Songwriting Workshop / by Michelle Cowan

Believe it or not, I had never been to a songwriting workshop before this year.  I've written songs with others, read books, and done a lot of self-teaching.  But this experience was different.  I knew it would be.

The past year has been filled with classes and learning.  I realized that, if I want to get anywhere in the music business, I will have to be at the top of my game.  And that means getting better at anything I'm already good at, like singing and playing the piano.  I'm usually very focused on developing totally new skills and learning brand new things.  However, the people I see who are successful take what they excel at and focus on making that part of themselves the best it can be. This realization led to me signing up for voice and piano lessons again, not to mention a few audio engineering courses.

A fellow songwriter friend, Monique Grezlik, and I drove to New Braunfels and spent two days luxuriating in our craft.  The workshop was led by Susan Gibson, best known for her song Wide Open Spaces, performed by the Dixie Chicks.  Let me tell you, she has dozens more that are equally fantastic.

Anyway, the simple act of setting aside an extended block of time for my craft made all the difference.  I wrote a new song, worked on others, learned new exercises to get the creative juices flowing, and met fellow songwriters who I hope to be friends with for many years.  Some co-writes are guaranteed after this adventure.

I want to encourage you all to set aside a big block of time for you to work on whatever your creative passion is. A couple hours here and there is fine, but a full day devoted to your craft yields serious results.  I liked having the time structured and guided, and I certainly took breaks. But the main thing is that I made the time, and the muses showed up.  If it happened for me, it can happen for you.

I posted a video of a recent song I wrote called This Time. I didn't write it during the workshop, but I performed it in a show afterward. Head on over to my new Video page to check it out and enjoy!

Go creative energy, go!