Nashville Songwriters Association International's Songposium 2005
I recently attended the Nashville Songwriters Association Internationalís (NSAI) Songposium Week, July 25-28, which featured some 120 classes taught by dozens of the very top teachers and instructors in the nation. The event was coordinated by NSAI staff member Alicia Jones and crew, who did an excellent job in planning and coordinating the event.
9 a.m. Monday morning, I began the plunge into this intensive four-day songwriting adventure with an inspirational class taught by one of my favorite songwriters, James Dean Hicks, along with D. Vincent Williams. Not a bad way to start the week.... Hicks and Williams taught us about the blocks that songwriters may tell themselves, such as thinking, "I can't play writer's nights because I can't play guitar good enough," and other negative thoughts. It was refreshing to know that other songwriters, even top pro writers, have these self doubts, but better yet to recognize the negative thoughts or "I can'ts" and work on changing those thoughts into "I Can."
Next, I attended Marc Alan Barnette's "Practical Application for the Performing Songwriter Boot Camp" workshop. I knew this would be a good one and it was. Barnette's a great songwriter, and one of the best performers around. If you have a chance to take a performing class with him, I would grab the opportunity.
My next stop was attending Rick Beresford's workshop on "Emotional Writing." I've attended Rick's seminars in the past at NSAI's Songcamp, so I knew this would be an excellent class, as well. I also attended his workshop on message songs and both seminars were first rate. Rick also offers a song critique service, which I've used and would highly recommend.
Bob Dellaposta's workshops on music publishing and how to actually earn a living writing and publishing songs was indispensable, as was Mike Doyle's class on getting your first publishing deal. Phil Goldberg taught a few classes which I also found informative and fun.
I knew I certainly could not go to Songposium without taking a class by one of my all time favorite pro songwriters, Hugh Prestwood. It was definitely a highlight of the week, and I always learn something from this master of songwriting.
Steve Seskin's workshop on "Inspiration and Where do Songs Come From" was a fun and informative workshop. I've attended a few of Steve Seskin's workshops and always learn something from him. Patti Ryan's classes, "Top Five Secrets of the Pro Songwriters" and "Finding the Center of Your Song," were also exceptional. Ryan will be coming out with a book in the near future, which will cover some of the topics she taught in her workshop.
One of my favorite performing songwriters and guru,Jana Stanfield, shared helpful tips on performing and selling CDs live and online. And Pete & Pat Luboff's, "12 Steps to Building Better Songs" was a fun, interactive workshop in which everyone in the class has an opportunity to join in and shares their ideas to create a song during the class.
There were many classes that I wanted to take taught by prowriters and/or songwriting gurus Jason Blume, Kelley Lovelace, Danny Arena, Sara Light, Jerry Vandiver, Gracie Hollombe, Barbara Cloyd, Nancy Moran, Fett, Kim Copeland, Susan Tucker, Gary Talley and many more, but the times conflicted.
Some of the other classes offered included "Do's & Don'ts Of Music Row (Or How I Finally Landed A Staff Deal)" "Extreme Makeover For Your Lyrics" "RE-writers Block" "What Publishers Really Want In Songs & Writers" "Co-writing - How To Get The Most Out Of Each Other" "Getting Noticed At Writers Nights" "The Song 91 Theory" "Setting Up A Home Studio [With Minimal Expense]" "Write Charts Like A Pro Using The Nashville Number System" -"Harmony Singing By Ear" and many more.
Tuesday-Friday nights (July 26-29), NSAI held a series of special concerts at the Bluebird Cafe featuring pro writers playing their hits (and a few new songs that will be). I attended two of the shows and both were fantastic. Tuesday night's early show featured pro writers Kelley Lovelace, Lee Miller, Dave Tumbull and Connie Harrington.
Prosongwriting greats Hugh Prestwood, James Dean Hicks, Steve Seskin and Skip Ewing performed at the Bluebird on Wednesday night. Aside from hearing some of my favorite songs, I always enjoy the banter between the prowriters. Watching Skip Ewing tune-up while Hugh Prestwood was performing was a highlight of the evening! It was all done in fun of course and made for an unforgettable experience!
My last night was Thursday (July 28), when I attended NSAI's World's Largest #1 Party (and meet & greet), sponsored by Regions Bank and held in the parking lot of NSAI's new home at the Music Mill. Aside from opportunities to mix, mingle and help, NSAI honored the best of the best from the past couple of years. Those who attended were treated to an open bar, a free buffet, and plenty of great music. All in all, it was a great way to end an unforgettable week at NSAI's Songposium. If you ever have a chance to attend Songposium, or any of NSAI's events, including Spring Symposium and their songcamps, I'd highly recommend it.
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