English Language Songwriting Workshops

Raven Dancing Music now offers intensive 2-6 day songwriting workshops for songwriters whose first language is not English and who seek to improve their skills in song writing and editing in the English language.  Students work closely with an experienced American singer-songwriter and producer in an intimate 'master class' environment.  This is where all students watch - and learn from - the lessons of each student. Classes are small and intimate with no more than 10 participants.  This guarantees each student receives a lot of attention from the instructor. All students participate by listening and discussing - together with the instructor - the strengths and weaknesses of each student's songs - and then suggesting ways to improve them.

All popular music styles are welcomed in these workshops (e.g. thrash, metal, hip-hop to folk, jazz, light pop).  Some poetic language tools (e.g. simile, metaphor, allegory, alliteration, persona, etc.) may be introduced or discussed by the instructor when appropriate.  However, most class time is spent studying first the perception of a song (the songwriter’s AND the listener’s).  Then the class explores ways to enhance the listener’s perception of the song with an emphasis on the lyrics.

Class sessions are typically held over two weekends.  Students come prepared with simple single instrument performances of 2-4 of their songs.  Songs must NOT ever have been studio recorded.  Students also bring 10 typewritten copies of their songs lyrics to share with the class.  Two songs by each student are usually reviewed in the 1st workshop.  Students then return on the 2nd workshop to share revisions to one of their earlier songs, and present at least one new song (ideally two) for more class work.

Calendar for upcoming lectures and workshops

Instructor Biography

Native American singer-songwriter AJ Rice studied guitar, composition, orchestration, recording production and audio engineering for 8 years at the University of the Arts, Philadelphia, completing Bachelor of Music studies in 1986 and then continuing with additional studies in composition.  Over the past 30 years, Rice has written, produced, conducted, recorded and performed classical, avant-garde, blues, funk, jazz, folk, pop, rock, world music and performance-art for recitals, dance, film, theatre and nightclubs in Oulu, Finland, Philadelphia, Aspen (Colorado), Los Angeles, New Mexico, New York and his birthplace of Anchorage, Alaska.  While composer-in-residence for Philadelphia’s DanceFusion in 1990, Rice recorded the soundtracks for the Emmy Award-winning film The Rest of Donna and Afterthoughts.  In subsequent years Rice directed, produced and participated in performances at New Jersey’s Walt Whitman Center, Philadelphia’s Settlement Music School and Group Motion Theater. AJ Rice has produced, recorded and performed with Philadelphia blues legend, Georgie (Gatormouth) Bonds, the famous Native American singers, Pura Fe and Ulali, internationally reknown composer/performer, Paul Winter, Native American Music Award nominee Mohawk cellist/composer, Dawn Avery, Cherokee flautist, Ron Warren, internationally beloved tenor saxophonist, Larry McKenna, jazz singer Jeannie Brooks and the brilliant pianist and composer, Tom Lawton.  Rice is currently developing a saxophone quartet for Thelonius Monk award winner Jon Gordon.  In 2010, Rice will tour for two weeks across Finland with his old friend, Georgie Bonds.


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