Finding Creative Lift-Off
We’ll look at using the scaffolding and energy of an already existing song to help us create a new song. If you’ve never written a song, this workshop is for you as well—this method can help you to write your first song. This class meets three times.
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 find that our deepest levels are found through play.
Guitar: Right Hand Riffs and Rhythms
We will learn some percussive right hand patterns and some moving chordal riffs in the left hand. And then we’ll sing! We’ll be focusing on getting the “feel” of the song.
On-the-Spot Songwriting and Writing on the Go
Learn how to use city streets, country curbs, public transportation and other community spaces to generate ideas, co-writing partners, and new songs. Master class where Rachel demonstrates on the spot songwriting and then students do it themselves.
Quick Writes and Cut-Ups
Learn how to quickly generate a song idea based on word play, images, and memories. In this class we’ll reference David Bowie’s “cut ups” concept for how to start (and finish) a song based on found poetry from found literature.
The rule of threes, balance of feelings and furniture in lyrics, using irregular lines and phrases for effect, avoiding cliches, and being yourself (the only path). Doug’s song class explores ways to add originality, spark, and flow to help your song grow from an idea to a finished shape.
Serving the melody, opening up and adding to the basic song form, chord substitutions, repetition is your friend, in and out of harmony, and get to the chorus! Doug’s influences and active playing life inform his song arrangements. Buck Owens meets The Monkeys meets CNSY meets a ton of fun at the clubs he plays with his wife Nancy and their band Bohemian Highway.
Double-stop guitar solos, less is more, building drama, leading tones and chords, movement can be melody.
Spoken Word—Personal Narratives
Art is medicine and this class will help access the creative world that lives inside you. Our personal narratives are the most profound entry we have into our psyche, the creative world, and bonds we share as human beings. Truth emerges when we write. And the more risks we take with our writing and exploration, the more we will connect with our creativity and the audience. The philosophy of “Tell Me More™” autobiographical spoken word “Depth Comedy™” teaching and creative work focuses on the A,B,C’s of self expression. Join Janet in being your Authentic, Brave and Curious self and dive into the power of autobiographical spoken word as a stand alone art form or as a vehicle to inspire your songwriting.
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home.” Twyla Tharp
Morning Stretch & Tunes with Troon
Start the day with Troon’s voice tuning and toning, and tuning your body too. Stretch your body and voice, wake up and warm up for an amazing day. 8:15–9am every morning (you’ll still have a half hour to grab breakfast).
Troon plays banjo, fiddle, guitar, so look for her “At Large” in camp, coaching and chipping in on songs. Another focus Troon presents with students is “Imaginary co-writers,” a fun way to break out of ruts and corners (break out session TBD).
Uke With LaDuke!
What do you get when you have a ukulele teacher that plays in a popular Beatles cover band? Beatles on Uke! Learn to play and sing several Beatles songs on your ukulele … make friends, be popular, succeed in business! From Dale’s Beatle brain to yours—explore songs, chords, and melodies on the uke using Beatles repertoire, and borrow tried and true tricks you can apply to your own songs-in-progress. Dale is also a fantastic keyboardist, accordion player, and guitarist available as back up band mate and coach.
Harmony Choir with Stan DeWitt and Dale LaDuke
Dale and Stan lead the camp Harmony Choir every morning at the Crafts Lodge. If you like to sing, this is for you. If you’ve never sung, this is for you. Learn special pieces with fellow campers, then perform them at Sunday night “Coffee House.” It’s a lot of fun, is theatrical, and is a yearly camp favorite. If you join the Choir, do all three sessions and the performance.
Song Finishing with Severin
An “At Large Coach,” Severin is an expert at taking songs through new paces to bring a song to life. Bring your half-songs and almost-finished-songs for final touches, bridge ideas, to shore up that third verse, try out a melody twist, and add a fancy chord to your chord collection.
Writing Down The Movies In Your Head
Songs can work like short fiction or short films. Explore the use of characters, place, dialogue, suspense, metaphor, and sensory details to put the listener inside your song, and the story in their head—like a movie. Write something from scratch using prompts, or use one of your own true stories—they all benefit from the same techniques.
Performance Tips and New Song Critiques
Bring your new songs, or any song you’re wanting feedback on, for a creative look. Perform it one-on-one with an instructor, to a small peer-to-peer group, or on the amphitheater stage to practice with a PA system. Get feedback on your half songs, new songs, and old songs, and get tips on performing them too.
Running the Basses
Accompany anybody on the bass after one class? Yes, it can be done. Bring a bass if you have it, or just a guitar if you don’t. If anyone coming to camp has a spare bass to loan to others, that would be great.
Have a Mac? Then you have GarageBand and you can record yourself on it.
Song Charts and Cheat Sheets
A lyric sheet with chords written above it only works if you already know how the song goes. What if you need a chart to give to someone, or to remember how your own song goes? We’ll address all this and more.
Mark is also the camp Guitar Doctor. Yes, he diagnoses and fixes guitars. (We believe he flies in from the east coast in a blue Gui-Tardis.) And Mark is a staple at our evening coffeehouse shows. Grab him for help on your song arrangements and/or tap him to be your backup band leader.
“Outta Your Comfort Zone”
How is writing a rock song, a reggae song, or a zydeco tune different than writing a folk song? Some quick tips and tricks will help you expand your musical palette and push the boundaries of your musical limitations.
Join Stan and Dale LaDuke in this year’s New Orleans-themed “Bourbon Street Choir.” There will be a natural “Second Line” dancing moment for the campers as the choir finishes off Coffee House on Sunday night. Bring an umbrella to twirl in the isles, or just sit there and watch other people do it. No rules really. Harmony Choir meets every morning at 11:30 in the Crafts Lodge. If you like to sing with others, this is for you. If you’ve never sung, this is for you. Fun, theatrical, and not too scary—strength in numbers. A highlight of camp every year!
Late for the train
Dave Pascoe and Laura Benson showed up at camp last year with no plan, and that plan worked very well. Catch their train! They’ll be coaching on fiddle, mandolin, guitar, duo harmonies, and arranging, writing, and performance.
Day Time Square Dance Tunes
Learn some pretty-easy-to-play square dance tunes on various instruments—fiddle, guitar, mandolin, banjo, and more. (BYO or borrow an extra instrument from teachers or students.) Be in the square dance band—or do the dancing! We’ll have a “Caller” for the daytime dance at camp. We can all fall down laughing together.
The Dynamics of Duos
With a Q & A on how duets work their magic, learn about the process of finding a harmony with a singing partner and the three-pronged approach to harmony, arrangement, and writing. Watch this dynamic duo weave their magic with harmonies, fiddles, mandolin, and guitar.
Watercolor Your World—Painting on the Lawn
Take an afternoon art class! All levels welcome and encouraged to explore art/painting. Play with the rhythm of the earth, gather inspiration from the pines and the Pacific. Using a variety of examples in water media, Linda will give personal guidance to nurture your creativity and listen to your own voice. Bring your own painting supplies if you have them—there will also be a limited amount available to share. Take home a work of art for your wall!
—Water color paints: “Reeves” brand 12 tube box—available at Michael’s Art Supply for about $10.
—Water color brushes: round #6 and 1/2″ flat. Water color paper: 140lb.