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Chautauqua Songwriting Workshop

Featuring Jonathan Torrence & Michael Shirtz

Are you a songwriter or want to be one? Do you have songs you’ve written and want to develop further? Or, are you a music enthusiast that wants to know more about creating music? Join this special two-day workshop on songwriting with songwriter/performer Jon Torrence and composer/performer Michael Shirtz as they explore the world of songwriting with a study on the elements of storytelling, lyrical and melodic development, expression and emotion, and creating various styles used in interpretation. Sessions include sharing songs, examining other’s work, studying foundational songwriters’ techniques, and master class performances and group writing sessions.

All are welcome to join the workshop regardless of music theory and performance level skills. Attendees are encouraged to use built-in creative time on Monday and Tuesday to work on their material and writing techniques. The two days end with a recital of participants’ performance of songs developed and created during their experience at the workshop. Special focus on specific writing techniques will be included in breakout sessions. Attendees register for the entire workshop experience.


Deadline July 11

  • $125 (includes 1 gate and 1 auto pass for Monday & Tuesday)
  • $75 (for Lakeside Chautauqua Season Pass Holders)

Housing and meals not included in workshop registration. Hotel arrangements are made by attendees on their own. Lakeside Hotel Lodging includes continental breakfast. Lakeside has many restaurants to choose from for lunch and dining options.

Click Here to Register

Monday, July 18 Schedule:

9:00 a.m.          Registration/Check In – Hoover Auditorium Lobby

9:30 a.m.          Morning Session I: “Getting to Know You”:  
Welcome session and opening activities getting to know workshop participants. 

10:30 a.m.        Morning Session II:What Makes A Song”
Explore some of the great songwriters, their lyrics and music, and how their storytelling has made an impact on their listeners. Includes various genres from folk, rock, blues, jazz, Broadway, and more.

Noon                Lunch Break & Creative Time
Lunch break and time to enjoy Lakeside, work on music, and collaborate with other attendees.

2:00 p.m.          Lyrics & Harmony Sessions
Rotating through breakout sessions, participants will look at lyric writing and basic harmonic functions in writing music.

3:30 p.m.          Group Writing Master Class I
Participants are divided into two groups where they will present songs  they have written or are developing for each other and receive critique, thoughts from their peers, and explore new techniques and ideas to incorporate into their writing.

5:00 p.m.          Dinner Break & Creative Time
Dinner break and time to enjoy Lakeside, work on music, and collaborate with other attendees.

Tuesday, July 19 Schedule:

8:30 a.m.          Coffee on the Plaza (optional) or Creative Time
Opportunity for attendees to gather and chat on Walnut Plaza or work on songs.
9:30 a.m.          Songwriting Techniques I
Discussion on songwriting techniques and learn additional ways to express the emotional content and storylines through your music with focus to harmony and advancing your melodies.                        

10:30 a.m.        Group Writing Master Class II

Noon                Lunch Break & Creative Time
Lunch break and time to enjoy Lakeside, work on music, and collaborate with other attendees.

2:00 p.m.          Songwriting Techniques II
Sometimes a song doesn’t need words. The story can advance in its own way through melody, rhythm, and harmony. Challenge yourself to look at writing music without the lyrics and defining the meaning for the tune through musical expression and basic composition techniques.

3:00 p.m.          Group Writing Master Class III

4:00 p.m.          Performance Class
Attendees gather in one last concluding session to offer their performances of songs they created and developed, participate in wrap-up discussions about what they’ve learned, shared with others, and plan how they will collaborate with others and continue on the next steps of their writing journey.

6:30p.m.          Songs on the Plaza!
Attendees perform their songs, or have fellow attendees perform their work in a relaxed recital on the Walnut Street Plaza. People are invited to bring their dinners to the Plaza and listen to the tunes created during the workshop experience. A great way for attendees to gather and celebrate their creative work.

Jon Torrence
Jonathan Torrence is a Michigan-based singer-songwriter who writes music under the moniker the Native Heart. His early influences were jazz musicians and folk artists, so storytelling and feel have been at the forefront of his music from the beginning. After hearing artists like Jimi Hendrix, Damien Rice, Dave Matthews and John Mayer, he taught himself guitar as he delved into writing his own music. His music blends the worlds of soulful Pop, Americana, and Rock, all with a jazz influence. His belief in the importance of human connection is a main driver for his desire to share music, and hopes that this resonates with whoever has a chance to listen.

Michael Shirtz
A performer, producer, composer, and conductor, Michael Shirtz (ASCAP) is known for his versatility with jazz, contemporary, and classical music, reaching out to audiences of multi-generations. Named a ‘songsmith’ for his vocal arrangements and song interpretation, Shirtz has worked as a performer and musical director with Maureen McGovern, Ellen Winters, Elisabeth von Trapp, among others, as well as leading vocal/song coaching for musical theater, commercial pop, college programs, and festival productions. Shirtz has written in the genres of jazz, singer-songwriter, and musical theater, including major works for chorus, orchestra, and narration.


Jul 18 - 19, 2022


9:00 am - 6:30 pm
Hoover Auditorium


Hoover Auditorium
115 West 3rd Street, Lakeside, Lakeside Marblehead, OH, USA
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