Teaching songwriting … in Nashville: Linda McRae opens her home
If you read Linda McRae’s weekend series about teaching writing in prisons, you might’ve found yourself strangely jealous of the inmates at New Folsom over their access to such an obviously great creative experience. Well, the good news is, you don’t need to cross the border and commit a felony to gain access to Linda’s talent as an instructor. She and her husband, James, are hosting workshops in the far less institutional confines of their Nashville home. She tells us all about it here.
Last year, James and I made the drive from Nashville up to beautiful Haliburton, ON, where I was teaching a songwriting class at the Winter Music Camp there. I was so energized after it was over, I realized how much I love sharing the things I’ve learned as an independent musician throughout my career. On our drive home, James and I got talking about how the tourist industry in Nashville is booming right now, and as hotel prices are through the roof, we thought, “Why the heck don’t we have folks come stay with us for a few days, and I can work with them one-on-one on their songwriting, and we can show them around the city?” Nashville has much to offer, with its rich and colourful history, its music, and of course, good old southern hospitality. That’s how Nashville Home Workshops was born. Here’s the spiel. Thanks for checking it out, and hope we see you in Nashville sometime.
Teaching songwriting in prison Part 1
Teaching songwriting in prison Part 2
Teaching songwriting in prison Part 3
Linda McRae and James Whitmire are opening the doors to their funky Tennessee home, inviting aspiring writers to come study songwriting one-on-one with Linda and experience Nashville with Linda and James as your tour guides.
Included in your stay:
- Transportation to and from Nashville airport to our home
- Three day, four night stay
- Three hours per day of one-on-one instruction in songwriting and/or performance *see info below
- Breakfast and lunch
- One dinner at Loveless Cafe or equivalent Nashville live music venue
- One three-hour tour of downtown Nashville
- Accommodations: private room with studio space for writing
*One-on-one Instructional Offerings: Choose from one of the following 2 streams or a combination of both.
STREAM 1 – Songwriting with Intent: We are all connected, but we are also uniquely individual and have our stories to tell. Let’s explore ways to find your unique voice, mine those stories, and tell them in a way that will have your listeners think, “Wow, that song is about me!”
We will learn:
- How to unblock creative flow. Writer’s block? Bah humbug.
- Form: Do we need it? What is it for? What is a verse? Chorus? Bridge?
- Finish what you’ve started. Should I keep trying or leave it behind?
- Arrangement: “hooks”, intros and outros, verse chorus order, solos.
- Prosody: the relationship between music and lyric.
- Co-writing, learn ways to create a successful co-writing session.
STREAM 2 – From Light Bulb Moment to Stage Lights!: I have been performing on stage for 30 years, and it always amazes me how each performance can be so drastically different. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or have never been on stage before, we’ll take some time to help you feel comfortable and connect with your audience.
We will learn:
- Vocal techniques. We’ll explore ways to strengthen your singing voice, get “inside” the song and help take your listener on a journey.
- Practice time: How to organize your time.
- Stage presence: What is your style? What type of emotion are you trying to put across?
Organizing your set: key, tempo, content.
- Mistakes and how to deal with them.
- Performance tips: mic technique, overcoming stage fright, audience communication.
For more information and pricing please see https://lindamcrae.com/nashville-home-workshops
Hank Lukyn: “Linda is a phenomenal singer-songwriter and an awesome teacher! She was able to tailor the lessons and helped me flush out ideas while still preserving the songs’ meaning. Linda and James were very generous with their time and showed me some great music and restaurants around Nashville. I highly recommend Nashville Home Workshops for aspiring singer-songwriters.”
Harvey Lamb: “We were treated like visiting royalty. Linda and I sat on their front porch for the three mornings and were able to get a lot accomplished in the three hours per day – although the time went so fast it was hard to believe three hours had gone by. The accommodations were clean and comfortable, meals were delightful, and the hospitality second to none. This course is excellent value. I would recommend it to anyone looking to hone their skills.”