Instructor:   John Wort Hannam


Instructor:   John Wort Hannam

Course Description:

Level: Not Applicable

I‘m not sure songwriting can be taught. Not because I think it’s some mystical power only a select few have. (I think everyone can develop into a songwriter) but because songwriting is a moving target, impossible to hit every time. But through writing activities and exercises we can develop our own songwriting abilities.

We will try to nurture the discipline of putting pen to paper through techniques such as scaffolding other songs, timed writing, co-writing, and song prompts.

We will take it slow and build a supportive atmosphere where we can share ideas and work.

We will touch on structure, rhyme, and imagery but mostly you will spend the majority of the time writing, so come prepared with some unbound sheets of paper, any pieces of songs or ideas you have, and also print out the lyrics to two of your favourite songs for one exercise.

John Wort Hannam

In 2001, John Wort Hannam quit his teaching job and spent 10 months depleting his savings while sat at his kitchen table, wearing a lucky hat, writing his first ten songs. Those songs would become his first recording, released in 2003.

Sixteen years later, the Alberta musician has released his seventh full-length recording Acres Of Elbow Room and has a few feathers in that lucky hat for his first six offerings. Ones that include a 2010 JUNO nomination, a 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Best Album of the Year, and numerous WCMA and Canadian Folk Music Award nominations.

Website: John Wort Hannam

Playing Experience Levels

These guidelines aim to ensure that all camp participants have an enjoyable experience. They represent what your playing capability should be before you take the class (prerequisites).

Classes are generally designed to pace themselves to match the participants' abilities. Level 1 classes aim to proceed at the pace of the slower students in the class. Level 2 and 3 classes aim to move at the pace of the majority of students in the class. Level 4 classes are designed to push the capabilities of all students and will target the pace of the more capable students  Class descriptions that show a range (Levels 2-3) means the material presented is broadly applicable across that range.

LEVEL 1: You are new or relatively new to your instrument. You may be able to play basic chords or scales slowly. You want to learn the basics of the instrument. You have very little experience playing with others.

LEVEL 2: You are competent with basic chords and/or basic scales. You can keep rhythm and/or play basic melodies and/or sing and play at the same time if the song is familiar. You generally need the chords or melody to be written out in order to play along. You have some experience playing with others.

LEVEL 3: You are reasonably comfortable with most chords, basic major and minor scales, and can play at an appropriate tempo for songs. You are aware of time signatures, song keys, and know that there are chords called 6th, 7th, 11th, etc even if you can’t play them all. You are comfortable maintaining good rhythm and are willing to taking breaks while jamming with others, even if the breaks don't always turn out the way you planned. You may be hoping to take your playing up to the next level of performing with a group or band (beyond jamming) and you want to further improve your technique and speed.

LEVEL 4: You are skilled on your instrument and have a good understanding of musical concepts including scales, arrangements, harmonies and some improvisation. You play lead and back-up with a steady rhythm and can play skillfully with others. You know there is life further up the neck on your instrument and have some capability in that world. You have performing experience, can hold a tune, and can harmonize.