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Songwriting From the Inside Out With Gretchen Peters

June 22-25, 2022 • Nashville, TN

Limited to 15 Students

This workshop has been filled.

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

NOTE: All attendees of this workshop are required to have had their Covid-19 Vaccination.


A great song, like all art, holds a mirror up and reflects who we are. Songwriting, at its heart, is storytelling, and telling your story in a compelling way comes down to authenticity. 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—the holy grail in songwriting and all writing. We’ll learn to write from the inside out, beginning with the spark of an idea and following it all the way to its full realization.


This three-day workshop with Gretchen will include:

  • Building backstories for songs
  • Finding the melody of a character
  • How to arrange a song
  • Surprise guest songwriters
  • Song feedback & sharpening skills with Gretchen
  • A private one-on-one session with Gretchen

In addition to the intensive days of songwriting, you’ll enjoy a closing night group dinner and song circle, surprise guest songwriting friends of Gretchen’s who will join us and inspire you, and an opening night dinner with Gretchen on Wednesday evening June 22 at a Nashville home.

This workshop has been filled.

If you’d like to be added to the cancellation list, please email Lydia Hutchinson

NOTE: All attendees of this workshop are required to have had their Covid-19 Vaccination.

LIMIT: 15 Students

COST: $1,395 per student. This includes three days of workshops (Thursday/Friday/Saturday), a Wednesday June 22 dinner with Gretchen in a Nashville home to meet each other the night before classes start, one-on-one meeting with Gretchen, and a closing night dinner together on that Saturday. (Other meals can be found at restaurants in walking distance.)

TRAVEL: You’ll want to arrive in Nashville by late afternoon on Wednesday June 22 so you can join us around 6:30 p.m. for our opening night dinner. And you’ll be busy through the late evening of Saturday June 25, so plan on leaving on Sunday June 26 (or stay longer to enjoy more of Nashville!). Also, we often get asked if family members or friends who are traveling with workshop attendees can join us for dinners or evening events, but since group dynamics and spending time getting to know each other is a large part of this event, all of the activities are kept exclusively for the 15 registrants.

TEACHERS: In addition to Gretchen Peters, there will be surprise guest teachers who’ll join us

LODGING: Scarritt Bennett has rooms available on the campus on a first-come, first-served basis. They are now being booked through an outside online service, and you can look into that here where the rooms are listed at the top of the ‘Music Row’ link: Urban Nashville Rentals. If you’d rather stay at a hotel, these are a few within walking distance to Scarritt Bennett Campus: Embassy Suites, Best Western Music Row, Hilton Home2 Suites, and Hampton Inn.

REFUND POLICY: YOUR DEPOSIT OF $395 IS NON-REFUNDABLE and will secure one of the 15 spots. You’ll be invoiced for the remaining $1000 on April 1 that will be due no later than April 15 to keep your spot and not lose your deposit. If you are fully paid and cancel by May 1, 2022 you’ll be refunded $1000. After May 1 there is no guaranteed refund unless we fill the spot (we will have a cancellation list). If the spot is filled by June 8, 2022 then you’ll still receive your $1000 refund. If you cancel after June 8, 2022 there are no refunds.

NOTE: All attendees of this workshop are required to have had their Covid-19 Vaccination.

This workshop has been filled.

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

NOTE: All attendees of this workshop are required to have had their Covid-19 Vaccination.

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 2018 release, Dancing With the Beast, has garnered praise around the globe:

“…songs that manage, with deft use of language, to cram a whole epic into three minutes. It’s astonishingly good writing.” – Pop Matters

“Beautifully defined and utterly compelling album.. Peters’ ability to give voice to believable characters is unbeatable.” – The Mirror (UK)

“Stunning” – Rolling Stone Country

“…an album of incredible humanity and depth.” – No Depression

“Right now, you would be hard-pressed to find a better songwriter than Gretchen Peters. Her willingness to sing about tough, somber subjects is a rarity in the industry, and on her new album, Dancing With The Beast (due out May 18), she continues to prove her mastery.” – The Shotgun Seat

“This new album, Dancing With The Beast, is her first recording of all new material since 2016’s ‘Blackbirds’, which won her an Americana Music Association UK award for International Album of the Year as well as International Song of the Year for the title track. This new album is every bit as good.” – Americana UK

“50 minutes of exquisite-sounding emotional devastation, depression, murder and heartbreak” – The Tennessean

“Peters proves yet again on Dancing with the Beast that she is today’s most vivid, detailed songwriter. She is uncanny at transforming simple thoughts or images into song.” – Glide Magazine

“Dancing With The Beast is a strong reminder of the talents of a singer-songwriter who remains one of the brightest stars in country music.” 4 stars – RnR Magazine (UK)

5 stars – Country Music magazine (UK)

There’s a bittersweet beauty to the passing of time — the changes it brings are just as often heartbreaking as they are heartwarming. The inevitable tension that arises from that sway is Gretchen Peters’ most trusted muse. With melody supporting that melancholy, the songs on Peters’ new album, Dancing With The Beast, combine to lift the effort over the high artistic bar set by her last outing, 2015’s award-winning Blackbirds. Strung together and populated with strong and broken female heroines, those vignettes make up Dancing With The Beast and, indeed, Peters’ entire discography.

Dancing With The Beast puts female characters at the fore, from teenage girls to old women. And intentionally so. With the 2017 Women’s March and #MeToo Movement as bookends to her writing time, Peters knew that a feminist perspective would be the critical core of the record. She admits, “You can trace the feminist DNA in my songwriting back to ‘Independence Day’ and probably before. The thing that 2017 did is just put it front and center.”

Beauty tempered by dread, sorrow buoyed by hope, these are the ever-present tugs of war that make life worth living and songs worth writing. And they are the over-riding themes that make Gretchen Peters one of her generation’s most compelling singer/songwriters.

Gretchen not only has the gift of writing deep and meaningful songs, but she has the rare ability to convey what it means to truly craft a song versus simply writing one. The workshop was transformational. I left feeling encouraged and inspired! She must feel drained after conducting the sessions because of all the energy she selflessly gives to the participants. I read something recently that read, ” don’t buy things, buy experiences.” This was a gift I’m so happy to have given myself.
—Mike Delamaterm, Ventura, CA

Gretchen is a wonderful teacher, and a great writer. She has a knack for distilling the truth of a moment or a song into a few, perfectly crafted words. She’s an artist in the sense of painting a picture with a few words, leaving enough space for your imagination to fill in the blanks. As a teacher, she opened the curtain to let us see how she does it, and showed us how to access the tools to do it ourselves.
—John Palmer, Mill Valley, CA

Gretchen is not only an amazing songwriter and talent. She is also an amazing person. In my opinion, it is heroic to share knowledge. There are people in this world who are born to influence, be it through words, song, acts of kindness… Gretchen is one of those who can influence through all and her sharing of knowledge IS heroic.
—Addison Ellis, Nashville, TN

Gretchen Peters is without question a proven crafts-person who understands the trade and tools like so few. Her music is timeless and enduring and for those who know her voice and songs, her music should unfold and slowly reveal a full bloom of colors. I can’t name all that many artists whose work keeps revealing more and more over time, but Gretchen has that formula embedded in her music. Whether cleaning the garage, cooking dinner, time with friends, or driving errands, or a day on the beach or by a lake, Ms. Peter’s music should make your life a richer experience all around and what’s better than making life a rich experience?
—Eric Auckerman, Newport Beach, CA

As one of the relatively few women members of the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame, Gretchen Peters has been recognized by her peers for the amazing songs she writes. Fortunately for the rest of us, Gretchen is also a great songwriting teacher. She is highly organized, a very clear thinker, an expert at her craft and a spot on coach. For anyone who is writing songs or considering giving it a try, you could not find a better person to help you learn how it’s done.
—Ellen Gennaro, Nashville, TN

Run with wild abandon to Gretchen’s workshop. Be a sponge. Be humbled by the talent. Be grateful for the chance.
—Derrick Johnson, Bowmanville, Ontario

Songwriters all over the world certainly know Gretchen’s name from her well-known hit “Independence Day.” But Gretchen’s gifts, abilities and talents go so much deeper than that one song. She is a master teacher, fueled by an inner fire to create only the best art, and to teach others how to discover the highest artistry in themselves. She teaches with the perfect combination of knowledge, experience, and performance. Hearing her sing her songs was inspiring. But listening to her heart and learning how she approaches creating and writing was life-changing.
—Tyler Castleton, Vineyard, UT

Gretchen is just real. She will tell you what she thinks in a straight forward, yet kind, manner. I very much appreciate the way she shared her songwriting story and process with us.
—Kristine Artymowski, Hot Springs, AR

This was an amazing class to be in. I definitely learned and witnessed songwriting at its best. I left the workshop inspired and fired up. I can’t wait to see what comes out of this head of mine, now that I was guided in the right direction. Its not that I was lost, its that my path was with others like myself who think were onto something, but have a few or more bad songwriting habits we are not aware of. I am more informed and ready to share my experience with other writers in my area, the ripple effects of Gretchen’s teachings going world wide. Thank you Gretchen Peters — I am forever grateful
—Denis Bastarache, McGregor, Ontario

Gretchen is great as singer songwriter and she is as great a teacher of a subject that is not easy to teach. She is able to break the songwriting process down with clarity and generosity without removing the inherent mystery of creating. She is serious but also has a sense of humor about everything. I learned so much and had a lot of fun while learning.
—Lara Taubman, New York, NY

Gretchen is one of the world’s great songwriters who takes us with her into the world and experiences of the characters she creates in her songs. As a teacher, she has the ability to break down the songwriting process into a logical method which is inspired by creativity. She made sure everyone in the workshop despite their level of songwriting feels respected and lifted up. She gently fuels the flame to bring songs to light.
—Francine Honey, Leamington, Ontario

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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