Lessons, Workshops and Talks
I've been playing music, writing songs, and organizing tours for a long time now, and I'm happy to impart any wisdom I have to offer on these subjects. This can take the form of one-on-one music lessons, coaching, workshops, or presentations to a larger group.
We can focus on any aspect of the craft, be it playing the guitar, singing, good performing habits, songwriting, etc., but my general belief is these are all things we can all do, and all of these skills benefit from each others' improvement. Approaching things holistically like that, rather than impeding progress by focusing on too many things at once, instead you just get better at everything faster, I've noticed. If you're a big fan of music and have the desire to play music yourself, you can go from never having picked up an instrument to playing one proficiently enough to sound good, and sing at the same time, in the course of ten lessons, with a bit of practicing in between each one. I think that's a fine foundation, and after that it's mainly about practice, and listening.
Lessons can be in person or by Skype. $50 per lesson or 10 lessons for $400, payable by Paypal, check, cash, etc.
If you're an aspiring professional or a professional independent musician but you feel like you could use some pointers, I offer personalized coaching on songwriting, performance, and on good ideas for how to get your music out there to a wider audience via the internet. If you feel like you've got a good shtick going as a performer and you have a good local audience, but you're finding it challenging to use the internet in ways that will help you get beyond that phase, I can help you! Just tell me a bit about yourself, give me links to your website, Facebook page, etc., and we can set up an appointment for a Skype session. (Same rates as lessons.)
Based on my pamphlet on PM Press, Sing For Your Supper: How To Write Songs, Play Music and Book Your Own Gigs
, I offer three workshops:
Songwriting Sometimes attending one workshop is all you need to spark the songwriter within that you didn't know existed. I will lead a workshop on the subject of writing a good topical song, and at the end of it I'll ask everybody to do their homework and send me the results. For most people, even their first attempt will contain recognizable kernels of brilliance for them to build upon, with a little guidance.
Guitar For people who already play the guitar but want to expand their musical horizons on the instrument I can teach any intermediate-level guitarists how to do all kinds of cool-sounding stuff in open tunings that they never tried before. But once they discover some good tricks, they'll keep using them...
DIY Music Biz And especially for those who have done some gigs and are hoping to do more of them, or are thinking about going that route, I offer a crash course on how to make a living as a musician on a do-it-yourself basis, by relying on your fans (and of course on your music itself – given away free online) to allow you to pay the rent, rather than relying on anyone in the music business per se.
A shorter form than the workshops, more for people looking for an overview oriented towards the general public, focusing on one of the workshop subjects, or a brief survey of all of three areas of focus.
History of the Troubadour
An overview about topical songwriting – what is this tradition, where does it come from, where else in the world does it exist, what has been its role in society generally and in social movements in particular, how does it relate to the modern music industry, past and present, and more. In this presentation I will mix in renditions of songs from different traditions and social movements, in between telling stories about topical music through the ages.
Costs involved with workshops and talks vary – just contact me if you're interested. If the workshop or talk is happening in conjunction with a concert in the area that always helps make it work out logistically, but there are lots of ways to do it.