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Dar Williams Retreat

Songwriting Theme Days: Online

Songwriting Theme Days


Whether you have time for one or all five, these single day retreats are fun and illuminating! You can even GIFT these retreats to others **

  • Each day will begin at 10am and go until 5:00pm Eastern Time
  • Attendance will be limited to 20 attendees each day
  • The cost of each day retreat is $150
  • Just add the ones you want and then check out
  • All attendees will receive an invitation to a private welcome Mini Dar Concert on Jan 17th
  • For those that have not worked with Zoom, a tech specialist will be on hand to get you started

Dar will start each day with lyric prompts and a breakdown of one of her songs, after which there will be a time for writers to work on their own songs and/or court some inspiration. At noon, a guest artist will break down one of their songs, after which there will be a half hour for writing, lunch, stretching, etc. In the afternoon, we will continue to discuss songwriting by offering support and insight into *your* songs (the ones that you consider open to discussion). We'll look at as many songs as time allows, and if we don't have many participant songs to critique, Dar will discuss another one of hers! In the last half hour, we'll take some time to decompress and summarize what we've learned.

Payments for all retreats are non-refundable.

** In order to “gift” a retreat you'll need to do a separate check out. Please complete your personal retreat transaction and then come back to do a second order as a gift.

Sunday, January 17, 2021 to Friday, January 22, 2021

The Retreats.....

Every song is unique to itself and its writer. With each of these workshop days, we will spend time with the songwriting basics – how we start, how we develop, and how we can finish (finally!) our songs. From beginners to professionals, we can all benefit from being in a mutually respectful environment that’s based in the wonderful process of writing a song.

AND…each day we will bring in some extra insights based on what kind of songs we are interested in writing:

HISTORY - Monday, January 18, 2021

Story songs, even ones based on unchangeable, recorded facts, are told through plots and themes. To tell those stories, we want to really “go” to the place where it happened (even if happened in the future on another planet) and survey all we can in the scene. We want to take all that observation and see what really belongs in the song - sometimes a lot, sometimes a little - until the history feels accurate to us through whatever lens we’re telling its story. Guest Artist: James Keelaghan

NATURE - Tuesday, January 19, 2021

We feel a connection to a natural space, but how do we come up with fresh descriptions of it, and how do we give our descriptions a progression from beginning to end? We’ll use two tools in particular: one is observation with all five senses, and the other is to find characters and stories that move the song along: ourselves, our families, trees, hurricanes, the winds of time, civilizations, and, of course, evil developers (sorry…a little nod to John Prine’s “Paradise”). Guest Artist Beth Nielsen Chapman

POLITICS - Thursday, January 21, 2021

By all means, write a scorching screed! However, “politics” is really just how we turn the wheels of civilization, so another way to approach the political song is to reveal the patterns, mechanisms, roots and truths that exist beneath the daily headlines. Songs can often illuminate political themes better in ways that political pundits on the morning shows can not. So…scourge away, but our hard-earned political wisdom will also be a theme of the day. Guest Artist: Tom Prasada-Rao

SELF - Friday, January 22, 2021

I always wonder why people say my songs are “deeply personal”. They just feel like the truth about something, as if my Self were a place or story that I visited and then returned with news of what I saw. Often those personal songs are the most universal ones I’ve written—go figure! Let’s look at how we bring parts of our Selves into songs in ways that feel right for us and that matter to us (and often those around us). Guest Artist: Rachael Sage

LOVE SONGS - Saturday, January 23, 2021

So many different kinds of love and love songs! One tool we can employ is what I call the Sentimentimeter: how sentimental do I want to go here, not to mention how specific, physical, confessional? Love can range from admiration to passion, and you get to decide where in this range to locate your song as well as who you want the audience to be. Guest Artist: Lucy Kaplansky


updated: 1 year ago