Creating music in good company

MCMA songwriting workshop an opportunity to build skills and connections

Songwriting is often viewed as an essentially solitary activity. On Nov. 17, the Manitoba Conservatory of Music and Arts (MCMA) will host a workshop which can help to change that. The MCMA’s songwriting workshop will be led by singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and MCMA faculty member Lindsey White.

MCMA community services co-ordinator Jacqueline Wellwood says the workshop is open to anyone interested in songwriting, regardless of their musical background.

Singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and MCMA faculty member Lindsey White // Supplied Photo

“It’s not for a specific instrument,” she says. “It’s not for a specific level of musical playing, so anyone can come, no matter what instrument you play, if you’re a singer, or even if you don’t play an instrument and you’re just curious about the process, you can attend.”

Wellwood says the workshop is great for beginner songwriters who don’t necessarily have a lot of songs under their belt yet.

“This would be like an introduction to the fundamentals of music creation,” she says.

“It’ll be working from the ground up. It wouldn’t be the same as a songwriters circle where people might bring things that they’ve already created to share. The creation is going to happen in the room together.”

Local singer and songwriter Kenzie Jane says songwriting workshops are not only a way to develop songwriting skills, but also to nurture friendships with fellow songwriting enthusiasts.

“This summer I had the opportunity to be part of a Manitoba Music songwriting retreat,” she says.

“Making connections with other songwriters and musicians has been important in helping me grow as an artist. If I am going through a season where it feels hard to find inspiration, I now have a group of friends who I can go to for inspiration, and we can collaborate and help each other create something new and beautiful that we might not have been able to accomplish on our own working and thinking as individuals.”

Wellwood says the workshop is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what the MCMA can offer those interested in all aspects of songwriting.

“We have Lindsey on faculty here so she can coach songwriting with people one-on-one, and then we have a few other songwriters,” she says.

“We have Sheena Rattai, who is a member of the local band Red Moon Road, on our faculty and Heitha Forsyth, otherwise known as Sol James in the music community. All three of them are quite experienced songwriters and would certainly be able to do lessons in that. We also have Anatol Rennie on our piano faculty, who is currently working on a composition masters ... so he loves working with students on improvisation and composition.”

Kenzie Jane says that learning songwriting can be emotionally, relationally and professionally beneficial. She wishes it was more widely accessible.

“Writing has always been there for me when I needed to process experiences whether they were good or bad,” she says.

“Writing is an outlet that has allowed me to express my emotions in a healthy way and get through difficult times as well as wonderful times. One of my dreams is to be able to offer workshops in schools for all ages in hopes that writing can become an outlet for the youth as they navigate life and the experiences they have.”

The MCMA songwriting workshop with Lindsey White takes place Nov. 17, 1 to 3 p.m., in Bryce Hall on the University of Winnipeg campus. It is free to current MCMA students and $10 for the general public. Kenzie Jane’s EP, Love Me from Scratch, can be found on Spotify and iTunes.

Published in Volume 73, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 15, 2018)

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