“This year, at The Swannanoa Gathering, a friend of mine asked why I liked Steve Seskin so much. I was taking two of his week-long classes. I told her, first, I like the man. Second, I love his songs and third, he is a great teacher. After she'd spent the week around Steve I asked her if she wanted to ask me that question again … She just laughed and signed up for this retreat."
-- Bruce Johnson
Join Grammy-nominated songwriter Steve Seskin, one of the most sought-after songwriters and teachers in the U.S., for a weekend that will change the way you look at songwriting. Although Steve’s major successes as a writer has been in Nashville, he writes in all genres and teaches principles that can be applied to any kind of songwriting.
“Our job is to make people laugh, cry, feel, think or sometimes just want to get up and dance. Songwriting is a combination of magical, touchy-feely stream of consciousness moments and a hard-work analytical process that isn't nearly as much fun but just as important,” says Steve, who has had seven #1 hits. During the weekend, Steve will cover:
Point of View. We’ll explore eight different perspectives to choose from when deciding how your characters can best tell their story, and examine how to find the most powerful way to tell any story. We’ll talk about first-, second- and third-person and various combinations as well, and look into more complex ways to use perspective to bring out the most emotion in all your lyrics. I believe this is one of the most important lessons on the road to writing great songs.
Rhyming and Metaphor. Rhyming is our best friend but it's also our worst enemy since it makes it harder to say what we want to say. We'll look at inventive ways to use rhyme that sounds natural, not drawing too much attention to the rhyme and letting the listener concentrate on the content of the lyrics. We’ll also look at metaphor and figurative language and how they can deepen the emotional experience of a song.
Melody. I teach from a place of writing melodies for lyrics. Prosody is the marriage of music and lyric. We explore ways to determine if the overall vibe of the music feels right, and look at specific parts of songs in terms of choosing an appropriate melody that milks the emotion that the writer would like the listener to feel. There is an important word in every sentence. We’ll look at choosing accent places that stress the right syllables and help drive home your point. Music can actually change the meaning of a lyric when used to its fullest potential.
Writing/Rewriting: the Difference. Writing can more easily come from that dreamy/stream-of-consciousness place. Rewriting in many ways is a lot more tedious. Are you rewriting because the content is not serving the moment in the song, or is the problem the tone of how you present your idea? We'll also look at how to know when a song is done and the wisdom of sticking to the task versus putting a song away for a while and giving it a rest.
Steve Seskin has written seven #1 songs, including Grammy-nominated Grown Men Don’t Cry, recorded by Tim McGraw, and Don’t Laugh at Me, NSAI Song of the Year and Music Row Magazine Song of the Year. His other chart-toppers are No Doubt About It, For a Change, No Man’s Land, If You’ve Got Love, and Daddy’s Money, and he’s had other hits. Steve’s been recorded by Peter Frampton, John Michael Montgomery, Kenny Chesney, Collin Raye, Alabama, Peter, Paul and Mary and others. “Don’t Laugh at Me” was a finalist for CMA Song of the Year in 1999 and helped spur a tolerance movement.
For more on Steve, go to www.steveseskin.com.
Fee: $410 includes accommodations, five meals, instruction and consultation.
Optional two-day retreat: Stay Monday and Tuesday after the workshop to work on your own project; $175 includes six meals; two-person limit.
"Steve’s mastery of emotion and imagery in song is phenomenal, and one of his greatest talents is the ability to convey this to others. An exceptional teacher …”-- Brad Tisdel, director of The Sisters Folk Festival
“The music flows gracefully and merges convincingly folk, country, pop, soul, Southern-rock, Cajun and what used to known as the sound of L.A. – remember Linda Ronstadt, Karla Bonhoof and Jackson Browne? This may seem like too many styles but it really works.”
-- Review, acousticmusic.com