Songwriting Lessons and Workshops


My favorite part of being a musician/artist is writing songs.

Performing live and covering other artists is both a pleasure and in my opinion a necessary component of great writing. Covering songs allows a writer to see other methods and styles in addition to tried and true song templates. All of the great songwriters burrowed ideas from previous compositions. Paul McCartney wrote The Beatles ‘Blackbird’ from a Johann Sebastian Bach piece that he and George Harrison partly learned and would play at parties to impress the girls. The inspiration for Paul Simon’s ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water’ originated from a Bach Chorale to serve as the verse melody and after having writers block for sometime on how to proceed with the chorus,  the gospel style chord progression came to Paul while enjoying an album from a  band called The Swan Silver Tones. The lyrics for the chorus, ‘Like a bridge over troubled water -I will lay me down’ came to Paul while taking in a live show as the lead singer was scat singing  ‘I’ll be a bridge over deep water if you trust in my name.’

Writing a song is a combination of being inspired from other works, while using your imagination, interpretation and personality to make it your own.  As you can see, there really is no magic wand when it comes to writing songs. If there is any magic at all it comes when the stars align and inspiration strikes in a way that floods you with creativity. But to increase the number of those inspired moments,  an artist needs to write as much as possible to hone his or her craft. If you only drop the hook in the lake for a few minutes, chances are you wont catch many fish.

I have been writing songs for over 25 years now and have learned quite a bit through trial and error, music theory and studying other artists styles.  When I first started writing songs, I wasn’t sure if the song would be well received and many songs wouldn’t stay in my catalog for more than a few months before being discarded. At this current stage in my writing, I have a very high success rate of recognizing which songs are keepers before ever performing them live. This doesn’t mean I don’t throw out 80% of what I write; I simply have a better sense of when a song has all the right pieces.

I believe one of the greatest ways for a person to have meaning in their life is to provide something of value to their community. It would give me no greater joy than to share my songwriting experiences and methods with other songwriters, from beginners to seasoned veterans alike. The great thing about writing is that ideas and shared experiences are of value at any phase in an artist’s development.

If you are interested in working one on one, I would love to work with you. I will also be holding special quarterly workshops at the Troy Arts Center of the Capital Region. The black box theater has a capacity of 100 seats and a special guest songwriter will perform a short set.

Please feel free to contact me with any questions at via email or call me at 518 369 2150.

Here is wishing you continued inspiration and passion!


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