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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 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. 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! Also, each week will culminate with a live performance and a live recording that will enhance your college auditions, résumés and more.

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.

For the 2022 Summer Program Season we will be asking all applicants to submit an audition. This includes returning students from 2021 who attended Jazz in the Pines Student Clinic, Chamber Music Festival, and Songwriting. The audition helps our faculty and staff plan and prepare for chamber group assignments, class schedules, private lesson schedules and much more for the program. Information on how to submit audition materials will be posted in November.

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, so it’s a good idea to get auditions in early as this programs 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.

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. 

New this year, we are using the platform Submittable to receive all auditions for the 2022 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. 

Honor Music Group Verification Instructions:

  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** (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.)

Concert attire:

  • Black clothing is preferred
  • Collared shirt or blouse (short sleeve is fine)
  • Long slacks or dresses/skirts below the knee

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.

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 – July 16, 2022
Two-week session

Student Performances
Saturday, July 9, 2022 at 1:00pm
Saturday, July 16, 2022 at 1:00pm

Tuition, room and board:

Day student tuition:

Lab fee:

Enrollment limited to 20 students.
(Total capacity includes Residential and Day Students)

Early enrollment is encouraged.

Don Reed, Kasaan Hammon, Michael Quick

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