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  • "Grain of Salt": Workshopping Songs in Progress with a Political Edge" (Online workshop)

"Grain of Salt": Workshopping Songs in Progress with a Political Edge" (Online workshop)

  • 05/18/2020
  • 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
  • https://www.facebook.com/Peoples.Music.Network/


  • Requires code.
  • If you wish to join, PMN, see https://www.peoplesmusic.org/join-PMN

Registration is closed

Registration Deadline

The deadline to register is Sunday, May 17 at 8:00 PM.  You may still register for this event after this time, but you will be added to the wait list.

Workshop Description

Writing songs that deliver a compelling message of social justice in ways that move people's hearts is both a political and artistic process.  Are you somewhere in the middle of this process?  Are you interested in receiving peer feedback on your own work in progress?

This popular PMN interactive workshop is an opportunity to hone your listening and feedback skills as we collectively ponder the many elements – lyrics, melody, rhythm, chord progression, key, arrangement, etc. – that make a song click.   Using online tools, we’ll hear each song-in-progress and then become a collective think-tank about what’s working so far and what might be improved.

Positive and/or constructive feedback will be offered, and only on those elements that you request help with.

How to participate:

  1. Registration is limited to 7 participants, and we will take a waiting list, with the idea that we’ll probably do this next month too.
  2. Submitting a lyric sheet of the song in progress is required at the time of registration.  If the lyrics change, then, no later than noon (EST) on the day of the workshop, please send one copy of the latest version as an attachment to ben.grosscup@peoplesmusic.org, using subject line "Updated Lyrics for Grain of Salt".
  3. Check for the email with details on how to connect to the Zoom video conference platform.

Workshop Facilitators:

  • Pat Lamanna: Long-time member of PMN; award-winning singer-songwriter. Learned about this type of workshop at Summersongs, a songwriter’s retreat.   www.patlamanna.com
  • Terry Kitchen: Award-winning folksinger/songwriter, recording artist, author and activist. He teaches songwriting, often in conjunction with his performances. www.terrykitchen.com

Eligibility to Participate

Performers in this swap must:

  1. be PMN members in good standing* 
  2. register using this form
  3. have a computer with functioning video camera and microphone.

* If you are not a PMN member, you may join here: https://www.peoplesmusic.org/join-PMN

Improving the Audio Quality of your Performance

Using your computer's built in mic with Zoom's default audio settings is sufficient to participate and be heard.  The sound of a person singing normally comes across on Zoom somewhat better than a telephone.  Zoom applies audio compression filters to the sound of meetings by default.  The filters reduce background noise and echoes, but they also distort the frequencies of musical instruments and backing tracks.  Using a headset with a built in mic will increase the sound of your voice, because it puts the mic close to your mouth, but it won't improve the audio quality of instruments and backing tracks.  It is possible to significantly improve the audio quality of both voice and instruments by using an external USB mic or a USB audio interface device.  (See PMN discussion forum on, "What kind of External USB mic are you using to play music live online?").   Once you have the hardware in place, it is necessary to switch on an audio setting in Zoom under “Advanced”, which is called "enable original sound".  Enabling original sound removes Zoom's default audio compression, improving the sound of your performance.  Please see here for a useful tutorial about how and why to enable original sound in Zoom.    

You can create a free account on Zoom that allows you to record videos and hear how your sound comes across to others when using different settings and equipment.  Here is a video created by Ben Grosscup that demonstrates how using a USB mic and enabling “original sound” in Zoom can improve the audio quality of your performance (enter this password to unlock it: P9.0v1!B). 

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