What is Soul Songs School?
Soul Songs School® is a 12-week online songwriting program designed for soul-fueled songwriters and other creative artists who want to write from a deep place while mastering their craft. Soul Songs School's curriculum is designed to help songwriters 18-88+ build their songwriting toolkit by working on melody, harmony, lyric-writing, song structure and storytelling. It also nurtures songwriters' creativity by providing weekly, fun creative prompts that allow for self-discovery and authentic expression. Led by singer-songwriter Anne Heaton, this course provides weekly asynchronous learning modules, weekly synchronous classes and special guest master classes. For both experienced songwriters and for those who long to write their first song, these 12 weeks will provide a structured space for songwriters to mine their creative gold and develop songwriting techniques. Anne teaches many of these same classes at Berklee College of Music Summer Programs and for the GRAMMYCamps. They are all designed to meet you where you are in your songwriting journey.
Soul Songs School enrollment opens once a year, but is currently on hiatus while Anne is in graduate school. For more information on learning modules, student testimonials and details of previous iterations of Soul Songs School, go here
2020 Year in Review
How Soul Songs School Reinvented Itself During Covid
Helen working on a story in Creative Writing class
Mid-March 2020, as I was following grocery trips with rigorous showers and collapses into bed, and as I constantly worried about my Dr. brother who was working in a Covid clinic, I also wondered how my kids would continue learning and how I could live purposefully during such an unusual time. Somewhere in this brain stew, I was inspired to host weekly Creative Writing and Songwriting Classes for children ages 7-10. Even though I’d taught adults and teenagers over Zoom since 2014 (and taught in-person songwriting to children many times), I didn’t know how Zoom classes would fly with the younger kids. It went amazingly well! While it could've been better for singing, it was great for writing stories and songs. We played story writing and storytelling games. Some students made books and wanted to publish them!
We learned about the Hero’s Journey and our north star was having fun and cultivating respect and appreciation for others and their created works! The children even ended up leading their classmates in creativity prompts they created!
Parents reached out to me because some children wanted 1:1 songwriting lessons, so I said why not?! And so it began. I wish I could share these children’s songs with you! They wrote about their pets, favorite fruits, summer vacation, quarantine, nature and the meaning of life. They cut right to the heart! One of my personal faves was “Stuff I Do When I’m Bored” where the children seemed to slowly discover, as they listed all the stuff they do, that they weren't bored after all
In May, I facilitated an ongoing hymn-writing workshop for the middle school youth at the UU Church here in Milwaukee. This was a gratitude-creating experience in which the middle-schoolers wrote an antidote to what we often experience in the media, a song called "Kindness is Unstoppable!"
When spring rounded into summer, Berklee College of Music asked me to teach three sections of Writing Hit Songs in cohorts of 10-15 teenagers each over 12 weeks. So many songs were written, and teens from all over the world, many of whom had been in quarantine for months, got a chance to connect with one another.
Luka's original version of this classic book
Soul Songs rolled into summer with the continued children’s classes, a middle school aged Songwriting Class and an adult Soul Songs 6 Week Course. The adults in our group showed so much empathy and support for each and they kicked ass on writing songs!
In terms of being an artist, well that was not as easy. I had just released my new album and accompanying storybook, To the Light, and like everyone else, my tour dates were cancelled. The 20-year Live from New York Reunion Tour was also postponed (although we just rebooked it for May 2022) and one of my favorite gigs, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival, where we often connect with many friends, did not happen.
But we stayed connected in other ways! I played online shows, two Live from New York livestreams and I hosted a weekly “To the Light” Book Club where we met and I played one song and read a story and then we all answered discussion questions and made sense of things together. This was a super bright light for me in a really dark time!!! Thank you for being a part of it.
Live from New York being pensive