This is our time to create songs from a place of freedom, flow and fun. Each day we’ll show up and allow ourselves to dip into the waters of creativity – we will listen, we will write, co-write, and we’ll mine ideas and marry together music and words. Using games and prompts, we’ll practice being in and writing in “non-edit” mode and see where each of us are led, play with our ideas, and open ourselves to inspiration. You’ll leave the class with a whole new outlook on your songwriting process, with new skills to help you grow as an artist, and perhaps, a new song to sing. Jump on in…the water is fine!
In light of all that’s going on in the world right now there’s plenty to write about. We’ll redefine the connection
between what is deeply personal and what paints with a broader brush in the realm of the human condition. Can
a song make a difference? Let’s start with chorus’s that soar, spirited conversation, current events, and everything
else you bring into our (en)lightening sessions. We’ll come away with the seeds for songs worth singing (if not the very
songs themselves) to inspire, engage, stimulate, and reach out in the spirit of Guthrie, Seeger, Reynolds, and so many more.
This class will be a safe place to try out your song. Maybe you’re still writing it, or you wrote it last winter and you’re not sure if it’s done. Bring that song that keeps hitting the wall in the middle of the 2nd verse; or the chorus that won’t get along with any of its verses. Each day we will listen to each other’s songs and help each other move our songs forward – with compassionate listening and feedback. We’ll talk about songwriting, too – how do we start some new songs, or finish older ones. Come to listen or come to sing – everyone is invited.
As we journey along our road as a songwriter, we might find that we develop grooves in the blacktop: habits of how to start a song, and how to develop it. Here’s a chance to open the window and let a fresh breeze blow through your songwriting vehicle. We are looking for beginner’s mind, and maybe a little surprise. What if we approach our songwriting as a game? This class is about loosening up, and removing our critic from the playing field. We might discover that some of our deepest levels are found through play.
An architect wouldn’t put up a building without a blueprint. Start to finish, Mark will take you through the whole process sequentially through the week ~ answering the basic questions before spending time and money: Play and sing at the same time or not? Record to a click or not? How to record simple demos at home first to answer the above questions. Have other musicians present at the first session or not? To have a producer or not, practicing routines, etc. Mark will go through everything you can do before you take the big leap. Then comes a discussion of several recording and production techniques – the pros and cons of click tracks, singing separately, overdubbing musicians, etc. Without a plan, you might be painting yourself into a sad-sounding corner. Mark will cover several possible scenarios, with lots of examples. Recording vocals from A to Z, editing, mixing, and mastering. This is a masters degree in five days from a highly seasoned and transcendent music maker.
Never written a song before? Brimming with ideas that are all dressed up and no place to go? No ideas at all? Let’s roll up our sleeves together and start at the beginning. This all-levels class is geared especially towards those who are new to the craft but also to those who simply might like to strip down their own process a bit by looking through a different lens at this wondrous art form. We’ll write every day (I’m lyric-driven – I usually start with words and see where they lead me), brainstorm compelling individual themes worth writing about, examine the different elements that make a song, and engage in lively dialogue/exercises/demonstrations on topics like sculpting inspiration, developing universal truths from personal stories, tackling tough subject matter, and being honest. We’ll also have fun in a safe, playful, supportive, permissive, and powerful environment and with any luck (luck: the intersection of opportunity and persistence) and as time allows we’ll get to hear some of these new creations during the week.
No better time in this world than now for some harmony! Join David and Glen in an all-levels exploration of singing together. This will include some basics on harmonic principles, locating the “wheelhouse” of your range, finding and holding your part, and singing fearlessly and whole-heartedly. We’ll explore 3-4 parts on as many songs as time will allow, and through our practice will start to train our ears to find our “place in the choir”.
Master musician, engineer, and SummerSongs staple Mark Dann will again offer his mid-day variety of different one-time classes which will include guitar setup and adjustments, basic chart writing, learn how to accompany anybody on the bass in one class – even if you’ve never held a bass in your hands before – and Garageband 101 (Mac users). Come to any or all!
Perhaps the most powerful word in the songwriter’s toolbox is “I”. When I sing what I write in the first person, I make a statement that is at once personal AND universal. Come discover this voice through prompts, exercises, writing a chorus that soars, and spirited exploration of lyric, melody, chord progression, rhythm, and point of view – yours!
Maura has been singing for audiences since she began staging her own shows on the back steps at the age of five. She’s been perfecting her stagecraft ever since, and her adult life has been spent traveling the US and Europe. She’s always shunned tricks and gimmicks, focusing on making her listeners feel the depth and breadth of a song as deeply and passionately as she does.
To help you do the same, Maura will show you how to overcome nervousness before and during the performance, establish and keep a connection with every listener, and portray the kind of confidence that draws the audience in. Maura uses relaxation techniques, meditation, a panoply of stagecraft tips, and positive constructive feedback to show you how you can put your song across in the most effective way.
You love the songs you sing, so overcome the obstacles that block you from showing that love to your listeners! Come prepared to play one song for the group.