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Storytelling and Detail with Gretchen Peters

March 23 – 25, 2017 • Nashville, TN

Just Announced Special Guest Teacher: MIKE REID!

Limited to 20 Students


[This is the only workshop with Gretchen scheduled for 2017!]

Please E-Mail Lydia if you’d like to be added to the cancellation list.


One of the oldest phrases in any language must be ‘tell me a story.’ Songwriting is storytelling, and telling your story in a compelling way is all about detail. It’s about what you say, and what you don’t say. It’s about the truth, not necessarily the facts. In this workshop, we’ll explore the process of songwriting—the art and the craft, and the delicate balance between the two. We’ll learn how to keep a sense of creative play and when (and how) to welcome the inner critic into the room. We’ll find ways to work through “writer’s block.” We’ll learn that only through the specific do you achieve the universal—and that’s the holy grail in songwriting and all writing. We write to find out who we are, and in the process we find out we are not alone.


This three-day workshop with Gretchen will include:

  • How to choose a character from a novel and use them to build backstories for songs
  • Finding the melody of a character
  • How to arrange a song
  • Surprise Guest Speakers & Musical events
  • Song Critiques & sharpening skills with Gretchen and her guest teacher
  • A One-on-One session with Gretchen

MikeReid_colorSpecial Guest Teacher: Mike Reid

We are thrilled to announce that Gretchen’s guest teacher for her workshop will be fellow Songwriting Hall of Fame member and Grammy Award winner Mike Reid, who penned such great songs as “I Can’t Make You Love Me,” “Too Soon to Tell,” “Stranger in My House,” “To Be Loved By You” and “In This Life.”

More than two decades after its creation, “I Can’t Make You Love Me” remains in Raitt’s set list at every concert, and it has been recorded by George Michael, Kenny Rogers, Nancy Wilson, Kelly Clarkson, Adele and others. Continuing his renaissance ways, Reid went on to compose theatrical and operatic works, winning a Richard Rodgers Development Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters for 1997’s The Ballad of Little Jo.

Mike will be working with the class on Thursday and Friday, inspiring with stories, offering feedback on songs, and sharing songwriting tips. It’s going to be a once-in-a-lifetime few days…

In addition to the intensive days of songwriting, you’ll enjoy a surprise once-in-a-lifetime private concert, a closing night group dinner, surprise guest songwriting friends of Gretchen’s who will join us and inspire you, song circles in the evenings where everyone can share songs, and an opening night dinner at a Nashville home with Gretchen!


To be added to the cancellation list, please email Lydia Hutchinson

LIMIT: 20 Students

COST: $995 per student. This includes three days of workshops (Thursday/Friday/Saturday), a Wednesday evening gathering and dinner to meet each other, one-on-one time with Gretchen, and a special evening of music. (Breakfast, lunch and dinners that aren’t covered can be found at restaurants in walking distance.)

TEACHERS: In addition to Gretchen Peters, there will be a songwriting facilitator who will be with you all three days, as well as a surprise guest or two…

LODGING: Scarritt Bennett has rooms available on the campus on a first-come, first-served basis. These are single rooms that share a bathroom with the adjoining room. The cost is $75 per night plus tax, and you can book these yourself by calling 866-420-5486, Emailing Reservations, or visiting their Website. But book early because they fill up fast! If you’d rather stay at a hotel, these are within walking distance to Scarritt Bennett Campus: Embassy Suites, Best Western Music Row, Hilton Home2 Suites, and Hampton Inn.

TRANSPORTATION TO SCARRITT BENNETT: Shuttle Service to and from the Nashville Airport can be booked through InShuttle for $11 each way.

REFUND POLICY: If you cancel by Feb. 1, 2017, there will be a $200 cancellation fee. After Feb. 1 there is no guaranteed refund unless we fill the spot (we will have a cancellation list). If the spot is filled by March 15, then you’ll still receive your $795 refund. If you cancel after March 15 there are no refunds.


Please E-Mail Lydia if you’d like to be added to the cancellation list.

Gretchen Peters has long been one of Nashville’s most beloved and respected artists,known never to shy away from darkness and struggle in her writing. “If Peters never delivers another tune as achingly beautiful as ‘On A Bus To St. Cloud,'” People Magazine wrote, “she has already earned herself a spot among country’s upper echelon of contemporary composers.”

The latest accolade for the Nashville-based singer-songwriter was her induction into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in October 2014. She joined the 192 existing inductees including Johnny Cash, Rodney Crowell, Don & Phil Everly, Woody Guthrie, Merle Haggard, Tom T. Hall, Harlan Howard, Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Jimmy Webb and Hank Williams. At the induction ceremony in Nashville before a capacity audience, Rodney Crowell spoke on behalf of Peters, calling her “both a songwriter and a poet (who) sings as beautifully as she writes,” and said her song “The Matador,” “moved me so greatly, I cried from the soles of my feet.”

Peters has risen to the top of her craft by writing and recording songs that explore the deep corners of life with empathy and integrity. She has accumulated accolades as a songwriter for artists as diverse as Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, The Neville Brothers, Patty Loveless, George Strait, Bryan Adams and Faith Hill. Of her own recordings, the Associated Press said, “this is not jukebox music – the stuff that exists to fill in the pauses in conversation. This IS the conversation.”

Her latest album, Blackbirds, follows Peters’ 2012 album Hello Cruel World, which NPR called “the album of her career” and Uncut said “establishes her as the natural successor to Lucinda Williams.” If anything, thouoh, ‘Blackbirds’ truly establishes Peters as a one-of-a-kind singer and songwriter, one in possession of a fearless and endlessly creative voice.

Gretchen is a force of nature in her voice alone. Her style and ability to show on paper what she then turns into a beautiful, haunting ballad that connects to the listener both emotionally and spiritually, is nothing short of phenomenal. The characters in her songs become visible and visceral, like someone you have always known or someone you might never want to meet. Either way you won’t forget them. One classmate put it well: “I think she’s a genius.” I would have to agree. Her workshop was flawless.
—Shelly Lecher, Portland, OR

Gretchen is amazing as an artist and teacher. She revealed her uncertainty about her teaching methods during the workshop and I almost laughed. I reassured her that she is a natural as a teacher and mentor. To have someone that talented communicate with you and work with you on such a professional level within such an intense setting was unbelievable! I’m so grateful to Gretchen for sharing her insights and talents with us, while reassuring us that we can actually pursue this crazy dream of being a songwriter.
—Chris Wood, Athens, GA

Gretchen is one of the few that can “do” and also “teach.” She had great insight into how to improve various aspects of my song, lyric, and structure.
—Barry Zito, Franklin, TN

It was a pleasure to discover that Gretchen is not only a fantastic singer/songwriter, but also an inspiring, accomplished and supportive teacher. I felt that she enjoyed the sessions as much as her students with. It was fascinating to gain an insight into her creative mind and to be inspired by her advice and experience.
—David Squire, Washington, DC

I knew the lady could write. But teaching is another animal. Guess what? Gretchen turns out to be an excellent teacher. She’s filled with knowledge, experience and a great love for her craft. The fact that she’s a gifted performer and that she shared her songs with us only served to make her workshop experience exceptional.
—Steve Blane, New York, NY

Gretchen is filled with knowledge and a tender heart to show the songwriter how to use it. AMAZING experience.
—Missy Chamberland, Crested Butte, CO

Gretchen gave me a lot of new ideas and approaches to think about in my writing. She’s an incredible teacher, open and honest, and generous with her time. She’s one of the best songwriters in Nashville. Taking one of her workshops is an experience not to be missed for anyone who wants to improve their writing.
—Ashley Hoffman, Atlanta, GA

Not all geat performers are good teachers, Gretchen Peters is the total package. She can perform what she writes and share with her workshop groups the how and whys of how to make a song effective. I spent a glorious three days with her and came away refreshed and exhilarated,
—Mike Warren, Cape Girardeau, MO

After returning home I told a friend of mine “Gretchen Peters writes song the same way I do,” a little tongue in cheek because it’s really the reverse. She confirmed and added to my arsenal of methods to write a great song!
—Rod Ballou, Frisco, TX

Being in the presence Gretchen’s considerable gifts was both truly humbling and profoundly inspirational.
—Mark Cassano, Calgary, Alberta

Thank you, Gretchen, for an incredible three days of inspiration and encouragement! My songs and I will never be the same!! You told me, “Go home and do what you do.” You have no idea what those words meant to me coming from you! Thanks again from the bottom of my heart!
—Julie Sealock, Nebo, IL

With all Gretchen’s success, she remains humble, kind, funny, honest and generous. She passed on so many tips on how to show a story vs telling it. Gretchen is a brilliant writer and equally an amazing teacher. She may work at songwriting, but teaching seems like a natural fit. Her focus is always on how to improve the song. Gretchen is open to everyone’s ideas, but she will share her opinion if she sees things in another way. Nothing but respect for Gretchen Peters!
—Nancy Laberge, Calgary, Alberta

Gretchen Peters is a well organized and brilliant teacher. She is able to present material in an easy to understand and elegant manner.
—Joy Newby, Brentwood, TN

Gretchen shared her considerable insight and experience graciously and with such heart felt honesty. She provided a wealth of information and specific advise I’ll reflect on for years to come.
—Peter Price, Crystal River, FL

Gretchen Peters is one of a kind! Authentic, spirited, and amazingly talented, she inspired us all to be better and find our truth. A wonderful teacher!!
—Cara Desvigne, Peoria, AZ

Gretchen, in a sure and easy manner, shares her love and passion for writing. She carefully enumerates the tools necessary to build strong lyrics from a solid back story: the ditch-digging work necessary for a good song, a believable song, a memorable song.
—Sam Allman, Dover, FL

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