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School of Song

Songwriting Workshop with Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards)

Songwriting Workshop with Merrill Garbus (of Tune-Yards)

Regular price $160.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $160.00 USD
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In Merrill Garbus’ (of Tune-Yards) songwriting workshop, we will begin with understanding that songs are not just something that are written, but something we open to, access, and experience with our whole bodies. We will treat songwriting as “song-opening,” an active expression of creativity, and a way to try and make sense of everything wild, heavy, and ineffable in the world. Rejecting the idea that there is only space for one type of songwriter, we welcome any and all, including creatives who have never written a song before, and seasoned songwriters and musicians who want a glimpse into Merrill’s process.

With this in mind, we will learn from Merrill about her process. Some of the topics we’ll cover include:

  • Using the voice as the portal to the song, exploring how starting a song from voice, without an instrument in hand, can free up the songwriter to be open to new ideas and expressions.
  • How taking risk, using adrenaline, and accessing vulnerability can allow us to create impact in both songwriting and performing.
  • We’ll explore the playground of groove to see where different rhythmic choices can take us, challenging preconceived constraints of rhythm.
  • We’ll learn to write lyrics by exploring “pregnant phrases,” generating words playfully and prioritizing their emotional sense, impressionistic character, and the imagery they evoke instead of their literal meaning.

You'll write 5 original songs using the techniques and perspectives Merrill presents in lecture.

Sign up now! Deadline is Saturday, February 24 at 11:59pm (PT).

Here's how it works:

  • Workshop is taught over Zoom. We’ll meet on Sundays and Thursdays for 5 total sessions: February 25th, 29th, March 3rd, 7th and 10th.
  • There are 2 options for class times: 11:00a-12:15p and 7:30p-8:45p PT.
  • Class time is broken up into song-shares (breakout rooms) and lecture with Merrill.
  • If you can't make class, you can still participate by watching the recordings of lecture (sent out after class).

Sign up with a friend to receive a 20% discount by clicking here. Note: no refunds on discounted order.

Here's a few words from Merrill about the course:

THERE IS A NATURAL SOUND
THAT WILD THINGS MAKE WHEN THEY’RE BOUND
IT RUMBLES IN THE GROUND
GRRR-AAA GRRR-AAA WE ALL FALL DOWN

- Me

The first Tune-Yards song I wrote was called, “Hatari,” and it felt like it forced itself through me, out of me, like a bubbling, roaring laser light beam. The best songs I’ve “written” are partly this kind of unknown force, but the other parts are unglamorous practice: time, repetition, honing new skills, becoming the best vessel I can be for the songs to come to me again and again.

This is my 20th year playing my own songs in front of people (I’m not counting teen bedroom songs played to myself) and although I don’t know any more than your other favorite songwriter, I do know some things. And I believe it’s a very cool time in the “industry” of music to reexamine everything that we think we know, to explore what bringing songs to each other can be, could be.

We will go through the portals of VOICE, GROOVE, and PLAY to find new songs in ourselves. We will RISK, and we will consider risky things.

Come one, come all: experienced songwriters who want to find some new, weird places you’ve never romped before, as well as those who have NEVER WRITTEN A SONG BEFORE but have the feeling that if you opened your mouth at the right moment, a song would be appear.

I can’t wait. - Merrill Garbus


FAQ:

Q: What musical experience should I have?
A: People across all musical levels will be able to gain something from the course. However, it will be helpful to be comfortable playing a few basic chords on any instrument of your choice.
Q: What if I’ve never written a song before? Can I still participate in this workshop?
A: Yes! As with any new skill, just starting is usually the hardest part. This workshop will provide the structure and accountability we all need to get started and follow through, for beginners and old guard writers alike.
Q: Will Merrill give me feedback on my songs?
A: Due to the class size, we cannot guarantee that you’ll get Merrill's feedback on your songs. However, our teachers are active on our song sharing platform and may leave comments on students’ submissions.
Q: I can't make the lecture times for some (or all) of the classes. Can I still participate?
A: Yes! We send out the recordings of lecture at the end of each class day, so you can watch the lectures on your own time.

If after the first class you feel the course is not a good fit for any reason, you are welcome to a refund on the rest of the course classes. We are unable to process refunds after the second class.

Questions? Email us at hi@schoolofsong.org.

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