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Songwriting Intensive

Perfect for intermediate and advanced songwriters, this exciting summer music camp will teach you new skills and techniques to rapidly improve your songwriting. Explore the craft of songwriting and immerse yourself in everything that is music.This is for students who have been practicing songwriting for at least 2 years and have several songs already written.

Your day will include instruction from professional songwriters and musicians in writing with music and lyrical construction, performance techniques, music theory, instrument lessons and music-related courses. You will learn to collaborate with your fellow students to expand your writing into new and different genres, styles, instrument uses, and beyond. As a bonus, you will have the ability to hands-on learn and record your songs in a pro studio environment. An average week’s original song-crafting will yield a number of usable songs. By the end of your two weeks, you can have as many new, original songs as you can craft to use for anything you desire! Also, week one will culminate with a casual outdoor live performance-jam session and your second week will end with a culmination concert on a professional live concert stage with everything a pro concert would have as well as a live recording.

If songwriting is a mystery to you or if you have some skills but want to learn more, you will gain a wealth of knowledge to move your writing skills forward. Find your unique signature as an artist by writing songs and recording them, as well as using the internet and social media to market and promote the music you make.

Recorded audition required. Early auditions with possibility of early acceptance are encouraged. Auditions are accepted until intensive fills.

We ask that all students submit an audition video, regardless of participation in past programs. The video helps our faculty and staff plan and prepare for group assignments, class schedules, private lesson schedules and much more for the music programs.

A recorded audition is required for acceptance. After  successfully completing the Camp InTouch application for the 2023 Songwriting Intensive students will then submit a recorded video. There is a $50 non-refundable application fee due at the time of audition.

Rolling Audition Deadline: There is no audition deadline. Acceptance will be made on a rolling basis until the program is full, so it’s a good idea to get auditions in early as these programs are extremely popular and are expected to fill up. Auditions for this program are normally reviewed every two weeks.

Audition video must include 2-3 original songs demonstrating instrumental, vocal, and lyric writing skills; original song lyrics (enter in Audition Details section on the Music Audition Form); brief description of your musical and performance experience; and letter of recommendation from a private teacher or mentor who has personal knowledge of your musical abilities.

Audition Instructions: 

  1. Complete an online Camper application. Make sure to submit the application.  
  2. Once you have completed the Camper Application, your application will be reviewed within 5 days by a member of the Enrollment team. At this time, you will be charged the $50 application fee and receive an email with a link to the Submittable audition application for you to submit your audition. 
  3. Complete the Submittable application and provide an email address for your teacher recommendation form within Submittable. 

We are use the platform Submittable to receive all auditions for the Summer Program (a universal  platform utilized for exhibitions, contests and even university and job applications).  It is very easy to use. You will be prompted to setup a free Submittable account with your email.  This account can be used for any future open calls you apply to at Idyllwild Arts and beyond!

Acceptance for most auditioned intensives will be made on a rolling basis, so it’s a good idea to get auditions in early.

Honors Music Discounts

Music students who participate in regional, state and national honor groups qualify for a discount of $1,200 for a two-week program and $600 for a one-week music program. After April 15, the Honor Discount is reduced to $800 for a two-week program and $400 for a one-week program so get your auditions in early! Additional financial aid based on financial need is available.

Enrollment Process for Honor Discount:

  • Fill out the online application using the Register Now button on our website. 
  • In the application, we ask if your child is in an honor group or band. 
    • Please fill in the Honor band questions when prompted in the application. 
  • You will not see the deduction for the Honor Music discount when you get to the payment page  – as this is a discount, it must be manually applied by a member of the registration team. 
  • When you submit your application, your card will not be charged immediately, as music students’ applications need to be reviewed for:
    • Instrument availability
    • Audition requirements (if applicable for the program)
    • Honor Music Group verification – we ask that you provide verification that your child is part of the Honor group you listed in the application. 
  • Once we receive the application, we will review it within a week and:
    • Send you email instructions for verifying Honor group participation
    • Send you email instructions for completing the audition
  • After the audition is reviewed and your child is accepted, we will manually enroll your child and apply the Honor Discount.

To verify your child’s participation in an Honor Ensemble:

  1. Log on to your CampInTouch account (parent’s account*).
  2. Click on the yellow pencil icon to go to the Forms & Documents page. 
  3. You will then need to complete the following forms:
  • Honor Music Group Verification Form**:
    Upload a document in PDF format verifying your membership in an All-State or Honor ensemble using the Upload Honor Music Group Verification by clicking in the arrow on the right-hand side of the form. (Examples of verification include a concert program, acceptance letter, or participation certificate.)

*Forms & Documents are only available on the parent’s CampInTouch account, not the camper’s account.

** Detailed instructions for uploading PDF documents are available on your CampInTouch account.

If you have any questions, we would be happy to help! Contact the Summer Registration Office by email at or by phone at (951) 468-7265.

  • Laptop (optional) or phone (voice memo capable recommended)
  • Several pens/pencils
  • Notebook or journal
  • Portable instruments (guitar or smaller)
  • Optional – Midi Keyboard
  • Optional – music recording software (Garage Band, Logic, etc.)

Concert attire:

  • Black clothing is preferred, but anything tasteful will be fine.

Songwriting Intensive begins each day with vocal warm ups and writing warmups for the day. The morning session includes presentations on songwriting techniques followed by breakout sessions with expert mentors to focus on musicianship, lyrics, melody, chording, live performance, vocals, music production, and other special topics. After lunch, students work on assignment prompts alone and in groups to create one original song per day. The day ends with students presenting their new songs for group feedback. Each week ends with a showcase performance of new songs from that week.

Don Reed, an award-winning multi-instrumentalist, has been performing, composing, teaching and recording music for over 40 years. Don’s playing and compositions have been featured on hundreds of recording projects, television and film soundtracks and more. Don has performed with, produced and managed numerous bands and solo artists throughout his career. He excels in diverse genres, including punk, bluegrass, hard rock, classic rock, jazz, folk, blues and more. Don currently heads up Pop Music & Songwriting at Idyllwild Arts Academy and chairs Songwriting for Idyllwild Arts Summer & Auxiliary Programs.

Josh Hogan has been songwriting and playing guitar for over 20 years. He has played lead guitar, sang, and wrote songs for The Mowgli’s since their inception in 2012. His newest project, ‘Modern Original’, has been releasing new songs since 2021 to rave reviews. He has spent much of 2022 playing bass on tour with the new artist, Windser. He lives in Los Angeles, CA where he co-writes for other artists and is currently producing up and coming bands.

Katie Jayne Earl has been singing and writing in The Mowgli’s since their inception in 2012. She has studied creative writing, comedic writing and songwriting. Katie has co written with many other artists over the past decade but has shifted her focus to drumming and writing for her newest project, a doo-wop punk band called ‘The Blushes’. The Blushes are set to debut their first single in the fall of 2022.

13 – 17

July 16 – July 29, 2023
Two week Session

Student Performance
Saturday July 29, 2023
Time and location TBD

Tuition, Room, and Board

Day Student Tuition

Lab Fee

Health & Safety Fee

Enrollment Capacity
18 Students
Total Capacity includes Residential and Day Students

Early enrollment is encouraged

Don Reed, Josh Hogan, Katie Earl

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