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A Creative Retreat In Scotland

May 17-24, 2016 • Kincardine Castle • Aberdeenshire, Scotland

Limited to 15 Participants


Please Email Lydia if you’d like your name to be put on a cancellation list.


With Guest Songwriting Teacher: Beth Nielsen Chapman

Castles, bagpipes, fiddles, songwriting, churches, whisky, dancing, kilts, royalty, singing, history … these are just a few of the delights waiting for our small group of creative spirits during our retreat in the beautiful Northeastern part of Scotland. Aberdeen City and Shire is a land where majestic landscapes meet the sea, is a part of the Royal Family’s life, and is home to cultural and historical gems.

Beth_Nielsen_ChapmanAward-winning songwriter and artist Beth Nielsen Chapman will be our guest teacher during the week, with morning songwriting classes, creative flow exercises, hands-on song crafting, and the who-knows-what-will-happen magic that she brings with her wherever she goes. Ask anyone who has experienced one of Beth’s songwriting workshops and they’ll agree: She’s a joyful Pied Piper who leads us into creative realms we never knew possible.

Lydia Hutchinson knows how to throw a well-organized, world class educational songwriting experience in mystical and magical parts of the world! And all the participants were engaging, highly creative and fun for me to share this experience. One of the best gifts I’ve ever given to myself! —Joseph Leavell

Fiona_KennedyHelping to plan and sprinkle her own magic on our week is Scotland’s beloved Fiona Kennedy—singer, songwriter, actress, broadcaster, and shimmering soul of fun. Included in her many honors is a 2014 appointment as Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to music and charitable services in Scotland … so with her help the things we have planned for you are once-in-a-lifetime experiences!

If there is any part of you that hesitates regarding the cost or taking the time off from your busy life to attend one of these workshops, all I can say is that clicking ‘submit’ was the best gift I ever gave myself. And it continues to give, even months and years later. Having now attended two of Lydia’s workshops, I can share in full honesty that she creates and seamlessly orchestrates the kind of experiences that you hold in your cell-memory; in your bones. The kind of moments where you realize why you are here, that you are capable of more joy and growth than you thought possible, that the world is still full of spectacular beauty and that you, your voice and your songs are worthy and deserving. —Jane Kramer

Andew_NickyOur group of 15 will be staying at one of Scotland’s finest Victorian Castles, Kincardine, on a 3,000 acre estate overlooking the spectacular Royal Deeside in Aberdeenshire. Joining us in our activities and dining experiences will be the owners, Andrew and Nicky Bradford, who will add historical tales and a traditional song or two to the adventure. (Also of note, Nicky is an accomplished pianist, and one of only a handful of fully qualified Suzuki Method piano teachers in Scotland.)

Lydia finds extraordinary, magical places from which to host workshops. The journey through the week was luscious, thoroughly creative, progressive. Life-changing discoveries seemed to come in waves, through the days. —Janie Barnett

So if you’ve ever dreamed of visiting Scotland with a group of like-minded creative spirits, join us for this once-in-a-lifetime experience. And as I tell everyone joining us for Performing Songwriter Creative Workshops: Set aside all of your expectations and show up cracked open and ready for whatever’s to come. The stage will then be set for the universe to work its magic and change your life in ways you didn’t even know you needed.


More Performing Songwriter Creative Workshop Testimonials Can Be Found HERE.

Any questions, email Lydia Hutchinson.

All-Inclusive Week of Music, Food & Friends • Limit 15 People

The Experience

As a small group of 15 people, we will stay at the magnificent Victorian Kincardine Castle in Aberdeenshire, Scotland’s breathtaking northeastern countryside just 35 minutes from Aberdeen. It is a grand family home and 3,000 acre estate on a hillside overlooking Royal Deeside and the hills of the Cairngorms National Park. You will enjoy gorgeous gardens and world-class hospitality from Andrew and Nicky Bradford, their team including a full-time chef, and delicious food and superb wines. When staying at Kincardine Castle you quickly realize it’s not like a nice hotel; it’s far more special. Like staying in a grand country house with friends, in comfortable bedrooms each with its own bathroom.

Each morning there will be a delicious homemade breakfast cooked especially for us. Enjoying it together in the castle’s dining room is the perfect way to begin the day.

We will have songwriting workshops on four of the mornings, taught by the extraordinary songwriter Beth Nielsen Chapman. She will lead inspiring classes to help you tap into your creative flow, and then fine-tune your songs.

We will have meals each night that are nothing short of events—opening night dinner, an evening with fresh fish brought in from Aberdeen, and a closing night gala—all complete with before-dinner drinks and visiting.

In addition, we will have outings planned by Scotland’s beloved Fiona Kennedy to countryside churches, castles, a distillery tour, a pub with a gathering of local musicians including the world-renowned fiddler Paul Anderson, a traditional Ceilidh, Sunday service at Crathie Kirk (the Royal Family’s church), a day in Royal Deeside including Balmoral Estates, and many more surprises!

There’ll be plenty of down time to wander the estate and gardens, work on your writing or other creative projects, play music and co-write, and enjoy local musicians. There will also be a free day where you can dream up what you’d like to do and we can help plan it: play golf, fish, or a guided tour of Aberdeen and the area with Fiona.

So the universe is ready to take the wheel for a week in the magical countryside of Scotland. Say yes and show up. And then let the music, history, culture and friendship begin to work its magic in your life.

Details and Price

Once you’ve arrived at Kincardine Castle, you will be completely taken care of. All of your meals are covered except for one day that you will have on your own to explore other areas or hang around the castle.

Here is a list of a few of the things that are included:

  • Transportation to Kincardine Castle from the Aberdeen airport—two shuttles will be scheduled on Tuesday May, 17 and two from the Castle to Aberdeen airport on Tuesday, May 24. There is a train near that airport if you need to catch it to or from there if you’re traveling elsewhere.
  • 7 nights in a beautiful antique-furnished bedroom with its own bathroom at Kincardine Castle: Arrive Tuesday Afternoon May 17, and leave Tuesday Morning May 24.
  • Four mornings of songwriting classes with Beth Nielsen Chapman, and a one-on-one session with her.
  • Hearty, homemade breakfasts each morning for the group, served in the dining room.
  • Light lunches of soups and sandwiches at the castle.
  • Five evenings of dinners and wine at the castle, prepared by their chef, including an opening night welcome extravaganza, closing night gala, a special night of fresh fish brought in from the coast, and before-dinner drinks each evening.
  • An afternoon in the countryside, visiting churches, an antique shop, and more.
  • A day in Royal Deeside, with an insider’s tour of Balmoral Estates, a whisky distillery tour, a visit to Braemar with dinner and a musical event, just to name a few things planned for that day…
  • Sunday service at the Queen’s church followed by lunch along the River Dee.
  • A free day that we can help plan, including setting up a game of golf, fishing, or an afternoon in Aberdeen city with Fiona Kennedy.
  • Musical performances, dancing, cultural talks by guests…
  • … and many more surprises.

All-Inclusive Pricing (except for airfare):

  • $3,495 Double Occupancy Room With Private Bath (Available for 10 People)
  • $4,295 Single Occupancy Room With Private Bath (Available for 5 People)


  • $1000 Deposit (Plus $800 Single Room Supplement if Applicable) Upon Registration
  • [$2000 Total Deposit If You Register After After Feb. 1, 2016]
  • Second Payment (If You Registered Before Feb. 1) of $1000 Invoiced and Due February 1, 2016
  • Third Payment of $1000 Invoiced and Due March 1, 2016
  • Balance of $495 Invoiced and Due April 1, 2016

Must be 21 Years or Older

Cancellation Policy:

  • All payments and deposits are non-refundable if we are not able to fill the spot. If we are able to fill the spot, however, you will be refunded all but $500.

Any questions, email Lydia Hutchinson.

Registration and Deposit

Registration is on a first-come basis, as well as room availability for the breakdown of single and double occupancy. You are not confirmed until the deposit is received, and you receive a direct email from Lydia confirming it and addressing any questions. If you end up not being confirmed after your deposit is paid because of the event and rooms being filled, you will be immediately refunded in full.


Please Email Lydia if you’d like your name to be put on a cancellation list.

About Beth Nielsen Chapman:

BNCPorchA renowned writer of many hits for other artists as well as herself (including “This Kiss” for Faith Hill, “Nothin’ I Can Do About It Now” for Willie Nelson, “Strong Enough to Bend” for Tanya Tucker, “The Color of Roses” for Bette Midler, and “Here We Are” for Alabama), Beth Nielsen Chapman is in demand as a songwriting teacher and creative coach, having taught at such schools as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Berklee School of Music in Boston, and numerous festivals and venues internationally.

Beth presents her unique and inspiring style of teaching in much the same way she approaches writing itself. For any writer in need of a boost of creative energy, this journey into the workings of the creative flow will cover some great tips and advice on how to step fully into your center and find your voice, in writing and singing as well as keeping your balance in the performance of your songs.

She begins each class by bringing everyone into a full appreciation of the never-changing-ever-present “Creative Spirit,” sharing great tips on how to “cultivate, trust, and learn to follow the clues brought forth by that powerful yet effortless source that tosses the most brilliant stuff up onto the shores of our psyche.”

“We are all like gardeners here. From the place of ‘thinking’ we can only prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water the seeds and pull the weeds—even rearrange the rocks and plants by seeking inspiration in the work of others, study hard, practice, edit and restructure. But we cannot claim ownership of the power or force that actually causes a seed to crack open and push through to the light, we can take no more credit for what is brilliant in our song, poem or painting than we can for making the flower that grows in our garden. Still, as creative vessels we can experience that miracle come right through us as we learn to open a space for it to enter.”

The miracle of creative flow comes from the same source no matter what’s growing. The great song, like the flower, is a divine expression of creativity. In the beginning of the process it’s better to keep the brain out of the way and allow the heart and soul, the subconscious wells of creativity, to flow and stumble along without “knowing”. Drifting into the “unknown” is the essence of creative unfolding. There’s plenty of time to fine tune and polish the work to perfection.

A Few Testimonials of Beth’s Teaching:

Beth Nielsen Chapman is a dedicated songwriter, excellent performer and a gifted teacher of the process of songwriting. Her ability to address the purely creative aspects as well as the very tactical and operational sides of songwriting make a great combination for someone interested in boosting their abilities.
—Tim Houlihan

Beth is an angel with Divine purpose. She is all in as a teacher with real interest and intensity and complete authenticity. My very great honor to have had the opportunity. If I could kidnap her and lock her in my music room to be my muse for a year I would. But that would be wrong so I wont. Hopefully she offers a series of ten workshops. I would take them all.
—Missy Chamberland

Beth is a tremendous powerhouse of a musician who gives of herself to each attendee in every workshop, be it listening, responding, cooking, singing, laughing or making something that shared will forever be held in everyone’s heart.
—Richard Weil

Beth is an extraordinary teacher, musician, and storyteller. Her generosity of time, talent and caring is truly remarkable. After three amazing days in her workshop, I walked away inspired, uplifted, re-energized and ready to take on the world. And I am not even a singer-songwriter or a musician!
—Debbie Phillips

Beth was like a breath of fresh air. She was so inspiring in explaining creative flow and the magic of music. But she was also realistic and humorous about the process. It was reassuring to hear her doubts in her beginnings and the way she worked through them and overcame so much. She’s a real down-to-earth dreamer.
—Jennifer Tortorici

Beth is an inspiring teacher and the sharing of her songwriting experience has left a deep mark that will go on resonating for a long time.
—Keith Tutt

Beth Nielsen is an energetic, informative, and caring teacher. She is passionate about songwriting and happy to share her experience with others. Her talent and approach to creativity are refreshing and helpful. I would do this workshop again over and over and over.
—Joy Newby

Beth’s experience, sincerity, humility and ability to make personal connections with all of the participants enhanced the experience for all. She successfully challenged us to truly identify our creative niche and taught us how to nurture it — we witnessed tangible improvement in our writing and our performance capabilities throughout the workshop. Her passion to our craft and commitment to our success was infectious, and contributed to a great experience!
—John Mulder

Beth has a unique way of teaching her students that is rare. You have to experience her incredible presence to really understand it. Her knowledge of songwriting is vast and her storytelling captivating.
—Teresa Kennedy

Beth Nielsen Chapman has a manner and method of teaching that inspires and draws the best out of her students. Her track record as a successful Nashville songwriter is indisputable and the fact that she is willing to share everything she knows with anyone willing to learn speaks volumes to her generous spirit and her love of the craft of writing.
—Matt Steinhauer

Beth is a force of nature. Enormously talented, free, clear and open hearted. She is the real deal: authentic and true to herself and willing to share what she knows and what she doesn’t know with everyone. Taking a class with Beth is a treat one should offer oneself. She has a depth of perception, skill and manner of presentation that works for the entire class and is individualized when she works one on one with a student.
—Ellen Gennaro

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