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The Conference

Shirl at Australian Songwriters Conference - Ettalong Beach> Ettalong Beach Resort - Conference Venue
> Seminar and Workshop Options

> Faculty (2017)
> Past Faculty Interviews
> Past Attendee Interviews

Conference Dates: 9th June to 13th June 2016.

On Thursday, registration opened in the afternoon as participants intermingled on arrival and were getting settled in.

The conference kicked off on Thursday evening with an Official Opening followed by the awards for the Song Contest run in conjunction with the conference. Certificates were awarded to the multiple categories and one overall winner received the distinguished prizes.

What a great start to the conference winning three awards for: My Kind of Paradise[World], Sea Turtle Quest [Children's] and Life's a Great Adventure [lyrics only]

Toto Bar in the resort was well patronised and networking for the event was well under way as participants and faculty alike engaged conversationally and with interest making connections and establishing relationships.

Australian Songwriters Conference - Song Contest Winners Australian Songwriters Conference - Shirl wins three categories

Lisa Butler, the event organiser got the event underway and ensured that the conference ran to the planned schedule each day as much as possible. Lisa was joined by helpful volunteer assistants who helped over the weekend ensuring the conference was a well run event.

Once underway the main seminar facilitator, Alan Roy Scott led us into a hands on session with group co-writing. In random style groups were selected, time allocated and in sharing the outcomes some serious talent was revealing itself in the room. Immediately inspired. Over the next few days multiple co-writes were undertaken with different group selections. For one task, groups were given focus ideas for channeling songwriting to specific briefs and on the final day a competition was run from which three participants won the return to the 2017 confererence as their prize. The songs that groups were pulling together within such a short time was amazing.

Alan talked about song writing philosophy and basic song structures, the nuts and bolts of songwriting, the craft and the importance that contrast plays in making songs accessable to the audience keeping them interested and engaged. He performed two song surgery sessions where immediate feedback was offered to participants on songs that they put forth for the process of feedback and improvement, a valuable exercise listening to comments for each of the participants' songs reviewed. With the songs addressed, shifts were suggested with clarification as to why changes would make an improvement to the song.

Learning more about genres was an aspect that appealed to me about attending the conference. Gary Pinto talked with us about R&B/Urban and Christian genres. He also talked about writing songs to pitch for an artist. Gary has worked extensively within the industry with renowned artists like Guy Sebastian, Jimmy Barnes and Diesel just to name a few. Interwoven into the workshop were stories and insights from the experience of this amazing songwriter/performer.

Fly on the Wall provided attendees with the opportunity to directly observe Alan, Gary Pinto and Prinnie Stevens in action as they demonstrated a co-write session together. Everyone watched on with interest unable to engage or interact as they carried on their practice to compete the writing of a song.

Caroline McKnight from Apra Writer Services provided the necessary talk about APRA/AMCOS with the opportunity for participants to be able to ask pertinent questions in this regard. She also touched on song registration including co-writes and splits, legalities re parodies and sampling. She talked about Aggrigators, syncronisation rights and Copyright in sound recording re: PPCA and mentioned that Arts Law Centre provides lots of information around copyright.

There was value to be gained by either entering your song in for publisher pitching or just listening in to the critique given to each of the songs put up for the pitch. Feedback was constructive and from the groups that I observed, some participants were invited to provide the publishers with more examples of their music for further consideration. Publisher pitching took place with Michael Szumowski from Alberts, Matt Donlevy from Frankdon Music, Nathan Eshman from Hillsong Music Publishing and Diana Torossian - DTME Talent Management. Diana talked about Publishing and A & R in Australia. She manages top writers D & A who wrote the song for Dami Im to sing in this year's Eurovision competition. Matt Donlevy put out an invite for songwriters at the conference to write some songs and pitch them for a group that he manages - Brothers Three. What a great opportunity offered and an exercise to apply oneself to, to write some songs specificly for a particular brief as such. Watching the pitching sessions allowed one to be able to see how particular publishers have their own criteria for what they are looking for and how they may give consideration to more specific types of music.

Carter and Carter talked about writing in the country genre. The conversation covered a breadth of country music genres. They shared their stories and insights into how they effectively shape the their process for gig opportunities. Carter and Carter talked about an offer that they have for songwriters to be able to write a song with them for their next album. A second session with Carter and Carter honed in more specifically on songs and making connections.

Barbara and Adrian Hannan talked about writing in the Pop and Rock genres. They talked about their stories and their work within the industry and some industry greats that they have worked with including Vanessa Amarossi and Gabriella Chilme. In the business of writing songs for other people, songwriters need to write something extraordinary to get them noticed. Barbara and Adrian are music producers and they also pointed out how imperative it was to do the research if writing a song to pitch to a particular artist.

Sven Tydeman talked about the process of music production with references made to three types of recording - Demo Recording, Work Take and Full Blown Production. Conversations in this workshop session pivoted around who owns the song and who has rights for royalties and monetisation at before and after different stages of the production. Talk evolved around mechanical licensing, master recording and work for hire agreements. Recording music for commercial market can have greater implications in terms of remittance required for music contributors to the product, but then this will depend on the agreements made or not.

Doreen Van Bree ran a vocal workshop and had everyone singing along with consideration to breathing and vocal articulation.

Andrea Szabo raised awareness about mind states and creativity and how to take care of oneself to have autonomy as a songwriter and be responsible for own experience. Andrea's session was also shared with Geordie Leach (from Rose Tattoo) and they touched on the need for commitment in the process of writing and recording. Geordie talked about not being swayed by knock backs, sometimes A&R guys find that you are not what they are after. Sometimes you have to find the A&R guy who might be after your style of music. He suggested having a catalogue of songs. Talked about hooks and the need to hook the listener in straight away. Some hook include: vocal hook, recurring melody, guitar line - riffs. Having your own sound and style is what sets you apart form others.

Connie Kis Andersen provided lots of tips and tools on tweaking. The comment, "Hit songs are not written, they're rewritten" resonated. Motivational factors were extrapolated and considered leading to the need and purpose of rewriting. Emphasis was placed on the need to use sense bound writing language to engage the listener with their own experience connectors. Remember its about engaging the listener. Commerciality is all about writing for the listener. They want to be able to connect. Reference was made to the works of notable songwriting teachers, Pat Pattison, Molly Leikin, Jason Bloome and Ralph Murphy.

Showcases were a big part of the conference and were run like a blackboard session with room for everyone to participate who wanted to. With three songwriter showcases there were ample opportunities for all to be able to showcase original songs to a receptive audience. Throughout the showcases, members of the faculty stepped up and presented some of their songs also. Jam sessions flowed over from the main program for those who wanted to continue to stretch their time together engaged with music.

An On-Site studio was in operation for a couple of days at the conference. The program was very full and there was so much going on. As some participants exercised the opportunity to engage in the on-site studio for some on-site recording, others observed their process watching them develop the communication to be able to ask for what they wanted while also listening to suggestions and guidance from the sound engineer/production manager.

The conference provided such a full program of activities, and a moment or two were grabbed to begin working on a song collaboration with Sue and Kerry. This is still a work in progress...

At the end of the conference we all gathered in the courtyard for the group photograph together before heading off on our merry way, with many already registered to return again next year.

Event Program - Image by Lisa Butler Faculty - Image by Lisa Butler

Ettalong Beach Resort

Ettalong BeachEttalong Beach - Australian Songwriters Conference

Some photographs taken on the last day with facilitators and fellow participants.

Alan Roy Scott & Shirley Lynn at Australian Songwriters ConferenceConnie Kis Andersen and Shirley Lynn at Australian Songwriters Conference

Magdalena and ShirleyTheresa, Kelly and Shirley

Josh and Shirl

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