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Teaching songwriting to kids 

I started a new gig last week: teaching a songwriting class to middle-schoolers at Woodland Star Charter School in Sonoma.

Damn.

I can tell this is going to be a pretty serious ride. The wild hearts of 12-, 13-, and 14-year olds, trusting themselves to my, well, what? What they imagine to be my superior knowledge. And as far as nuts-and-bolts - crafting lyrics, melody, chord progressions, and so forth, sure, I know some stuff. I know a lot of stuff.

But that's not really the essence of songwriting, is it? The essence of songwriting is the essence of life, and as far as that goes, they know more than I do. I'm just a grown-up. I've been through the wars. I've got filters over my eyes.

I'm looking forward to learning from them.

Hosting a Drop-in Songwriting Class 

I've just been handed the baton by my buddy and soulful songwriter Wayne Haught: I'm the new host/facilitator of the Songwriters Sharing Circle, a monthly drop-in class at the Arlene Francis Center in Santa Rosa. If you're a songwriter, or want to learn more about songwriting, this is a great, low-pressure way to do it.

This is a chance to bring in songs you've been working on and get sympathetic feedback from fellow strugglers. It opens with a guest instructor. In the past we've had The Bootleg Honeys, Josh Windmiller, Saffell Sproul, and more. Each month we have a prompt to get your imagination jump-started.

The Songwriters Sharing Circle has been going on since March 2016 - I was a founder and one of the "official critiquers" for the first several months - and it arose from a closed songwriting group that had been meeting for a year. It's been a real cool deal, and I'm pleased to take over the reins from the sure hands of Wayne, who steered it true.

Wayne is now giving more focused 6-week songwriting classes, and if you're a writer in Sonoma County, I urge you to check it out.