COURAGE AND CREATIVITY
Writing songs has been one of great joys of my life, whether to tell a story, to find a way through some emotional difficulty, or simply to explore ideas and images with music, and yes, have some fun!  Songs come in all shapes and sizes and songwriters have endless different approaches and personal styes. For that reason, every workshop I do begins with a simple statement: There are no absolute rules.

Having said that, there are skills and techniques that can be helpful in crafting the song we want to write and finding the courage to create and overcoming the inevitable challenges we face both in getting songs started and getting them finished!

In my workshops, I draw on my own songwriting experience and that of great songwriters from popular music history to inspire creativity and help you get your songs out into the world.

For Groups or Individuals

Explore your own stories in song, or help someone else unlock theirs.... or just take your writing to the next level!

With in-person or online group or one-on-one sessions, we will work together to overcome barriers to creativity and unlock your stories and songs. Whether you have never written a song, have an idea for one, or are an experienced writer who wants to refine your writing and explore different approaches, I will work with you to bring your goals to life. I can't promise a hit song, but I will bring all my skills and experience to your project/songs to help you get them ready for the public, large or small, that you have in mind. I have worked with many songwriters and groups of songwriters over the years, and many groups of new writers, at festivals, in schools and through programs like the Ottawa Blues Festival and Blues-Sur-Seine Festival community engaegment. 

“Rob is not just a songwriting instructor, he is a student of all things songwriting and an organized, inspiring mentor to those musicians looking to find their own voice. Rob's deep roots in traditional music -  early jazz, folk, and popular - allow him to present examples across a range of genres and chord structures that appeal to a wide range of musicians and their varied tastes. Both times that we have had Rob teach courses, he has been clear, organized, and supportive with rave reviews from our students, many of whom have studied with some of the best songwriters in Canada.” 
Thom Lambert, Director, Halliburton Folk Camp

"May I go on a little about my songwriting stream?  As you may know, I am not the most accomplished guitar player, in fact, my goal is just to bang out some songs for campfires with friends, so, it would seem that the campfire stream would be just up my alley, however, I had enjoyed a course with Katherine before covid, and wanted to challenge myself.
I was extremely nervous, it was waaaay out of my comfort zone, but I took a deep breath and signed up for songwriting...and I am sooooo glad I did.

"Rob did not waste a minute...in the course of 5 sessions, we wrote a collaborative group song, were given the opportunity to write 3 songs after being given 3 different prompts, and a further song collaboratively with one other person. In between, Rob gave examples of songwriting, he talked and played his guitar to demonstrate his point.  He is super knowledgeable both about songwriting, songwriters, and about the history of songs.  I could listen to him all day.  But we also had to make time, to listen to fellow course members play what they had written. What Rob managed to bring to bring out in these fellow musicians was incredible.
Rob provided a safe space for us to share, and when we played, he really listened, using his guitar upside down on his lap as his table to take notes...and his feedback was valuable...not just "that was great" but rather, I liked the way you juxtaposed that line over...or you really brought out feelings in that line...etc.
He gave so much of himself.  And if we didn't write a complete song, he gave us ideas to continue the songs we started or he picked out the lines or feelings to go further... I learned so much and I am so inspired. I can't say enough good things about Rob and my experience in the songwriting stream, 
lalalalala,
Val"