This is where you’ll find descriptions of the classes being offered at the retreat as well as information about mentor sessions and song salon. Some of the classes have materials that you can download and keep.
The Process of Writing a song and stirring the soul
A song is born from the thoughts, emotions or ideas of one person. In it’s most powerful form it finds a place and makes a connection in the lives of others inviting them in. We’ll look at that process of working on a song from its simple beginnings to its final stages. We’ll experiment with the power of metaphor, poetry and plain simple language as a way of telling our story simply, in our own musical voice.
The important process of self-editing will be explored, and of paring the song down to its most powerful and compelling elements. We’ll do some question and answer as well as some hands on work. This class is open to people of all levels, from the experienced songwriter to folks who have yet to try writing a song. My goal will be to encourage and support you with my own insights and personal experience of the process and for those of you who are already writing some constructive supportive song critique and plenty of question and answer if need as well
All levels welcome. With or without an instrument, come join the circle!
Co-writing and working on a song together
This class will explore the process of co writing songs, and the unique opportunities of inviting the input of other writers and creatives into your own process. A portion of the class each day will be working on creating a song all together from scratch, theres a lot to be learned in being in the room and watching the process unfold and throwing your own 2 cents in every now and then.
We’ll also explore ways to create a respectful and safe space when working with another artist’s feedback and sensitivity . We will look at the value of writing with another opinion, perspective and creative voice and the sometimes refreshing release in helping you write a song you might not have written other wise. Plenty of question and answer if needed as well.
All levels welcome. With or without an instrument, come join the circle!
This Song Is A Car
In this class we’ll look at some tools we can use when we have an emotion and we want to create a container for it. How can we build a vehicle that will run on the energy of the song we can feel inside us? We need wheels and we need an engine. We need a steering wheel. There are many ways to build an engine. We will walk through the steps I would use when I want to build a vehicle for my song.
Finding Creative Lift-Off
Songwriting is an art – and also a craft. It can feel like magic. And then sometimes it doesn’t; some days it feels like standing at a work bench and trying to decide if you should pick up the hammer or the screwdriver. How do we begin a song on those days? On the days we don’t feel a song inside us? We will look at one way we might use a carrier wave of energy to start a song. Before class please play through 1 or 2 songs that you love that you did not write – just to get the feel of them under your fingers.
Be Your Own Artistic Producer
Different packaging of lyrics to music changes the way we connect to the content of a song or tune – yours or other people’s. Different musical landscapes; keys, grooves, tempos, meters, density of instrumentation, etc,… can enhance, if not be crucial, to a song’s connection to an audience; whether for live performance or your recording. Let’s explore twisting, tweaking the music of your song. Learn to mix & match musical styles to your composition. I will provide an example, if needed. We’ll all be surprised at the results. From detailing with tiny paint brushes to bold strokes with a paint roller – with or without a drop-cloth – it’s all about fearless possibility in creativity.
Re-framing words, rhythms and melodies reminds us of the long, historical love affair between tradition and innovation. Everyone has a place and space to create anew from the old, the borrowed and the blue. Join me to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of common sense while exploring our Home on the (Free) Range of Contemporary Songwriting.
Writing Songs for Kids and Writing Songs With kids
During this pandemic, how better to educate and spend time with kids than on Zoom, social distancing and having creative fun?
Gail will encourage you to get in touch with your inner child and write from a kid’s perspective. Being silly, creative, writing and performing your song with enthusiasm is the goal of this workshop. She will share with you ideas on what to write about and provide you with thoughts on how to craft your song to be teachable and entertaining.
Another aspect of this workshop is how to write songs with kids. Gail has been trained as a “Guitars in the Classroom” teacher under the founder, Jessica Barron. Gail is bringing this knowledge to YSR to share easy tips on how to write songs with kids. Bring whatever you use to write with, a sense of humor and wonder with you.
How to Tame Your Inner Critic!
We all have an inner critic at some point in our songwriting journey. It is that voice that expresses self doubt, criticism, and sometimes stops us from writing and performing. In this workshop we are going to tackle our inner critic with tips and ways to make our critic a “friend” and a valuable part of editing.
Please bring a song or part of a song that you are working on or one that your critic has put on the shelf or garbage can. Let’s turn this around and make your critic a positive part of your songwriting process. Let’s face our fears and fuel our passion.
Textural Guitar Playing
The guitar is a very sonically versatile instrument capable of creating evocative musical textures. This class is not so much about the notes that you play but about HOW you play them. You’ll learn some techniques to help you manipulate volume, tone and rhythm to create accompaniments that support the emotions expressed in your lyrics.
How To Practice
Playing a musical instrument is hard. It’s not something you learn overnight so if you want to be any good at it, you’re going to have to spend a lot of time practicing. How you practice is just as important as how much you practice. If you’re not doing it right, you might be wasting your time.
After a brief (I promise) discussion about the science of learning, we’ll get into some techniques that will help you make the most of your practice time and get super good at playing music. You will learn one thing in this class. You will learn how to learn.
Maximizing Your Vocal Potential
Introduction – The voice is organic and considered by many to be one of the most powerful instruments on the planet. Each voice is unique. Fitness, good posture and breath support are essential elements in order to maximize the best vocal potential when singing or speaking. The proper warm-up exercises will be most helpful in getting the desired results during a performances
Objectives – The primary objective of the session is to present effective “On-Demand” vocal warm-up exercises that vocalist can use before a gig, to improve and/or sustain the quality of their individualized sound before a gig.
Live Sound Class
This is an open session to answer any general questions about performance sound including small sound reinforcement systems, personal recording, microphone choices and techniques, signal processing, the challenges of using Zoom sound, and any other sound/music related tech topic.
In addition to classes and workshops, our instructors will also be available for 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 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.