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Dar Williams Retreat

Do I need to play guitar or play guitar well to join? Are piano players or other instrumentalists welcome?

All instruments are welcome. We've had percussionists, xylophone players, keyboard players, banjo players and vocalists, too.

I'm nervous and have only played one open mic! How important is performance to this retreat?

Some people sit out for a couple of days and some never perform a song. We aim to create an environment where every songwriter will open themselves up to sharing what they are working on with at least one person, if not a small workshop, Dar or the entire song circle at night. Although we have working singer-songwriters who perform regularly out in the world and are comfortable doing so, we also have people like you who are nervous, new to the experience and excited to grow. It is important to note that this retreat is different from many others in that it really does come down to the actual songwriting, not the performance. This retreat strives to be a safe, nurturing and enjoyable week where competition disappears and where we focus on growing as songwriters while being supportive to others, wherever they are at on their songwriting journey.

What kind of songwriting supplies do I need?

We recommend a notebook for lyrics, a notebook for writing other thoughts (it can be the same notebook if you want), your lucky pen, and a simple recording device for ideas such as a cell phone, iPad or laptop.

Will Dar actually hear my song? Will we see her individually or as a group?

Dar will definitely hear your song! She will have a private one-on-one song consultation with each retreater during the week in which they can share their material. Dar will lead daily morning inspiration prompts etc., she will offer a deconstruction of one of her songs every day, and she will lead the evening song circle with the entire group. So yes – you will see her and she will hear you! In fact, she probably will have your name memorized by the first day!

Should I expect (am I expected) to write a song by the end of the retreat?

This is a retreat, not a boot camp! When something matters to us, we reveal it in our own time. The challenge is to find the words we want to say or the practice that feels like the right fit. For some, a deadline and a little pressure is helpful, but Dar is quick to point out that at least one of her songs took three years to write.