Music, Songwriting & Film

Gain inspiration and experience in courses designed for either those entering into the world of music or film, or those in pursuit of new opportunities and knowledge in their chosen field.


The Listening Room Songwriting Retreat
Community Through Co-Writing

Brett Perkins

Special Guest: Alan Roy Scott

June 11-16
Six-day session

Calling all songwriters, from beginners to seasoned pros seeking rejuvenation. Focus on ‘tools, not rules’ and exercises designed to encourage your own self-expression and creative flow. Bring your open mind and willingness to participate. Lyricists, writers, singers, musicians, hobbyists and curious creatives are welcome. You do not need to play an instrument (but bring yours if you like) or to have written songs before. Plan to bring a recording device and note-taking materials. More than 1,000 writers of all levels from more than 20 countries have used Listening Room Songwriting workshops, courses and retreats since 2002 to jump-start or rejuvenate their skills.

Skill Level: All levels

Tuition: $735

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 20 students

Brett Perkins is a California-born, Copenhagen-based songwriter, consultant, educator and presenter. He is founder of the Listening Room Retreats, Copenhagen Songwriters Festival, Listening Room Concert Series, Open Stage and more. Brett’s writing credits appear on international artists’ albums including the Top 10 single ‘Breaking News’ for Sony artist Mads Langer, and songs co-written with Tom Kimmel (Sean Colvin, Johnny Cash), Una Healy (The Saturdays), Boo Hewedine (Natalie Imbruglia), among others. An active writer/performer since the early 1980s, his voice and songs appear on more than 20 releases, as well as film and TV, widespread radio play and first place selections in the Great American and Australian song contests. He tours and records with Michaut/Perkins, The Pawnshop Preachers and solo.

Piano Performance Workshop

In partnership with the California Piano Performance Workshop for Adults

Doug Ashcraft, Antoinette Perry, William Wellborn

June 12-16
Five-day session

Designed for the serious adult student with the desire to improve or refresh knowledge and performance skills, this workshop will develop your piano performance at intermediate and advanced levels. You will work with professional piano instructors who are also performing artists. Learn music theory and take private lessons and Master Classes, with plenty of time set aside for practice.

Your workshop will begin with a faculty recital on Sunday evening followed by a reception to meet instructors and fellow students. Classes and lessons will begin on Monday, continuing throughout the week. Your experience will conclude with a performance recital open to the public in the beautiful new Lowman Concert Hall; you will be expected to perform, but not required.

Skill level: Pianists aged 25 or older at intermediate to advanced level (amateurs and professionals). When you enroll, you will submit a list of performance-ready repertoire.

Tuition: $1,200

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 12 students

Dr. Douglas Ashcraft has performed to acclaim in recitals and concerts throughout the US and Europe. He began his formal training as a student of Aldo Mancinelli. Graduate work with John Perry followed at USC. An active chamber musician, he has performed in recitals at the Concertgebeouw, Carnegie Hall, Alice Tully Hall, and Wigmore Hall. His performing career has included radio broadcasts on New York’s WQXR and live chamber music recitals on KKGO, KMZT and KUSC in Los Angeles, and BBC Radio 3 in London.

Antoinette Perry has appeared throughout the US, Europe and China as a soloist and chamber musician, collaborating with many of the world’s greatest artists. Distinguishing herself also as a pedagogue, she served for 12 years on the UCLA piano faculty before joining the faculty of the USC Thornton School of Music in 1996. She frequently gives master classes and serves as an adjudicator. Former students are enjoying successful careers as performers and pedagogues throughout the US and Asia.

Dr. William Wellborn enjoys an active career as a pianist, teacher and lecturer on three continents, and holds degrees from the New England Conservatory (MM) and the University of Texas, Austin (DMA and BM). A guest artist at music festivals in Canada, France, Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Brazil, this July he joins the faculty of the Krakow Piano Seminar. He has co-hosted 15 music tours throughout Europe; is on the national board of the American Liszt Society; serves on the faculty of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and his students are frequently top prizewinners. William records for the Marco Polo and Cambria Master Recordings labels.

Program Consultant Kathryn B. Hull is a Nationally Certified teacher of piano having maintained an independent studio for more than half a century. Her students have won awards and scholarships. She has served as president of the California Association of Professional Music Teachers, as well as other offices. As a member of the Music Teachers National Association, Kathryn held numerous positions on the Executive Board. She is a founding board member of the California Piano Performance Workshop for Adults.,

Avid Media Composer Fundamentals I & II

Jon Alvord

June 12-16
June 19-23
Two one-week sessions

Avid Media Composer is the premier video editing software in the industry for every segment of movie making, television and more. Accelerate storytelling with the tools embraced by top professionals in the field. This workshop covers the Avid Certified User for Media Composer, providing an industry-recognized credential for both academic users and industry professionals. To gain the title of Avid Certified User for Media Composer, you will take these two foundational courses, Media Composer Fundamentals I and Media Composer Fundamentals II, with the option of taking the certification exam. Becoming an Avid Certified User for Media Composer verifies that you possess a fundamental understanding of and the capability to use Media Composer, together with a firm grasp of the core skills, workflows, and concepts of non-linear editing on Avid Media Composer. Develop the technical and operational skills designed to qualify you for positions as post-production assistants, assistant editors, or video editors.

You will learn how to create projects, edit materials larger than HD (2K, 4K, etc.), create titles and multi-layer effects, problem solve, and manage media.

Tuition is per week. Week 1 covers basic editing and how Avid works. Week 2 includes more advanced operation of the system; you may take one week only, but you must complete Week 1 to enroll in Week 2.

Skill Level: Working knowledge of Macintosh and post-production experience recommended

To gain certification, you must take both weeks and pass the exams.

Tuition: $755 per week

Lab Fee: Week 1, $35; Week 2, $75; Both, $110; includes the required books and exams

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 12 students

Jon Alvord is a film editor with extensive experience in visual effects. He has worked on such films as Armageddon, Spy Kids, Sin City and X-Men. He has been nominated for many awards, receiving Emmy recognition for his work on the HBO Miniseries John Adams. Alvord is an Avid Certified Instructor. He has been a professor of film and television and teaches at Idyllwild Arts Academy.

Cigar Box Guitar-making Plus!

Glenn Kaiser

June 26-30
Five-day session

Join renowned Cigar Box Guitar master player and maker Glenn Kaiser in this DIY guitar building and playing workshop. You will gather simple wood for a guitar neck, a cigar box or metal cookie tin for the body, and use a hacksaw, drill and drill bits to create holes for guitar strings and eyebolt/wingnut tuners. Expect to complete a one-to-three string cigar box guitar, without frets, to be played with a slide. Learn various techniques from basic to mature slide guitar playing, as well as improvisation. Glenn will talk about the history of blues and these unique instruments, and give demonstrations on a range of topics from how to string and tune your guitar to adding pickups, making a slide, and other tricks. Decorating and playing your own little guitar is part of the fun! It’s all about doing a lot with very little, using creativity and imagination, taking risks and accomplishment.

Skill level: Beginner to master craft persons, no music experience necessary.

Tuition: $735

Lab Fee: $15, includes sandpaper, copper slide, metal guitar strings, wood screws, thumbtacks, eyebolt/wingnut combination, guitar picks; you may be asked to purchase and bring additional materials.

Materials List: Download here.

Enrollment limited to 15 students

Glenn Kaiser, world renowned blues musician and cigar box guitar player and maker, has been performing since he was 12 years old. He is an inner-city Chicago blues musician who loves people, music and instruments of the earliest Delta singers/players (Blind Willie Johnson, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, Son House). He has released 37 albums (GrrrRecords). He tours widely, performing, lecturing on blues history, cigar box guitars, and teaching workshops. Glenn devotes much of his time to service, including working with Chicago’s inner-city homeless and poor.

Additional workshops you may be interested in:

Native American Flute Making
Creation of Northwest Coast Hand Drums