Workshop Descriptions

Getting from Good to Great (Sally Barris)
To me great songs include uniqueness, honestly, accessibility and engaging melodies. In this class we will start at the beginning with the creation and inspiration of songs. I will share ideas of how to stay artistic in a busy distracted world. Then we will move into the crafting and molding of songs and how to make them accessible to a listener. Lastly I will introduce tools to bring fresh melodies into your songwriting. In my songwriting journey I have learned that what is most personal is most universal. When we are share our unique window to the world we are giving our best gift!

New Ways to Write Different Melodies (Sally Barris)
From the magic of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” to the catchiness of any Beatles song to the grit of a Bruce Springsteen song, it’s clear that writing melodies is a vast frontier for songwriters. Some melodies are so strong in fact, that the lyrics seem secondary. In this class I will share helpful tools and insights into the mystery of writing a great melody. We will work with partial capos, learn new rhythms to play on our instruments,  we will explore how to write without an instrument and how rhymes can create melody.

Song Editing & Arranging  (Cliff Eberhardt)
We will explore how to arrange songs to put them in a concise form ready for performance and or recording. As a group, we will look at every part of the song from lyrics to melody, including solos, intros and endings. We will discuss production values, what instruments we hear that will enhance the overall sound of the song. We will work on the arrangement of the instrument that you play with your song. Please bring at least two printed copies of your lyrics and bring a song that you are willing to work on – not one that has already been recorded.

Writing Memorable Melodies  (Cliff Eberhardt)
We’ll start with a brief history of melodic writing and then show how to incorporate a melodic vocabulary into your songs, including what to look for to get out of melodic repetition. Bring in songs that are incomplete or songs that you feel need improvement, not songs that you are married to or have already recorded. You’ll be asked to start with just a verse and a chorus. We’ll talk about how to insert different chords and use different intervals of your existing songs to improve your melodies, how to make the songs have more memorable melodies, and how to insert intros, bridges and endings.

You’ve Got a Great Song – Now Let’s Write a Great Guitar  Part  (Cosy Sheridan)

The first notes of our song are often an instrumental introduction. If we are a solo performer with a guitar, we tell our audience a lot about the emotional tone of a song from the way we play the opening chords – or the opening riff.   A fully realized and confidently played guitar part can raise your song to another level.  Bring a song you have written  and we’ll look at what tools we might use to create a  guitar part that immediately engages the audience. We’ll learn some basic percussive right hand techniques; we’ll look at chordal riffs and see how we might incorporate the bass line into our rhythm part.  If we have time, we’ll look at a few songs from the Americana genre that have distinctive guitar parts – and see what we might borrow, beg or steal. Bring your guitar, a capo, a thumb pick and a flatpick.

Songwriting Games (Cosy Sheridan)

We often approach songwriting as very serious business. We take deliberate action: we look for just the right word and just the right phrase.  What if for a few hours it was just a game?  Here’s a chance to open the window and let a fresh breeze blow through.  We will use time-tested exercises designed to  loosen the grip of your inner critic, and help you find beginner’s mind. Bring your creativity, your instrument, pen and paper.