Come experience the creative fun of writing songs in a group setting! Students will brainstorm, write, edit, and finish songs together. We’ll study and jam on other folks’ songs, too. This class covers the concepts of story-telling, poetic imagery, rhyme, meter, and basic chord/music theory. We’ll also consider songwriting as a method to process emotions and life experiences. A continuation class is offered July 24-28 for playing and recording our songs!
Devon Sproule is a Canadian/American musician living in rural Virginia, raised on eco-villages near Kingston, Ontario and Louisa, Virginia. Since 2007, Sproule’s recordings have been released by Tin Angel Records, based in Coventry, England. She tours regularly in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, and teaches songwriting and guitar lessons when not on tour. Past releases have garnered praise from Village Voice, New Yorker, Rolling Stone, Observer, Guardian, and have featured collaborations with (among others) fellow Virginians Mary Chapin Carpenter and the late Jesse Winchester. The 34-year-old, in addition to being a musician, is a bird enthusiast, doula, and a student of Deaf Culture and sign language. She has been married to producer / videographer Paul Curreri for 11 years. As a teacher, Devon’s specialty is one-on-one “musical mentoring” for younger students, usually aged around 10-30. These lessons often take the form of informal conversation about a student’s current joys and pains in school, work, family, and relationships, and then an informal co-writing session that helps the student gather these thoughts into song. Guitar work usually goes hand-in-hand with these creative sessions. Lessons with older students are similar but are often directed by the student’s own goals. These adult lessons work to find a way to inspire and motivate the student to practice, progress, and have fun within the limits a busy schedule. Student’s looking for more traditional guitar lessons will learn new picking and strumming techniques through study of other songwriters’ material. Devon also offers guidance in performance and music business. In general, Devon’s approach is intuitive and revolving around ear and feel, though there can be some simple music theory incorporated as well. In addition to personal reflecting and storytelling, her songwriting lessons also include practical tools and tricks that she has developed over the years.
Matt is a Richmond, VA-native but spent a decade out in California teaching math and starting the rock band program at The Winston School in Del Mar. He is the longtime frontguy of Matt Curreri & The Exfriends, who have made five records and toured in America & Europe. Matt has taught, played, or arranged for guitar, bass, voice, horns, drums, and keys. Since moving back to Virginia, he’s been teaching at the Charlottesville Waldorf School, playing shows, and being dad to his very stubborn, stylish, shimmying daughter Harper.