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Songwriting Intensive

Perfect for beginners as well as 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.

Your day will include instruction from professional songwriters, producers, and musicians in all aspects of songwriting, from creating original concepts to lyrics and melody development, music composition, arrangement, and production. You will learn to collaborate with your fellow students to expand your writing into new and different genres, styles, and instrumentations. 

An average week’s original song-crafting will yield a minimum of five songs. By the end of your two weeks, you can have 10 new, original songs to use for anything you desire! Each week will culminate with a showcase performance of new material that will enhance your songwriting portfolio, college auditions, and artist resume.

If you are new to songwriting or if you already have some skills but want to take your songs to the next level, you will gain a wealth of knowledge to advance your songwriting. Explore your sound as an artist while also learning valuable tips on collaboration, networking, music marketing and social media promotion.

Genres: All popular music genres are covered in this course – songwriters of all styles are encouraged to attend.

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

Optional Intensive: If you are interested in adding on an online-only recording studio production and mixing component, please indicate your interest when signing up.

A recorded audition is required for acceptance. 

Rolling Audition Deadline: There is no audition deadline. Acceptance will be made on a rolling basis until the program is full; we recommend applicants get their auditions in early as this program is extremely popular. Auditions for this program are normally reviewed every few weeks.

Audition Details

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.

Returning Students: Audition not required for returning Songwriting students.

After you have completed your online application, find and complete the forms listed below on the Forms & Documents page of your CampInTouch account. Acceptance for most auditioned intensives will be made on a rolling basis, so it’s a good idea to get auditions in early. 

  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:
    • Music Audition Form:
      This form will ask you for links to your audition video/audio, a brief description of your music experience or your music résumé, and some additional details. You will electronically fill out and submit this form using the CampInTouch interface.
    • Teacher Recommendation Form:
      Complete Part I and give the form to your teacher to complete Part II.
      Your student’s teacher should either: 
      1. Return the form to you, so your parents can upload it to CampInTouch in PDF format (Most preferred method)**
      2. Email this form to
    • Honor Music Group Verification Form** (if applicable):
      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.

    See Audition Requirements above for intensive-specific audition video/audio requirements and details.

    *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.)

Find the full schedule and materials list here.

Start your day with warm up games and activities, followed by morning lectures and demonstrations to get into the technical details of songwriting. Mix it up and collaborate with your peers in various break out sessions, duos, and trios across our beautiful mountain campus. At the end of each day, the whole class gathers to share songs and feedback.

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.

Kasaan Hammon is an award-winning songwriter, recording artist, producer, and former Executive Director of the Association of Independent Music Publishers. She writes and records under the name RIGSI and has been part of the management teams for Chaka Khan and Hall of Fame songwriter Albert Hammond. Kasaan is a member of the music faculty at Idyllwild Arts Academy and Summer & Auxiliary Programs where she teaches songwriting in all popular music genres, specializing in topline and pop vocal performance. 

Age: 14-18

July 3-17, 2021
Two-week session

Weekly Showcases July 10 and 17

Tuition, room and board:

Day student tuition:

Lab fee:

*Enrollment limited to 12 students.
Total capacity includes Residential and Day Students.

Early enrollment is encouraged.

Don Reed & Kasaan Hammon

*The total enrollment of the program may increase to 20 pending changes in Health Guidelines from the CDC and local authorities.

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