Songwriting Camp



Join Grammy-nominated folk musician and songwriter, John McCutcheon, for an intense, intimate songwriting Master Class at the historic Highlander Center in east Tennessee. Join other songwriting lovers for this remarkable event at an even more remarkable place. In between sessions enjoy breathtaking views of the Smoky Mountains, healthy, delicious homemade food, camaraderie, and visits to the Highlander library and archives.

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  • Four days of both the theoretical and hands-on practice of songwriting.
  • The first day will be an exploration of traditional music and forms: the most solid basis for creating songs & narratives that both move and last.
  • John’s “kamikaze” songwriting drill: how to write quickly and clearly for specific events and issues.
  • A survey of other writers and a deconstruction of their techniques: Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Guy Clark, Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Melvina Reynolds, Jean Ritchie, Bruce Springsteen, Stan Rogers, and others.
  • A workshop on song presentation and performance.
  • One-on-one critiques and “wood-shedding” with John.
  • Open-mic/sing-arounds each evening.
  • Q&A sessions with John.

John and the other participants created a space that was both safe and challenging. I grew so much as a songwriter! The natural beauty and rich history of the Highlander Center also played a key role in the learning process. A phenomenal experience! -- Kim, Georgia

"Bring your stories and breathe life into them--Highlander is the place to do it! In this inspirational
setting, John challenged us to become better songwriters, storytellers, and musicians--to contribute
to the movement in thoughtful, meaningful ways. All are included and welcome, no matter your
level of expertise."
-- Karen, New York