Eliza’s Songwriting Class

Eliza Gilkyson

I believe the best way to learn about songwriting is to work on your own songs or listen in while others work on theirs, so please do bring songs and ideas you’re working on to the class. Rather than being a talking head at the front of the room, I’d prefer to dig into what makes YOUR songs work, where they are getting hung up, and how to best convey your intention and feeling in each song. This takes courage to do in a group, but I promise we will set up an atmosphere of safety and support whatever your self ascribed “level” of songwriting prowess. This comfort zone is essential to our success as a group working together.

We will work in a circle and pass the guitar or the instrument around the room and listen and offer ideas. If you don’t play an instrument, we’ll start with whatever words you have to begin with. Don’t let that stop you! I will field questions as we go and give illustrations from my own songs or yours as examples of technique and possibilities. We will work on writing within form and stepping out of form to write. We will look at constructing bridges if they’re called for, how to write melodies that are original and natural, how to pare lyrics down to the essence, and how to phrase lyrics so they work naturally with a melody. Class participation is welcome!

If you take more than one class, we can work together on a new song or continue to refine what we’ve started in an earlier class. There’s something for all of us to learn every time someone brings a song into the circle. BRING YOUR SONGS-FINISHED OR NOT!!!

Packaging Your Song

Joe Craven

There are many ways you can package a song; genre/style, instrument choices, different arrangements, etc,. “Producing” a song can make a great song fall flat or make a mediocre song a mega hit! Take a traditional song and make it indie pop; take a brand new song and make it sound 100 years old. Looking at things differently is part of a long, grand tradition in Folk Music. Bring completed or partials of songs and let’s have a great time playing dress up with those awesome ideas of yours!

Improvisation: In The Moment and Without A Net

Joe Craven

How do you jam confidently with folks you’ve never met, and/or say something different every time you take a solo? Instead of always preparing for the outcome, see the value of preparing for whatever may come! Joe teaches musical improvisation more from a theater model rather than the requisite model of jazz. It’s informally learned, so this is not an ability-based class. He connects improvisation to what you already do and moves you forward from there. The musical instruments for this class are within you, as much what you play upon. Don’t just think of yourself playing music; also think of yourself as music. The class will stretch you and may well change some of your perceptions of what music is. It’s a fun and enlightening romp!

Playing with sound

Adam Burns

As children, we learn most of our life skills by interacting playfully and recklessly with the world around us without worrying about doing the right thing. In this class, we will apply this attitude to songwriting. You will learn some activities designed to disrupt your established creative process, get you out of a rut and generate fresh ideas. This class will focus on melody, chords and rhythm.

Playing with words

Adam Burns

Many musicians use jamming and improvisation to come up with new musical ideas so why not try the same thing with words? In this class, we will apply the reckless and playful concepts from ‘Playing with sounds’ (not a prerequisite) to lyrics. You will learn activities designed to disrupt your established creative process, get you out of a rut and generate fresh ideas.

Writing songs for kids and Writing Songs with kids

Gail Dreifus

Gail will encourage you to get in touch with your inner child and write from a kid’s perspective .  Being silly, creative 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”  (GITC) 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 pencil, paper, and a sense of humor and wonder.

Two Truths and a Lie

Gail Dreifus

Have you ever written a song about a person you don’t know or an experience you never had?  This workshop will focus on the fictional part of writing.  We will practice writing from a perspective that is fictional to you.  Writing a song based only on your experience is easy; writing a fictional song can be more difficult.  Lets stretch our truths and write from a place we have never tried before. Our goal is to write a song or ideas that are compelling based on its own merits, true to the character of its performer or writer.   Can you meet this challenge?

Guitar Workshop

Will Morebeck & Billy Buckman

This workshop is for beginning and intermediate guitar players who want to take their guitar playing to the next level . We will cover:

  • Basic Struming – Learn to play in time.
  • Basic Fingerpicking – Introduction to Travis picking.
  • Capo placement – How to change keys.
  • Partial Capo – Create interesting melodies.
  • Duo Guitar Dynamics/Nashville Counting – How to perform with others.

General Music Theory

Mike Christner

Explanation of modes, intervals and scales as they relate to chord structure, concentrating on major and minor triads. Will include handouts and examples of each topic.

General Music Theory Continued

Mike Christner

A continuation of triad chord structure introducing dominate and major 7ths. Then relative minor chords leading to 6ths chords. Introduction to augmented and diminished chords, to include handouts and examples of each topic.

Bass Guitar Lesson

Mike Christner

A pre-scheduled one on one lesson explaining bass guitar anatomy, different playing techniques and selecting the right bass. Mode explanation and fingering grid construction. Major and minor chords. To include handouts. Suggested prerequisite: General Music Theory.

Mentor Sessions

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.