bulletin for the Los Angeles area Workshop
By Seth Jackson
There’s a popular belief among a lot of songwriters that songwriting
can’t be taught. My own experience tells me that,with study and practice,
songwriting skills can be learned with dramatic results. Eight years ago,
I would go to pitch sessions at the Los Angeles Songwriter Showcase and
NAS. Week after week, I would experience both jealousy and indignant anger
as my “brilliant” songs were passed on again and again, while I watched
certain other writers get their songs picked up on a regular basis.
Determined to change that, I joined NAS, NSAI, and SGA, and I began
attending every songwriting workshop and seminar I could make it to. I
became a regular at Pete Luboff’s Monday night workshops at NAS as well
as NSAI’s Sunday workshops. I went to NSAI Song Camp 101 and 201
in Nashville plus the annual NSAI Symposium. Several years ago, the
Songwriters Hall of Fame offered a twice-weekly workshop, and I was a regular
at those. I attended Jai Josefs’ songwriting class, and I attended
Phil Swann’s Country Songwriting workshops at the Songwriter’s Guild.
Gradually, some songs of mine started getting picked up, with the “success
rate” improving over time. Songs started getting recorded on independent
labels. Now, when I go to pitch sessions, songs get picked up as
often as not. When I hear songs submitted by other writers, I can usually
guess which ones will get taken and which ones won’t. I’ve not only
improved my songwriting, I’ve learned to recognize what makes songs work
and what doesn’t.
Learning about songwriting never stops. The songs I’m writing
this year are better than the ones I wrote five years ago. We have little
control over the music business, but we do have control over our own learning
and improvement. The satisifaction of writing better and better songs is
its own reward.
March-April '01 Workshop Schedule
Thursday, March 8, 7:30-10:30pm - Songwriter Lineup at Hallenbeck’s
General Store, 5510 N. Cahuenga Blvd., N. Hollywood. Featuring
Jamie Houston. Performing in the Round are Arleen Nicastro, Dave
Girtsman, Chad Watson, Kelly Zirbes, Bruce Teitell , and Marty Martin.
Sunday, March 18, 4:00-7:00pm, Group Song Critiques at Musician’s
Institute. The song critique process allows you to receive feedback
on how effectively your song communicates to an audience. At the same time,
it helps you to develop the skills to evaluate your own songs, which helps
you to become a better writer. Bring a song to play live or on cassette
or CD, plus 15-20 copies of your lyric sheet. Lyrics only or music only
can also be critiqued.
Saturday, March 24, 10:00am-5:00pm, Pro Songwriting Seminar with
Jason Blume at Musician’s Institute. Hit writer Jason Blume will
lead this all-day seminar. Cost is $45 for members, $55 for non-members
if paid in advance, or $60 at the door. To register, make your check payable
to Craig Lackey and mail it to Craig Lackey, 1045 3rd St. #205, Santa Monica,
CA 90403. Song critiques will be offered with priority based on the order
in which registration fees are received.
Saturday, March 31, 10:00am-5:00pm, Pro Songwriting Seminar with
Craig Carothers. Singer/Songwriter, Producer, and Nashville Pro
writer Craig Carothers will lead an all-day seminar on songwriting and
the music business. Cost is $35 for members, $45 for non-members if paid
in advance, $50 at the door. To register, make your check payable to Craig
Lackey and mail it to Craig Lackey, 1045 3rd St. #205, Santa Monica, CA
90403. Following the seminar, there will be a concert featuring Craig,
Randy Sharp, and Phil Swann at Hallenbeck’s General Store, 5510 N. Cahuenga
Blvd. in North Hollywood, 8:00-10:00pm. The concert is free to seminar
participants, $10 for all others.
Thursday, April 12, 7:30pm - Songwriter Lineup at Hallenbeck’s.
Featuring Ken Hirsch & Friends. Writers in the Round are Judy Krueger,
Maria Butterly, John DiGrazia, Celia Pearce, Jeff Hodge, J.C. Hyke.
Sunday, April 22, 4:00-7:00 - Group Song Critiques at Musician’s
Institute. Bring a song or lyric and 15-20 copies of your lyric
Unless otherwise noted, workshops are held from 4-7p.m. at Musician's
Institute, 1655 McCadden Place, just off Hollywood Blvd. in Hollywood.
Admission is free for NSAI members,
$10 for non-members. For more information, call Craig Lackey at (310)319-9454
or email Seth Jackson at email@example.com.
Send your email address to Craiglack@aol.com
to keep informed of the latest workshop activities and last-minute updates.
Saturday, March 24 and 31, Songwriting Seminar Doubleheader with Jason
Blume and Craig Carothers. See workshop schedule
for information. Register for both seminars in advance and receive a discount
price of $60 for NSAI members, $80 for non-members.
Saturday, March 31, Hit Songwriter Concert, 8:00-10:00pm at Hallenbeck’s
General Store, 5510 N. Cahuenga Ave., N. Hollywood. Featuring Craig Carothers,
Randy Sharp, Phil Swann. Admission $10.
Jai Josefs, author of "Writing Music for Hit Songs" is
starting a new 8 week songwriting seminar at the SGA Thursday evenings
starting April 26th. For information email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call
Aaron at the SGA, (323)462-1108.
Los Angeles Area NSAI
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LOS ANGELES WORKSHOP VOLUNTEERS
TO GET INVOLVED:
send email to firstname.lastname@example.org