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Songwriting Clinics

Can you really teach songwriting?  My fellow songwriting teachers and I get this question all the time…Often though, those who ask the question don’t realize that what they are asking is: Can you teach talent? The answer is no. You cannot teach talent.  But you can teach someone how to make the most of their talent. And that is what I try to do, either with my college students at Berklee, or in my songwriting workshops.

I’ve been teaching at Berklee College of Music for almost 14 years, and what I teach can’t make you famous or get you a record or publishing deal (if you even need one these days).  What I teach IS going to make you a better songwriter.  I believe in the craft behind the song.  What are elements that one has at their fingertips that will help the song be all it can be?  I think that when you develop craft as a songwriter, not only are you able to express yourself musically and lyrically in more effective ways, but you’re able to work through some of the harder aspects of songwriting like the dreaded writer’s block or second verse hell or losing inspiration, just to name a few.  There are techniques that you can learn to perfect that will force your Muse to come to you, even if she’s been avoiding you for days.  You’ll feel inspired by your environment, and it will speak to you in creative ways.  Once inspired, these songwriting tools will help you harness these creative thoughts and wrangle them into song form.

I’ve worked with songwriters, authors and poets, and there is a common language that all artists have in common.  That is: they usually access their creative world in three or four specific ways.  When these ways are blocked, the song doesn’t get written, the short story doesn’t get completed, the poetic lines don’t get on paper.  Over the years, I’ve tried to come up with a myriad of other access points to the creative, and this has helped countless writers find new ways to complete their work.

I confess I’m a songwriting geek.  I love listening to songs, talking about songs, examining what makes them tick, getting down to their skeletal structure to see why they work the way they do. In my workshops, we’ll dive into songs by established artists and also look at projects brought in by students in the class.
I think music might just be the greatest gift we have to share with the world.

Student Feedback

Mary Haller

A remarkable communicator and teacher… Whether you’re a beginner or a more advanced writer, you’ll walk out of her class with valuable tools that will improve your writing immediately.

Winner of 2011 ole/NSAI “Hitsville” song contest in Nashville

Recipient of Berkleemusic’s 2009 Paul Simon Celebrity Scholarship

Mary Haller Songwriter


George Woods

She opened me up to new concepts while helping me maintain my own artistic vision and has given me tools to continue to challenge myself throughout the rest of my musical career.

Winner – 2008 Boston Music Festival

Author of Heartbeat – Album &  Choreographed Modern Dance Rock Concert

George Woods

Peter van Vleuten

I’m grateful for the craftsmanship that she has helped me develop – but most of all: how she has shown me that eyes can light up when the craft of songwriting is really being put into practice.

International Singer-Songwriter – The Netherlands

Peter Van Vleuten

Songwriting Clinics and Workshops

No shows booked at the moment.