“I so appreciate how accepting, encouraging, and authentically delighted Gary is with all of his students and…their work. The way Gary set us students up to work together, support each other, and be inspired by each other was fun and brilliant.” -L.E.
“I’m so grateful to have participated in Compose Yourself. After over a decade of musician’s block, it’s such a relief to be writing again. I’ve finally broken back in!” -E.M.
“As a total beginner, this class blew my mind because I didn’t think I could write a song and I wrote several. It was so fun to follow his exercises and within minutes have super fun lyrics. It was great to be in an environment with all levels of musicians and be a part of a community of music makers. Gary is an amazing teacher and guide, it is a super loving space to experiment and express!” -M.M.
You know you’re a songwriter. Or you wonder if you might be a songwriter. On the one hand, you know the powerful, transformative effect of music on your life, but on the other hand, your life keeps getting in the way of you actually making the music you know is inside you. Or you’re just not sure how to access on a regular basis the deep creative well inside you that is your birthright. This quandary is all too common, and completely unnecessary.
Let me put it plainly: you can write your own music no matter what your level of experience or expertise in music. The fact is you have grown up listening to music and you already speak the language – even if you aren’t able to write the language or spell out its rules. And I guarantee that your heart has something to say.
So, this workshop is about accessing that music that is locked inside your physical/emotional/spiritual being and allowing it room to express itself. Doing so is good for your soul and is most likely to produce some music that you would want to share with other souls. And the class is specifically designed to cater to all levels of experience with music composition.
We will meet online at the designated time for 8 weeks, depending upon which section you sign up for, once a week for 90 minutes. Imagine a Zoom conference call with me and about 11 other self-selected brave, inquisitive, composer souls, getting together to dig into the nitty gritty of writing music. The time we spend together will include hands-on exercises, short lectures or instructions and encouragement for the process, sharing of compositions in a masterclass format, Q and A, honest conversations about the process and its challenges, and explanation of homework assignments. There will be a syllabus with some flexibility. You can expect that our time together will feel supportive, encouraging, challenging and inspiring. It’s going to be the thing you look forward to all week.
Outside of class time, you will have some homework assignments, as I mentioned. These will largely consist of spending some time being with your honest composer self and letting the music come. The expectation is that you’ll spend between 30-120 minutes outside of class on these assignments, but really any amount of time that you can spend is workable. The cliché “you get out of it what you put into it” applies here. Most of these assignments will be on your own, but at least one will involve collaboration with another of your classmates.
But, in addition to the assignments, you’ll have support. There will be an online forum where you can connect with your classmates: You’ll be able to share your songs, your challenges, your concerns, and your positive feedback with one another, and you’ll be able to draw on a built-in community of people who are on the same road you are—who love music and who encounter obstacles and fears the same way you do.
Because there are only 12 people max in this workshop, you’ll get to know your instructor (me) and your fellow participants well in this intimate and supportive group. All levels of experience and musical training are welcome and encouraged.
I love teaching composition to an experienced songwriter who has released and toured supporting their own CDs, in the same class with a sometimes choir singer who has never played an instrument but loves to make up silly songs to sing to their child, in the same class with a theatre director who wants to try incorporating making new music into their craft.
(Even after I’ve said this, if you’re not sure that you’re right for this class, email me and ask: email@example.com. But I can tell you already, the answer is probably “Yes.”)
What will you have by the end of this workshop? Oh, I see. You’re the type of person who wants some kind of guarantee. I thought so. Well, I guarantee that if you do all the assignments and exercises, you will have composed at least 10 songs by the end of the course that are uniquely yours. I can’t guarantee that they will be good. I mean, some of this is on you, right? Some of them might be short and some might be more involved. But the odds are favorable that at least some of them will be good, and that you will be actively engaged in a process of making music that matters to you. And you will begin to question what a song is and what it can possibly do.
AND… the classes will be recorded and put in a private location online for you to watch again afterwards, if you wish. This also means that if for some reason you have to miss a class or two, you can watch what happened and be all caught up quickly! So really, there are no excuses.
This is not like those pre-recorded webinars you have seen where you are just one more person who’s put down their dollar and gets to watch some canned videos and maybe read some huge anonymous forum full of commenters (or worse, trolls) who have no idea who you are or what you or your music are like and no investment in your success. This is an experiment in online community. It is an experiment in a new kind of composing and a new kind of possibility for online community, growth, and support.
Ok, so if you do this, you have to commit to the 8 weeks. You can miss a class here or there as the videos will be posted online, but you should basically plan to do this thing and budget about an hour or so outside of class to spend on it. Not only does your own fulfillment depend on your commitment, but your classmates are counting on you as well.
This course is really the prerequisite for joining the vibrant songmaking community at golden lotus studio. Once you take this course, not only will you have all these new songs and new songmaking skills, but you’ll be IN the inner circle of amazing songmakers moving forward, and that is truly the most valuable part of this whole deal.
What does all this cost? It’s a bargain at $525 for 8 classes. I mean, I take it very seriously that $525 is still a substantial sum, and I expect you to take it seriously to show up to class and do the assignments. But they’re fun and life-giving, so you’re going to want to show up to class and do the assignments. You’re probably not going to want to do anything else.
Such a deal. 8 weeks, 10+ songs, 90 minutes each class LIVE, plus the forums and access to watch all the previous classes.
Compare this to a similar class you might take from Berklee College Online for $1200-1500. “Compose Yourself” is only $525. Do it now. And get one as a gift for a loved one.
Reserve your spot now. You’ll receive confirmation of payment and further instructions afterwards.
I can also accept Zelle or Venmo or check payments – email me firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Is this a gift? Let me know and I’ll send you a lovely gift certificate PDF with the recipient’s name, which you can print out and present however you like to the lucky person. Frame it? Place it on gold foil paper inside a candy bar? Jump out of a cake holding it? I leave that part up to you.
If you have any questions, just email me personally at email@example.com. Thanks for taking the time to consider this possibility, for signing up, and for inviting a friend! I look forward to seeing you in class very soon!
Gary Grundei has composed music for NPR (Invisibilia), New York Stage and Film, Ensemble Studio Theatre, the Magic Theatre, GALA Choruses, and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He has worked with Meredith Monk, Bill Pullman, Leigh Fondakowski, Caitlyn FitzGerald, and Barbara Dilley. Gary has taught at Naropa University, Occidental College, University of Denver, Whitman College, MICHA and online through his own website goldenlotusstudio.com. He plays with the band High Fiction and lives in NYC with his family.