Chasing the Inner Voice: A Musician’s Journey into The Art and Beauty of Songwriting


Presented by Doug Ferris, Bassist and Director of the Ferrport Jazz Ensemble

Some days, musicians dream of effortlessly unleashing their inner voice and hearing the roar of a thousand elated fans joyously singing the musician’s own lyrics in unison. On other days though—with a guitar in one hand, a pencil in the other, and no new ideas—musicians feel overwhelmed by the challenge and complexity of songwriting. How does anyone actually do this??

In this session intended for beginner and intermediate songwriters, Doug Ferris shares his fascination with the incredibly personal art of songwriting and his lived experiences in writing original music that is always personally satisfying and sometimes warmly received by others. What you will learn:

In this seminar, musicians will consider the essential components of all great writing: a song is a form of intimate communication between two individuals. To start the conversation, a writer must have a message, because music is communication. Songwriting is a form of communication that shares a passionate message created from the artist and conveyed to the audience. By approaching songwriting as a form of artistic communication between a musician and their listeners, this seminar will introduce musicians to the importance of the elements of creative writing: a writer’s purpose, the different ways that a song communicates the message by appealing to the listener, and how the intended message of the song is received by the intended audience.

Topics that will be addressed: *reasons for writing, *finding inspiration to write, *defining the message of the song, *imagining the intended audience, *identifying the elements of music that capture the attention of the audience, *crafting how the elements of music align to transmit the message, *The least you need to know to begin

Skills to be explored: *Brainstorming messages to convey, *Considering different musical vehicles to carry the message, *Crafting the message for an intended audience

Activities to be experienced: *Playing with tempo, *Playing with rhythm, *Playing with chord sounds, combinations song form and movement.

Intended Participants:

*No musical training or experience required, *Adolescent and adult learners will benefit from this session, *A portable instrument such as a guitar, hand drum, etc. is welcome but not necessary

Minimum Length: 40 minutes – 60 minutes


Sep 23 2023


3:30 pm - 5:00 pm


Scugog Arts Space
175 B Queen St
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