Chautauqua Songwriting Workshop
Are you a songwriter or want to be one? Do you have songs you’ve written and want to develop further? Or, are you a music enthusiast that wants to know more about creating music? Join us for this special series of sessions during the Chautauqua Songwriting Workshop with songwriter/performer Jon Torrence and composer/performer Michael Shirtz as they explore the world of songwriting with a study on the elements of storytelling, lyrical and melodic development, expression and emotion, and creating various styles used in interpretation. Sessions include sharing songs, examining other’s work, studying foundational songwriters’ techniques, and master class performances and group writing sessions.
All are welcome to join the workshop regardless of music theory and performance level skills. The two days end with a recital of participants’ performance of songs developed and created during their experience at the workshop. Attendees may register for the entire workshop experience or individual sessions.
Monday, July 18: Hoover Auditorium Stage 9:30-11:30 a.m. What Makes a Song Individual Session: $12; admission to Lakeside and parking are not included in the individual session registration fee. Explore some of the great songwriters, their lyrics and music, and how their storytelling has made an impact on their listeners. Session includes various genres from folk, rock, blues, jazz, Broadway and more.
1-3 p.m. Exploring Lyrics & Harmony Individual Session: $12; admission to Lakeside and parking are not included in the individual session registration fee. Participants will explore lyric writing and how text provides basic harmonic functions in writing music.
3-5 p.m. Songwriting Techniques Individual Session: $12; admission to Lakeside and parking are not included in the individual session registration fee. Discuss songwriting techniques and learn additional ways to express the emotional content and storylines through your music with focus on harmony and advancing your melodies. Sometimes a song doesn’t need words. The story can advance in its own way through melody, rhythm and harmony. Challenge yourself to look at writing music without the lyrics and defining the meaning for the tune through musical expression and basic composition techniques.
Tuesday, July 19: Hoover Auditorium Stage 9:30-11:30 a.m. Group Writing Masterclass I Individual Session: $12; admission to Lakeside and parking are not included in the individual session registration fee. Participants will present songs they have written or are developing for each other and receive critique, thoughts from their peers, and explore new techniques and ideas to incorporate into their writing. Participants participating in the masterclass are encouraged to enroll in both masterclass sessions – but it is not required.
2-4 p.m. Group Writing Masterclass II Individual Session: $12; admission to Lakeside and parking are not included in the individual session registration fee.
6:30 p.m. Songs on the Plaza! Attendees perform their songs, or have fellow attendees perform their work in a relaxed recital on Walnut Plaza. All Lakesider guests are invited to bring their dinners to the Plaza and listen to the tunes created during the workshop experience. A great way for attendees to gather and celebrate their creative work.
Jon Torrence Jonathan Torrence is a Michigan-based singer-songwriter who writes music under the moniker the Native Heart. His early influences were jazz musicians and folk artists, so storytelling and feel have been at the forefront of his music from the beginning. After hearing artists like Jimi Hendrix, Damien Rice, Dave Matthews and John Mayer, he taught himself guitar as he delved into writing his own music. His music blends the worlds of soulful Pop, Americana, and Rock, all with a jazz influence. His belief in the importance of human connection is a main driver for his desire to share music and hopes that this resonates with whoever has a chance to listen.
Michael Shirtz A performer, producer, composer, and conductor, Michael Shirtz (ASCAP) is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary, and classical music, reaching out to audiences of multi-generations. Named a ‘songsmith’ for his vocal arrangements and song interpretation, Shirtz has worked as a performer and musical director with Maureen McGovern, Ellen Winters, Elisabeth von Trapp, among others, as well as leading vocal/song coaching for musical theater, commercial pop, college programs, and festival productions. Shirtz has written in the genres of jazz, singer-songwriter, and musical theater, including major works for chorus, orchestra, and narration.