Are you a songwriter who creates from the depths of your soul to uplift and positively impact others (or wants to)?
Do you have a knowing (or even a little glimpse) that you're here to make the world a better place with your music?
Are you someone who knows that your creativity makes your life easier, happier and more in flow?
If so, Soul Songs School® was created to support you (and your songs) in that.
Writing songs you love requires both building your songwriting toolkit and surrendering to your creative process. Your authentic expression happens when you practice self-compassion, develop your craft and value your unique way of seeing things.
If you’re ready to write songs you feel really good about and cultivate a long-term practice that makes songwriting easier and more sustainable, join our community of supportive songwriters.Enroll Now
A song that when it’s over you exhale and say: “Wow.” Perhaps you notice something specific you love about the song, such as a lyric or line of melody. Or maybe you feel like the song articulated something you’d also been feeling, but didn’t have the words for yet. That’s the craft part.
Then there’s also that mysterious “something,” right? You love the song for reasons you can’t explain. Maybe there are words in it you don’t understand with your mind but you “get them” on another level and it’s powerful. That’s the magic.
Great songs are always some combination of both — that magical, ineffable, gorgeous something you can’t exactly name, AND the craft: the musical, lyrical and structural aspects that allow the song to truly land. They’re inextricably linked and when present, your listeners connect to your song, your message, to you, and even more deeply to themselves.
Soul Songs School® is an online songwriting course designed for soul-fueled songwriters and other creative artists who want to write from a deep place while mastering their craft.
Soul Songs School® is also...
I often meet songwriters who are frustrated by songs they’ve left unfinished. Sometimes they feel like they aren’t in the same emotional space as when they started writing them or they wonder whether the songs are even good enough to try and complete. Maybe you can relate? If you’ve ever wanted to finish writing a song you left behind - and let it work its magic in the world- but instead, you stayed stuck, I get it.
I too have done this and I’ve even come to believe that temporarily getting stuck can be part of the process, but you don’t have to stay so long. There are practical ways to keep moving creatively and bring your songs into being!
No matter where you’re at, here’s a sampling of what you’ll learn in Soul Songs School®:
“Working with Anne Heaton was THE best thing I’ve ever done for myself creatively, on so many levels that I can't even completely articulate. I gained a much greater understanding of how to follow my muse and how to combine technical knowledge with principles of good storytelling, melodic development and connecting with my audience. I gained a huge amount of confidence about my songwriting and now I have a "tool box" filled with great songwriting tools that I can take out and use at any time.”
“Anne Heaton always, always comes from a place of kindness and deep listening. As someone who often gets to be a recipient of her incredible insight and challenging direction, I think to myself, "I am so lucky!" If you know Anne as an artist, you know her deep groove, her unique and unmatched musicality, and the truth that she's able to mine from life's deepest and stickiest places. If you know Anne as a teacher, you know that she uses her years of experience, her intuition, her compassion and her sense of wonder and magic to be the best guide, witness & midwife to the creative process. If you're working with Anne, I now get to say to you: ‘You are so lucky!’”
"I was having major writer's block and I needed outside intervention! The weekly activities, structure and outside support of Soul Songs School were all VERY helpful for getting me working again and I appreciated Anne's gentle, fun, low pressure but very supportive style. This is a wonderful program for all levels, and for people who need flexibility in approaching a songwriting course. Soul Songs School meets you where you are and then offers a platform for you to push off into whatever direction you feel led to go!"
In this 3-month program, you’ll develop your songwriting through the Soul Songs School® Core Curriculum, creative writing prompts, daily practices and all the workshop materials I share at Berklee College of Music.
By listening and interacting with these 12 Teaching Modules, you’ll learn concrete songwriting tools as well as discover different ways you can enter into a creative zone (where you’ll find there are already lots of ingredients for songs!) You’ll hone your craft, receive weekly guidance & rediscover old songs that may still call to you.
In the Soul Songs School® Core Curriculum, I share every songwriting breakthrough I’ve had over the last 20 years. If you hired me privately to work with you one-on-one, you would invest upwards of $5,500. If you opted to attend one of the camps or colleges where I teach you would invest upwards of $5,300 (often not including travel or lodging) to learn this material.
In Soul Songs School®, for less than 1/10th of the investment (for only $497), I’m able to share deeply and in lots of detail because there’s more time to do the lessons and because you’ll have access to the materials for life. I’ll also take you through a process of discovering, trusting and claiming your own unique creative process. This is so important because no one else is exactly like you!
Once you enroll, you'll receive a welcome email with all the details! If you have any questions about the program, please email info AT anneheaton.com
Walk with me and a small group of like-minded songwriters for 9-months as you develop your songwriting mastery, uncover your unique artistic genius & bring your soul songs into being.
This is for you if you’re a songwriter wanting to dive deep and create a body of work you’re deeply proud of.
During our time together, you’ll receive my personal ongoing support and guidance (and 20+ years of songwriting experience) to help you write the songs you most want to write. You’ll also have the support and accountability of other creative artists.
If you’re committed to making a quantum leap in your artistry and desiring enough space & time to bring a songwriting project to life, the 9-Month Soul Songs LUMINARIES Program is the best fit for you. To explore if this is the right fit for you, simply book a free Soul Songs Exploration Session with me by clicking on the link below. In the comment box, please share with me what you'd most like to create with your songs over the next 9 months. I look forward to connecting with you!Book a FREE Soul Songs Exploration Session
Imagine if over the next 9 months you allowed yourself to be fully supported in your creativity & expression as you wrote your songs. Imagine how it would feel to have brought your beautiful creations—perhaps the best you’ve ever made—into the world.
Do you sometimes have that dull ache when you know you are putting off your creative work, the work you were born to do? I have felt this many times and sometimes it takes a while to get moving again.
This is why the Soul Songs LUMINARIES program is a full 9-months to give you the space and time to connect with your creative life on an ongoing basis, without feeling rushed. Your songwriting will be woven into your weekly routine so that when life gets busy, you’ll be able to flow with it, come back, replug into your creative desires, and pick up where you left off. Plus you’ll have the accountability and support of a group of songwriters who want you to succeed! By engaging with this natural cycle, you’ll release the struggle and discover what it’s like to allow the happiness of songwriting to fuel the rest of your life and in turn, your songs.
As creative people, it’s normal to go through some creative resistance every 3 months, after which there’s usually an artistic breakthrough. At the 6-month mark, there can be a bigger hump to get over (usually followed by a much bigger breakthrough!) You’ll receive guidance when you need it, be held accountable to your unique creative purpose and be witnessed in the unfolding of your beautiful songs!
Everything Included in the Core Curriculum MUSES Level (Listed Above)
PLUS: A Private 4-Day Luxury Songwriting Retreat in Breckenridge, Colorado May 17th-21st.
Songwriting magic happens when creative souls gather, especially in a beautiful place! We will stay at a quiet, beautiful home on the Blue River just outside of Breckenridge. We’ll allow the mountains, water and trees of Colorado to inspire our writing! Dinner is included on May 17th. Breakfasts and lunches are included on May 18th, 19th and 20th. Additional dinners and travel are not included (we will go out or order in).
If you're feeling called to participate and you'd like to explore the opportunity to see if it's a good fit, simply book a free Soul Songs Exploration Session by clicking the link below and let me know what you're most desiring to create over the next 9-12 months. I’m only accepting a limited number of people so if you’re interested in the Luminaries level, this is the next step.Book a FREE Soul Songs Exploration Session
As a young person, I deeply longed to express myself through music and words. I suffered from depression and lived in an environment where feelings were not freely expressed so although I was drawn to music, sang in musical theater productions and played classical piano, I was unable to express my own inner world through them.
One night after attending a Tori Amos concert, I started crying because I knew I wanted to be writing songs but I wasn't doing it yet. Finally, the pain of not writing songs outweighed my fear that I wouldn’t be “good at it." So I began. The funny thing was that once I started valuing my own experiences and way of seeing the world - amazing things unfolded! People were drawn to my music and the more honestly I shared, the more the songs resonated. In time, I released 6 albums of my own, toured all over the US, shared the stage with Jewel and Sarah McLachlan and had my music featured on the New York Times Music Podcast.
I was also invited to teach other songwriters. Initially, I loved sharing the results of my creative process (the songs themselves), but it felt very vulnerable to reveal my own creative process. I grew up in a community where things were explained using an intellectual framework. Plus with 15+ years playing classical piano, a BFA in voice and a Berklee scholarship offer, I was more comfortable talking chord progressions and song structures than I was sharing the often mystical and mysterious ways my songs came to be.
At the same time, I knew that if I was going to fully reveal where my songs came from, I needed to reveal the spiritual/creative aspects too. And the truth was, for every song I wrote, there was always some magical and serendipitous aspect. That’s why I created Soul Songs School®.
Over the past five years, I've shared my love for songwriting and the creative process with many songwriters. In Soul Songs School®, I go even deeper and reveal my song recipes as well as the ways I enter into the space where songwriting magic happens!
If you want to be in that magical space along with me (and write your own song recipes!), join our community of songwriters in the 3-Month Soul Songs MUSES Program (here) OR if you’re craving a deeper level of support in the 9-Month LUMINARIES Program, simply book a free Soul Songs Exploration Session & let me know (in the comments) what you'd like to create and what you'd most want to receive from the program and we can explore if it's a good fit.Book a FREE Soul Songs Exploration Session
I'm feeling so much excitement and anticipation about who each of you will be and how your songs will unfold!
“Working with Anne helped me gain the tools to take my writing to the next level. The two biggest benefits I received were confidence and the ability to critically assess my writing. Anne helped guide me to the best version of my songs. Anne is not only was an amazing listener, but also an incredibly talented and inspired teacher with an infectious passion for music. I would highly recommend working with her for anyone who wants to improve their songwriting both musically and lyrically.”
“I played my new songs for a few peers last week and they said they see a huge difference in my approach to writing. I said it was due to Soul Songs School®! Through my participation in the program, I gained more insight into my writing style and abilities, I learned how to break mental blocks and how to refocus after a distraction has derailed me. Anne has a unique was of getting you to trust yourself and your inner voice.”
“Similar to the Artist’s Way and writing morning pages, Anne’s feedback and prompts led me to develop my skills and enliven my creative self. Anne is warm-hearted and kind, and she gently steers her students toward becoming experts at songwriting. She brings a wealth of information–both creative and inspirational–to Soul Songs School®, and she offers a unique, educated perspective on building great songs.
You are very lucky to get to work with Anne! She is a brilliant, musical, mindful person who will get your songs to that next level."
“Tapping into my creativity and learning to listen to it, learning to give myself space to be creative, and new avenues & writing exercises for getting into the right state of mind were all big benefits of Soul Songs School®. It was also good to have a regular schedule and expectations. Anne is great! She is extremely positive, patient and encouraging. This is incredibly important when you, as a student, are new to something that makes you feel vulnerable. She is the ideal mentor!"
Singer-songwriter and pianist Anne Heaton has amassed awards and praise from critics, fellow artists and fans with her songs that are by turns “tender, barbed and spiritual” (Washington Post). Her graceful, vulnerable, and at times, humorous pop-folk songs have captured audience imaginations for over a decade.
Heaton has played the Sundance Film Festival, Lilith Fair (2010), and was a featured artist on the New York Times Music Podcast (where her music was called "absolutely gorgeous"). Heaton has also played numerous times on NPR and has shared the stage with some of her favorite artists including Sarah McLachlan and jazz drummer Max Roach. In 2012, she was invited to perform on The Cayamo Cruise as part of Winterbloom (featuring Antje Duvekot, Meg Hutchinson and Natalia Zukerman) with artists such as Keb ‘Mo and The Civil Wars.
Known for the infectious energy of her live performances — “a natural performer [with] a rich, soaring voice” (Seattle Times) — Heaton has toured throughout the US since 2001 playing acoustic venues, outdoor theaters and festivals. In addition to her own shows, Heaton has toured with/opened for Jewel, Melissa Ferrick, Martin Sexton, HEM, Chris Trapper and Jonatha Brooke.
Heaton studied Great Books at the University of Notre Dame, writing her senior thesis on Debussy’s piano works and then enriched her musical experience by studying composition and jazz vocals at The City College of New York. Always a big fan of Peter Gabriel, the Indigo Girls and Tori Amos, she also became fascinated by early American spirituals while living in New York, and sang in a Harlem gospel choir directed by John Motley.
Heaton has taught/teaches at Berklee College of Music’s Summer Songwriting Workshop, in the Performing Songwriter Division for Berklee’s 5-Week Program, at GRAMMYCamp and for Interlochen’s Singer-Songwriter Program. Her most recent albums are Honeycomb and Dora and her next album is coming out next year.
When Heaton is not writing songs, she thoroughly enjoys Wes Anderson films, a really good cup of coffee and hanging out/laughing with her husband and two daughters.
Anne’s weekly support gives you the treasure of being with your own life, your experiences and vulnerabilities and to see what comes out of you! She has so many ways to free us from our inner critic and allow for our souls to flow through. I longed for each new week’s inspiration and would be so excited and giddy to listen, think and work through a new idea or new question!
I wanted to find new ideas to improve my songwriting. At the time, I felt like my writing as in a rut, doing the same things over and over. In Soul Songs School®, I got a giant new tool chest. Now I’m seeing ways to improve what I’m working on and I say: “Let me try that new idea.”
For example, my tendency was to back off the writing of concrete details because in some previous attempts, I failed to anticipate which ones were cringeworthy and which were good. The wrong ones can be really bad. Anne helped me to find the courage to dive back in and simply make better choices.
I’m now writing differently and in a good way. My songwriting has had an uptick. There were things I knew in the abstract, but the way the materials were presented really brought the lessons home for me, slowed me down and made them concrete.
I would say to someone considering doing Soul Songs School: “Do it! Anne is fantastic! It opens up all sorts of new possibilities. It will open your eyes!”
“Anne, you’re so wonderful for wanting to distribute your knowledge on songwriting/expose us to people and opportunities we wouldn’t have known about! Your songwriting lessons helped me a lot. I’m a better person and singer-songwriter as a result!”
“I got into USC Thornton today so I think I might owe you a big thank you! I am so grateful for you as a mentor and friend and I really grew as a songwriter in my time in your songwriting circle this winter! Please keep up the awesomeness!”
In this module, you’ll explore 8 different aspects of melody and how they can help you deliver your song’s message more authentically, beautifully and distinctively. You'll also discover what the Creativity Key of Freedom reveals about Who You Are As An Artist.
In this module, you’ll discover how to write a captivating first verse (and carry that knowledge into the writing of all of your other verses). You’ll also discover how the second Creativity Key of Love can clarify your song's message.
In this module, you’ll explore writing a song with a powerful song blueprint that is ubiquitous (it’s everywhere in popular music, folk music, rap, etc.) You'll also continue to access your own inner world using the Creativity Key of Kindness.
In this module, you’ll explore common chord progressions found in songs by Irving Berlin, U2 and The Beatles. You'll also explore The Axis of Awesome and discover how the Creativity Key of Intimacy can unlock your descriptive writing abilities.
In this module, you’ll learn why showing and telling are both integral to good songwriting and how Patty Griffin, Cassandra Wilson and other songwriters approach these two aspects. You’ll also discover how self-care and the Creativity Key of Belief can refresh your lyric writing!
In this module, you’ll learn how to tell the stories that truly matter to you in ways that resonate deeply with others. You’ll also explore the Creativity Key of Connection and how storytelling builds bridges.
In this module, you’ll learn how to surrender to your muse and the miracles this can bring about! You’ll also explore the Creativity Key of Trust.
In this module, you’ll look closely at 4 primary song structures —and discover how they're used by Crowded House, Fiona Apple, Bill Withers, Conor Oberst, Johnny Cash & Taylor Swift. You’ll also explore turning something painful into something beautiful using the Creativity Key of Alchemy.
In this module, you’ll explore more ways of developing your melodies, different approaches to emotional resonance and how to reharmonize a song. You'll also get to know the Creativity Key of Gentleness.
In this module, you’ll look at a musical technique that professional songwriters use to create a dramatic and satisfying effect. You’ll also explore melodic hooks and the Creativity Key of Listening.
In this module, you’ll discover how the right sensory details open up a world of memories and feelings in your listener. You'll also explore the way archetypal stories, your daily practice and the Creativity Key of Desire can reconnect you with your desire!
In this module, you’ll explore what classic songs reveal about showing vs. telling and how melody and lyrics work together with examples from Paul McCartney, Alannah Myles and "My Funny Valentine". You’ll also discover why the Creativity Key of Surrender is at the heart of all the rest!
Soul Songs School® is designed to meet you where you are so whether you’re brand new to songwriting or have been writing songs for decades, you’ll be able to hone and deepen your songwriting practice through the techniques and writing assignments.
By following the prompts and step-by-step processes, you’ll be well on your way to writing your first song! Some of the musical lessons may be easier for you if you have some musical background, but specialized skills are not required.
Soul Songs School® was designed to be flexible and fit into a busy life. In fact, it’s good if you have a full life because then you'll have more to write about :)
At a minimum, you’ll be freewriting for 30 minutes a week and listening for approximately an hour to the Songwriting Lessons & weekly Creativity Keys. Beyond that, you can spend as a little or as much time as you like working on your songs.
One benefit of the internet is that we can connect with like-minded songwriters and kindred spirits that may not live near us. In the 3-Month program, you’ll have an opportunity to hear and learn from others’ questions during our Q&A calls and be a part of a greater songwriting community you otherwise might not. For the 9-Month program, you’ll have the additional opportunity to share your songs with supportive group members, receive feedback from Anne and gather with the other songwriters at our in-person retreat!
When you share from your heart, whether it’s a story, a viewpoint, an image, a memory, etc. others will be touched by your song/art/creation. By sharing your humanity, you connect with others. It’s can be a happy inspiration-making circle. When you share, you feel less alone and others feel less alone. Soul Songs School® provides you with the tools to develop your craft and mine your creative gold. When you combine both of these, you have the opportunity to create something beautiful that you and others can appreciate.
Soul Songs School® is for songwriters and aspiring songwriters ages 14-100+. The Soul Songs School® curriculum is what I teach adults all over the US as well as high school students in the GRAMMYCamps, at Berklee College of Music and in other high school and college programs.
Anne has both the training and the real-world music experience to help you along your path as a songwriter. If you’re considering signing up for Soul Songs School®, I would say: “Do it!”
“One of the biggest benefits I received in the Soul Songs Luminaries Program is the amount of resources given over the course of six months. I expect to refer back to them for years to come.
I’ve participated in many workshops over the years but this is unique. Anne’s use of the Creativity Keys (freedom, love, kindness, intimacy, connection, etc.) was just what I was looking for. It’s the stuff of humanity and that’s what I want to better bring to my own songwriting as well as share and connect with others.
If you are looking to stimulate your writing, better your craft, and particularly learn techniques to help get at the heart of what you want to write about, I recommend Anne and the Soul Songs Luminaries program.”