create, write, sing, & play together

SONGWRITERS CAMP at Camp Ocean Pines

Cambria, California
June 3–June 7, 2016

Featuring Johnsmith, Jana Stanfield, Nathan Aswell, Penny Nichols, Mark Dann, Dale Laduke, and more!


 We will be offering all levels classes in songwriting, guitar, singing, harmony, performance and more in addition to a full menu of concerts, coffeehouses and song circles. Students and teachers alike will share songs, information, insights, trade stories and perform for the community we have grown to love. And it all takes place less than one hour north of San Luis Obispo, CA. Join us!



 Kerrville Songwriter School


May 30 - June 2, 2016!songwritersschool/s1q2c


John will be teaching alongside fellow staff members Steve Seskin, Mary Gauthier, Vance Gilbert, and Dick Goodwin.


The folk festival has hosted our songwriter school for 25 years, held in the Kennedy Outdoor Theater so that there's plenty of room for break-out sessions. The intimate setting of the ranch on weekdays, the quality of the faculty and the synergy of creative collaboration have given the Quiet Valley a solid reputation for helping writers move up to the next level. 







Songwriting from the Heart—Progressing on the Journey
November 6 - 11, 2016 at Esalen Institute



Come take your seat among other songwriters as we work to refine our songwriting tools. We will go beyond the basic nuts and bolts of the craft, working to take our skills to the next level. Get ready to develop the ability to translate our own life stories into well-crafted, heartfelt songs. Through writing exercises, song assignments, performances, co-writing, and demonstrations, the inner muse will be coaxed and cultivated. In a safe, supportive, fun workshop climate, we’ll share and receive constructive feedback on our works in progress. Join us to discover and expand our boundaries and edges around the songwriting process, to bridge inspiration and craft. At week's end the group will share its songs, new and old, with the Esalen community.

This workshop is for individuals who have experience in songwriting and are working on refining their musical voice. You should have written some songs and be able to perform them from memory prior to attending this workshop. Bring your musical instrument and dress casually — we will do some dancing and moving. There will also be evening jams. Simple recording devices are strongly encouraged. Bring an open heart and a curious mind.




Workstudy Group - Songsmithing:

Opening the Creative Channel 

Month of January 15 - February 12 , 2017



If your life was a song, what would that song be? If you told the story of your heart, what story would you tell? Discover your authentic singing and songwriting voice through creative exercises, prompts, and assignments. We will focus on opening the creative heart and bringing forth the music and stories that dwell there. All are welcome; no prior songwriting experience is needed.

With a mindful and playful attitude, we will invite the stunning natural beauty of the Big Sur coast, its healing waters, and the spirit of Esalen to work its magic on us as we immerse ourselves into creative flow. Within the safe container of the group, everyone will be invited to delve into the deep work that only creative play allows.

Johnsmith has led work scholar programs and workshops at Esalen since 2006. His transformational offerings help students reach deeply inward to bring forth their truth and story in well-crafted songs. Johnsmith always brings along his infectious, curious, fun-loving otter spirit to his work...or play, one might say. We will use journaling, movement, meditation, co-writing, solo and group singing, impromptu jams, and performance — for ourselves and the Esalen community. Playing a musical instrument is not necessary, but you are welcome to bring one if you play. We will cultivate a fun, dynamic, and safe place to experience our creative selves. John will also be inviting guest artists and staff to assist during the month.


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