Tuesday, April 01, 2008

WAJ - Better late than never!

Yes, Write About Jesus was Saturday and it's now Tuesday, but I really haven't been on my computer all weekend. Mom and Dad left very early yesterday morning (we were all at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast at 6 am!), and I really just wanted to spend every minute with them. We didn't do a whole lot of 'activities' last week - just spending time together and chatting and going for walks and eating great food. They arrived safely home last night, and grateful prayers were raised.

I'm having my first quiet morning in weeks, and Dante is thrilled. He keeps bringing me chewed up balls and socks and other such treasures. It rained all last night, and the colours outside are cool and saturated. The air is soft and the birds are discussing the blessings of sunshine. And so, I get some quiet time to write.

Write About Jesus was an incredible day! Sue Smith does something wonderful with her workshops - she puts everyone on the same level. There is no separation of 'teacher' and 'student', or 'professional' and 'amateur'. Everyone is accessible; everyone's talent is respected. And because of that, you feel empowered and encouraged to share and learn.

This was my second workshop, so it was a bit of a reunion for me as well. Besides other WAJ people, I also met some Shoutlife and Song U folks.

My first workshop was Crafting Great Lyrics with Tony Wood, who wrote the lyric for "Shepherd of the Hills". The class was great, and after, I made a point of introducing myself. I was thrilled to hear that he was happy with my recording of "Shepherd". He said, "You were the right home for that song." How awesome is that?

Next I did Song Painting with Joel Lindsey. I'd heard great things about this class from several people, and I was not disappointed. He basically talks about using the words and notes to reflect the emotion of the song. The whole class was awesome, with detailed examples and exercises to do at home.

The class I was most excited about was Joel and Sue's Writing Musicals. It was only an hour, but I think it really could have gone on for half a day at least. There was so much information! The class was really well organized and very inspiring.

After lunch, Gerald and I hooked up and sat in on some song critiques. It's one thing to sit in on a great lecture, but it's another to watch these writers break down a song and make suggestions on improving it. The WAJ clinicians always have an eye to the market - "Where could we place this song?", "Who might record this song?" They're always open to saying, "So-and-so is looking for this kind of song right now. You should send it to...". WAJ is a great chance to get connected to the actual publishing and recording community, and I think we all appreciate that.

Our final workshop for the day was the Publisher Panel with Joel, Holly Zabka, and Rick Shelton. This was a great chance to look at the business of songwriting through the perspective of those pitching and selling the songs. Joel publishes, but as a writer, Holly is his publisher, so it was really helpful to see that writer-publisher relationship and learn more about that too.

They had 2 concerts planned for the evening, but we wanted to get in as much family time as possible, so we left early. This week is NSAI's Tin Pan South, so we'll be getting more than our fair share of concerts in the next few days!

No comments: