The Sessions

{Note: I choose to call what I do “sessions” as opposed to “lessons,” because the nature of songwriting is collaborative, with each learning and drawing from the creativity of the other. My role is that of mentor, collaborator, and producer of their art. I do not refer to the members of my studio as “students” but as songwriters, musicians, artists, and co-collaborators.}


What a songwriting session looks like…

A great deal of my artistic and professional life is spent writing poetry, novels, and short essays—lyric writing is pinnacle to me, and the first place we begin in sessions. We delve into the process, style, and structure behind lyric writing, using songs from the greats as examples to demystify the process. After that, we begin to explore what the songwriter might want to write about and begin to form their song into loose verse and choruses, expanding and honing the ideas as we go, introducing ideas for melodies and possible chord patterns, until the bones of the song begin to settle and other instruments and harmonies and layers can be added. The process is pretty fluid, as each songwriter engages with their creativity in their own unique way.

It’s a slightly different process for the musicians who lean more towards traditional composition. Depending on their musical background, the first lessons will lean more heavily into theory, rhythms, notation practices, ear-training, orchestration, and voicing. When the musician is confident in their ability to transcribe their ideas onto the page, we dive into song structure and experiment with instruments and voices, shaping their melodies into a coherent form. When the song/piece is complete, the musician will have the option of recording their song at the loft, and be able to leave with a track to show and share.

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The Songwriters

Check out their work.

During the week, I continue to collaborate with the songwriters, listening to their audio clips, giving feedback on new melodies and lyric development. When I teach students online, the process is similar—we meet over Skype for regular sessions, and send tracks and ideas back and forth between sessions. I love to teach in this way, because I get to mentor my musicians through every step of the process and help them find their creative flow—it’s stunning to watch them go from being unsure about their potential, to becoming confident in their craft and their ability to do more than they’d thought was possible—it’s even more incredible to watch that idea permeate everything.

I’ve been teaching piano and ukulele for years, and have experience with guitar, basic percussion, orchestration, singing, and performing. The songwriters who wish for specific skills training on their accompaniment instrument (beyond ukulele and piano) take lessons with other teachers for their specific instrument. The student may come into the sessions with any instrument, as the nature of these sessions is mentoring and collaborative and my degree has provided me with a general knowledge of many instruments and orchestration.

As the studio grows, I will be offering group lessons (see below), collaborations between the songwriters, sessions with guest artists, sessions for recording and sound-mixing, and additional theory/composition classes.



Group Sessions

A crucial part of becoming a better musician is belonging to a community of musicians. In addition to weekly lessons, these group sessions will be available starting mid-semester. In these sessions, students will collaborate, perform, and learn side-by-side. They are divided by level and experience where appropriate and will change the focus of study throughout the semester based on the goals/interests of the musicians. Frequency and rate to be determined.

  1. Open Mic

The purpose of the Open Mic sessions is to give the songwriters a chance to hone their performance skills and get feedback on their work from their fellow songwriters. This is the perfect supportive environment to learn to master one’s focus, collaborate with other musicians, get inspired, and connect with the audience. Through this class, musicians play for their fellow songwriters, gain friends and confidence in their abilities, and the added motivation and discipline that comes from performing for peers on a regular basis. 


II. Theory

Learn how to recognize complex rhythms, chord progressions, and keys. Become more empowered as a musician to write in notation and grasp the patterns behind the notes on the page. Through this class, the songwriters will strengthen sight-reading and ear-training skills, break-down keys, and gain a deeper understanding of the logic and language of music.  

Recommended for those pursuing composition.


111. Recording & MIxing

These sessions will be exploring basic techniques of recording, layering, producing, and mixing, so that the songwriters in the studio will be equipped to record their own tracks at home. The musicians will be recording each other’s work, producing, collaborating, and learning how to spark off of each other’s creativity and ideas, and how to troubleshoot home-based sound setups.

You might just meet your next bandmate here.



(The rate & frequency of these sessions TBD in part by number of participating students)

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