Gratitude and Looking Forward…

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Greetings and Happy New Year from Havilah, the founder and creator of Young Songwriter Programs. First, I want to thank the many friends and supporters who gave to our Indiegogo fundraising campaign in November and December. Together we were able to raise $2500 which will go towards paying for recording equipment, instruments and providing scholarships for five young songwriters this summer. (by the way you can STILL donate so check out the link HERE) So far I’ve been a one woman machine but now I feel like I truly have a team of supporters and believers behind me. Now, more than ever, it’s so important to give young people the opportunity to tap into their own innate creative talents and express themselves without fear or judgement. After years teaching in both public and alternative learning classrooms, I know the stark difference between a child whose true potential is being stifled or awakened, whose self confidence is being torn down or lifted up and whose desire to create is being supported or squelched.

My dream is that the philosophy and guiding principles of the Young Songwriter Programs will be embodied in a curriculum that can be integrated into public and private school learning communities. For now, the summer camps and workshops are flourishing. The after school workshops at both Integrity Academy and Austin Village Academy culminated with over twelve songs about everything from fossils to minecraft to the fear a tightrope walker must feel when hovering over a city. I also led several private workshops at birthday parties, Christmas parties and a New Year’s Day gathering. These were beautiful moments when I was able to facilitate groups of both young people and adults co-writing a song that was of course recorded and given to each participant.

If you know me, then you know I have itchy feet and have to move around frequently. I’ll be in Austin, TX till May with a quick jaunt to the Colorado area in April. I’m available for private coaching, small group workshops and homeschool programs so contact me if you are interested! Then in June I will offer a Cirque De Soleil summer camp at Integrity Academy from May 30 – June 3. This will be a blast as we write our own music, practice dance and acro-yoga to create an incredible performance. I’ll then take off for the Pacific Northwest and lead summer camps in Twisp, Seattle, Vashon Island and Bellingham all in Washington State. Check out the Summer Camp 2016 page for more details.  In August, it’s off to Alaska. Then a tentative plan to head to the east coast and Europe in the fall. I’ll keep you posted and please reach out if you are interested in helping put together a workshop, house concert, or combination in any of these parts of the globe.

Much Gratitude to all and may 2016 bring you many opportunities to be creative, to sing songs and to manifest your dreams..

Love, Havilah

Help Grow Young Songwriter Programs

The last few months have been a whirlwind of afterschool workshops, private sessions, planning for summer camps and launching our Indiegogo Campaign to raise funds for scholarships and more materiaIMG_0073ls. I’m so grateful for the outpouring of support and positivity from parents, friends, family and young songwriters. In addition to my songwriting, I’ve also been working as a substitute teacher part time. After spending time in public schools and watching kids struggle with standardized testing, boring classroom routines and uninspired approaches to engaging in academic content, I am convinced now more than ever that my songwriting programs are not just a fun way to spend down-time..they are NECESSARY in order to give young people an opportunity to engage in words, music and technology in ways that inspire innovation and support social emotional wellness. I envision my songwriting workshops evolving into enrichment programs at public schools, libraries, community centers and children’s hospitals giving kids from all walks of life a chance to express themselves creatively through music. As we reach the last ten days of our fundraising campaign, I’m inviting everyone to pitch in and help bring us to our goal so that the Young Songwriter Programs can manifest its full potential. At only 20% funded with 10 days to go, I’m expecting a small miracle. No amount is too small, it’s always the thought that counts..here’s the link. Please share!!

http://igg.me/at/youngsongwriters/x/8023029

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Songwriting Camps and Workshops Take Flight – To Austin!

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When I was nine years old I spent most of my days exploring the wooded area behind our apartment complex, making up songs on our old piano, dressing up like Laura Ingalls Wilder and teaching an imaginary classroom of kids. Now I’m 42 and besides the oversized dress and bonnet, things haven’t changed much. I love nature, I love working with young people and I love writing songs.  After two decades of recording and touring, eight years of public and private school teaching, I’ve honed in on where my true talents and passion lie which is in helping others discover and express their own unique voice. This has led me to create my dream job leading songwriting workshops and camps for young people. The mission of these programs is to demonstrate to kids that when we explore the world from an artistic standpoint, we can express our perspective in a way that makes life more interesting and meaningful to ourselves and to others. By infusing a sense of fun and curiosity into all that we do, learning becomes an exciting adventure rather than a mundane routine. Finally, collaborating with others to create a body of work that reflects authentic feelings and experiences has a huge impact on the way we value our own voice as well as the voice of others.

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Since it’s inception out of my one bedroom apartment three years ago, the Young Songwriter Workshops and Camps have evolved considerably in scope and depth. This summer alone we worked with approximately thirty kids who wrote over sixty songs using inspiration found in nature, urban adventures, artistic explorations and connection with one another. We witnessed kids paralyzed with anxiety upon arrival, singing and creating with wild abandon within hours. Campers who were experiencing a fair amount of turbulence in their personal lives were able to process their feelings through their lyrics as well as connection with new friends and mentors. For example, Leo wasn’t sure the Orcas Island Songwriting Camp was for him. He’s more of a hip hop techno kind of a guy and a songwriting camp with a bunch of little girls didn’t seem very appealing at first.  He quickly opened his mind and attitude towards the possibilities and took on the role of recording engineer and producer.  We watched him exercise qualities of empathy, patience and leadership as he supported the songwriters during the challenging and sometimes scary recording process. He even ended up emceeing our CD release celebration and was quite the entertainer.

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It’s been truly amazing to watch these workshops and camps take on a life of their own with a minimal amount of guidance from adult mentors. I believe the most important things we provide is a framework from which to set goals and a sense of safety and freedom when it comes to self expression. The goal is to write songs but as is the case with all artistic endeavors, it is the journey and not so much the destination that really matters. Parents and campers alike have used words such as “transformational” to describe their experience at songwriting camp. Each day we spend time journaling, manipulating words and pictures we find in magazines and various pieces of literature, listening to music, exploring the outdoors and observing humans in their natural habitats such as coffeehouses, grocery stores and even laundromats. Before too long, the ideas we’ve captured through these activities take the shape of songs which we begin recording immediately so that they don’t “escape”. Participants are given as much freedom or support as their musical skills and personal interests dictate. Some find that they’d rather spend time working on musical ideas while others focus more on lyrics. There are opportunities to practice performance and vocal skills, engineering techniques, CD cover design and improvisation with various instruments. Through both introspection and collaboration, a collection of great songs is the final product of our creative effort.

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Like every dedicated teacher and performer, I get extremely anxious just before the start of each workshop. And without fail, as soon as we begin I am delighted by the qualities that each young person brings and reminded that children are innately non judgmental, creative and have a natural ability to open their hearts and minds to new experiences. Young Songwriter programs provide an opportunity to experience life as a brave and open-hearted adventurer with an appreciation of uniqueness in ourselves and in others. This enables authentic self-expression which ultimately leads to greater happiness and the sharing of our gifts with the world.

Young Songwriter Workshops and Camps are mobile and adaptable to a variety of settings and time frames. Please contact havilahrand@gmail.com to learn more and register.

Young Songwriter Break Camp September 28th – October 1st   Integrity Academy at Casa De Luz   9am – 3pm  $225

Young Songwriter After School Workshop   Tuesdays October 6th – November 10th  3:15 – 4:30  Integrity Academy   $150

Young Songwriter After School Workshop  Wednesdays October 7th – November 11th  3:45 – 5:00pm  Austin Village Academy   $150

Freedom To Be Ourselves

Freedom To Be Ourselves


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The 2015 Young Songwriting Summer Camps were an unprecedented success. Thirty kids and over sixty songs were written using inspiration found in nature, urban adventures, artistic explorations and connection with one another. We witnessed kids paralyzed with anxiety upon arrival singing and creating with wild abandon within days. We had several campers who were experiencing a fair amount of turbulence in their personal lives and were able to process their feelings through their lyrics as well as connection with other campers and mentors.

Its been truly amazing to watch these workshops and camps take on a life of their own with a minimal amount of guidance and support from adult mentors. I believe the most important thing we provide is a sense of safety and freedom when it comes to self expression. The goal is to write songs but as is the case with all artistic endeavors, it is the journey and not so much the destination that really matters. Parents and campers alike have used  words such as  “transformational” to describe their experience at songwriting camp. We believe that children are innately non judgmental, creative and have a natural ability to open their hearts and minds to new experiences. Infusing a sense of fun, curiosity and freedom into an activity that requires a great amount of vulnerability and courage ensures that this experience will carry over into many other aspects of their lives. It is our mission to show kids that life is an adventure that requires open-mindedness, an acceptance of uniqueness in ourselves and in others and the ability to express ourselves from the most authentic place possible. In this way, we are able to find true happiness and share our gift with the world.

Songwriting Camps and Workshops are mobile and adaptable to many settings and situations such as homeschool communities, after school programs, academic enrichment, private one on one coaching and more. Contact Havilah at havilahrand@gmail.com to explore the possibilities.

Has your child been a participant in a Young Songwriters Camp or Workshop or do you have any thoughts you’d like to share? In order to continue building and improving our programs we need testimonials!! Please give us some feedback on how your child benefitted from this unique experience. Thank you in advance!!

Young Songwriter Summer Camp Encores!!

IMG_20150703_115507The Bellingham camp was another huge success with three wonderful songwriters creating a 12 song CD!! We recorded sounds of nature, explored our urban and natural surroundings and found inspiration through our new friendships and experiences together. The CD release concert at The Honeymoon was so fun and there is lots of great footage I’m still trying to gather so stay tuned!

UPCOMING YOUNG SONGWRITING CAMPS

Back by popular demand.. Email Havilah at havilahrand@gmail.com to register!!

July 27-30 12-4pm Methow Valley Community School in Twisp, WA

August 17-20 9am – 12:30pm Gabriel’s Art Kids in Bellingham, WA

Young Songwriters of the Methow ROCKED!!

IMG_0073The 2nd Annual Methow Valley Young Songwriters Summer Camp was a smashing spectacular success.  Twelve gorgeous kids and myself enjoyed five days of songs and poems and singing and recording and giggling and worrying and wondering and finally giving the best dang performance ever at The Confluence Art Gallery in front of a crowd of awe-struck, beaming parents. Not to mention producing a 17 song CD!!

These Songwriting Camps are the bomb and I have very little to do with it. There is magic when you follow your heart and put all your energy into the thing that makes you feel the most creative, the most productive and the most happy. Kids tend to have an easier time that adults with that sort of thing which is why I love being around them, When we give up on fear and open our hearts abundance flows, happiness abides, work doesn’t feel like work and the world becomes a better place.

The Methow Vally Young Songwriters Camp is back by popular demand for Round 2 July 27-31st!! Contact Havilah at havilahrand@gmail.com to register. 

MORE CAMPS THIS SUMMER

Bellingham Young Songwriters Camp June 29-July 3rd has one more space!

Orcas Island Young Songwriters Camp July 17-19 still has space!

Summer Camps Are Filling Up!!

IMG_20150516_155805 Summer is beginning and my heart is overflowing…because that’s exactly what my camps are doing! SO many kiddos signed up to write songs and dig into their authentic creative selves and I can’t wait. I spent the morning wrestling with my new microphones and recording software but I believe I’ve beat them into submission and all will go smoothly during our camp sessions. I imagine these songs like butterflies that are all resting in cocoons till the young songwriters converge and softly (or loudly) coax them out of their shells and into our lives. If you know me, then you might be smiling to yourself as that’s a bit more flowery than is usually my style but seriously. It’s going to be an incredible summer.

So here’s the scoop..  The camp in Austin, TX June 1-4 is FULL.

Twisp, WA is FULL but I hate saying no so if you register soon I’ll probably say yes. It’s being held June 15-19  1-4pm at The Methow Community School. The fee is $155

June 29 – July 3rd – Gabriel’s Art Kids in Bellingham, WA still has 2 spots left!! 9am- 12pm for five days with a CD release concert at The Honeymoon. $135

July 17 – 19th  ORCAS ISLAND!!!! A very gracious person offered their beautiful cottage for us to work out of. Lots of space as this one was just scheduled. Let’s do this!!

For all of you who have signed up… here is some pre-camp homework:)

  1.  Get a journal that you LOVE and decorate the cover with whatever art supplies inspire you most.
  2. Write or draw in it for at least ten minutes every morning about any topic that comes to mind.
  3. Have an impromptu dance party alone or with a close friend at least once this week.
  4. Look in the mirror every day and notice how amazing you are.

P.S. A few weeks ago I had a booth and showcase at The Mini Makers Faire in Austin, TX and met so many creative kids. We wrote a boatload of songs and had a blast. Here’s some pictures!!