It’s “American Idol” and “The Voice” on a smaller, more educational, and way more friendly scale – this summer’s Singer/ Songwriter Workshop gives musically-minded teens the opportunity to develop songwriting skills, improve vocal technique, and explore stage performance strategies in a casual, nurturing environment.
The program, which is scheduled for July 24-28, is directed by Thom Routon, a recent Mason alum with unique songwriting, audio engineering, music recording, and performance experience. A classically trained musician, Mr. Routon plays the violin, mandolin and acoustic guitar. Under the name Brother Kestrel, Thom released his debut EP “In the Earth” in February 2016.
In most methods of modern music education, students are taught the core values of how to understand and perform music, but they don’t always learn the ability to make new and original music creatively on their own. “My goal is to foster the creative process that is so crucial to creating original music from the heart of a musician,” explained Mr. Routon. “From the most fundamental beginner to the veteran troubadour, there will certainly be opportunities for students to develop new skills both as individual artists and collaborative musicians in a small group setting.”
Joining Mr. Routon will be accomplished vocalist and actress Emi Eiting, who brings several years of theater and stage experience to the program. Ms. Eiting will assist the students with vocal coaching and performance insights. Guest speaker Jesse Guessford, Professor of Music Technology at Mason’s School of Music, will also make an appearance to discuss music improvisation and audio recording. Mr. Guessford will be directing the Music Recording Camp the following week.
“We will be exploring the ideas of improvisation and collaboration to help students think outside the box and approach the process of music-making in a fun new way,” said Mr. Routon. “By meeting the needs of each individual participant and matching their levels of creativity to others in the group, we hope that this workshop will connect fellow musicians and artists through ways they may not have previously had in their traditional music education curriculum.”
Whether you are interested in contemporary, pop, hip-hop, folk, rock, or classical music (or all of the above!), you will find the insights and experiences at the Singer/ Songwriter Workshop enjoyable and enlightening. Plus, there’s a coffeehouse-style performance presentation at the end of the week where you can show off a little for family and friends!