When I was 9 years old, I spent most of my days exploring the wooded area behind our apartment complex, making up songs on our old piano, dressing up like Laura Ingalls Wilder, and teaching an imaginary classroom of kids. Now I’m 42, and besides the oversized dress and bonnet, things haven’t changed much. I love nature, I love working with young people, and I love writing songs. After two decades of recording and touring, eight years of public and private school teaching, I’ve honed in on where my true talents and passion lie: in helping others discover and express their own unique voice.
This has led me to create my dream job, which is leading songwriting workshops and camps for young people. The mission of these programs is to demonstrate to kids that when we explore the world from an artistic standpoint, we can express our perspective in a way that makes life more interesting and meaningful to ourselves and to others. By infusing a sense of fun and curiosity into all that we do, learning becomes an exciting adventure rather than a mundane routine. Finally, collaborating with others to create a body of work that reflects authentic feelings and experiences has a huge impact on the way we value our own voice as well as the voices of others.
Since their inception out of my one-bedroom apartment three years ago, the Young Songwriter Workshops and Camps have evolved considerably in scope and depth. This summer alone, we worked with approximately 30 kids who wrote over 60 songs using inspiration found in nature, urban adventures, artistic explorations, and connections with one another. We witnessed kids who were paralyzed with anxiety upon arrival yet singing and creating with wild abandon within hours.