music-writing like prose-writing? We’ll use this class to play with our approaches to songwriting with the help of short readings and writing prompts and attempt to write music in a way we maybe haven’t before.

Johnny Franco – Hearing and Inspiration

Because of the pandemic, for a whole year I had the most tedious job ever. From nine to five, I faced a wall in a corner, under fluorescent office lights. This boredom was a true blessing. I never wrote so many songs before. This class is about setting yourself up for inspiration. I’ll show you a few systems I’ve come up with to trigger and harvest the songs within me.

Johnny Franco – From Idea to Performance

When I perform, I love the applause. That’s what I’m after. But that changes from person to person. This class is about the transition from idea to concrete song format and performance. There’s a line in a Bob Dylan song that first put me in this track years ago, it is “I’ll know my song well before I start singing”.

Joe Craven – 

Check back for Joe’s classes, they’re still in development.

Mentor Sessions

In addition to classes and workshops, our instructors will also be available for one-on-one mentor sessions throughout the weekend. These sessions are your opportunity to have some one-on-one time with our instructors and get specific advice on something you’re working on.

Song salon

Song salon is an opportunity for you to present your works-in-progress to the group and get feedback, ideas and encouragement. Bring us your tired, your weak, your half-written, yearning to be finished. Come ready to share, give feedback, and be nice.