Secrets of Songwriting
“Spook, your workshop was fantastic! You are a wonderful teacher. You really know how to connect with people, meet them at their level and give them something they can use.”
… Patty Reese , Education Coordinator, Songwriters Association of Washington
There is a lot of songwriter instructors out there teaching wonderful techniques. This workshop is designed to cover areas that often get overlooked by most instructors. A “Secrets of Songwriting” workshop can incorporate any or all of the following areas:
*Creating the Story Behind The Song: Creating the story behind the song is a powerful start to writing a great song. A lot of the work in creating a good song happens before any lyrics or melodies are written. This workshop is full of techniques and exercises to help you find good ideas to write about, develop them into interesting and unique stories and finally turn them into a song.
*Creating Lyrics and Songs from Stories and Ideas: Let’s dig in! So, you have a great story or idea you want to turn into a song (or poem, story or speech). You even have a clear idea of what you want the song to say.If you could only find the right words with which to say it!This workshop will give you a wide variety of tools for finding the right words and will show you how to use them.You will learn about lyric pallets, the use of visual images and the effective use of rhyme, cliché, parallelism and contrast.
*What Makes People Want to Sing MY Song? Melody, Rhythm and Phrasing: Maybe you have great lyrics for a song, but the melody is weak. Maybe the lyrics say a lot but aren’t catchy. Why can’t you stop singing some songs but can’t remember others? The answer may lay the melody, rhythm and phrasing. This workshop will explore techniques that demystify melody writing, show you how to find natural rhythms that match the song and teach you how to make your songs easy to sing along with by using the right phrasing.
*People don’t Write Good Songs – They RE-WRITE Them: When first writing a song it’s often a good idea to be as creative and uncritical as possible. But, after a preliminary draft is written or even years later some OK or weak songs are ready for a little fix up that will turn them into GREAT songs. We’ve all heard that a great song is 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. This workshop will teach you where and when to use the critical aspects of the mind to polish everyday songs into rare gems.
Bring lots of paper, pencils and pens. Feel free to bring in your own song ideas or come up with new ones in the workshop. (Available as a TEENS ONLY Workshop or for the GENERAL PUBLIC)
“I’ve been to other workshops and the atmosphere at yours was so very positive which allowed me to really relax and get the most of it. I wasn’t planning on sharing my song, but now I am glad I did. It made me remember that our pursuits are more of a journey than a destination.”
…. Sherry, Washington DC
About the instructor:
Spook Handy has written hundreds of songs and performed over 2000 concerts in his 20+ year career. His songs have been covered by dozens of other artists including Pete Seeger. He has won numerous awards and accolades including “Best Folk Artist” by Upstage Magazine, Gannett New Jersey, The Courier News, The Home News and About.com.
Spook has recorded five CDs with his most recent, “Pete, Woody & Me, Volume I – Keep the Flame Alive,” released in June, 2016, currently # 3 on the International Folk Radio Charts. The song “Banks of Marble” from this CD reached # 3. His song “Vote” was a top 10 hit on Folk Radio in October 2008. Spook has also written music for theater and film.
Since 1985, Spook has organized and/or MCed over 1200 musical events including New Jersey’s longest ever running open mic, “The Spook Handy Show” which ran from 1985 to 2005. He has MCed “Freehold Idol” in Freehold, NJ and “Idol Search” in Little Falls, NJ. In that time, he’s seen over 3000 musicians perform, has heard probably 10,000 songs and has developed quite an eye for effective stage presence and good songwriting.
* Each discipline can be taught in a single workshop or a series; compacted to as short as 90 minutes or extended to as long as you’d like; or formatted in any other way to meet your needs.
* Workshops can be offered to the General Public or for Teen Only. “Teens Only” workshops are available in order to help create safe spaces and help build a sense of teen community.
* Private lessons are also offered
Book a workshop and attend for free!
Spook likes to accommodate those folks who would really love to attend workshops but have a limited budget. If you arrange for your musicians or songwriters group or any group to sponsor a workshop Spook would be happy to waive your fee. Contact Spook for more details.