About

SongStudio in Toronto • July 22 – 28, 2017

Write • Co-write • Perform • Record • Network

“This has been a !@#$ amazing week of music!”
(Alexander Hynes, Glasgow, Scotland)

…see also, A Day At SongStudio

From Saturday July 22 through to Friday July 28, 2017, for our 13th year in a row, we will once again enjoy intimate concerts and Q&A sessions with well-known and up-and-coming songwriters, education and info sessions with music producers, publishers and other industry types, as well as one-on-one access to engaged and passionate faculty members, who also happen to be acclaimed songwriters. Held again this year at The Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto, this “week-long adventure in songwriting” will be led by music industry veteran Blair Packham, along with musicians/songwriters Bill McKetrick and Allister Bradley, and a faculty of fantastic guest songwriters and music industry specialists.

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“A life‐changing experience!”
(Rachael Kennedy, Oakville, Ontario)

As always, the week will focus on learning how to write your best songs ever. There will be many chances for performing in front of supportive, attentive audiences in a warm, nurturing environment.

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SongStudio’s format is designed to help you acquire strategies and tools to help turn your ideas into real, finished songs. Good songs that speak to your audience. If you have something to express through song, we can help. Maybe you only write lyrics. At SongStudio, chances are you’ll meet someone who needs help with their words, or who only writes music. And in the meantime, we can help you make your lyrics communicate more effectively, and help you learn how to write effective, compelling melodies and chord changes.

“This event lived up to its billing big‐time.  Blair Packham and Rik Emmett are getting this SongStudio thing down to a science.  The opportunities to co‐write for me were the highlight of the week and there were many high points.  Playing at Toronto venues like the Cadillac Lounge, C’est What? and the Rivoli was totally unexpected and was a ton of fun!  The camaraderie and support for performances by co‐participants helped create a true sense of family…”
(Smokin’ Joe Wiseman, Stephenville, Newfoundland & Labrador)

Something else happens at our workshops. Some might call it networking. We prefer to think of it as making friends, and if the last eleven years are any indication, many of the friendships made at our past workshops will be for life. This is a beautiful thing. So often, songwriting is a solitary art. When the experience can be shared, a community builds.


This video series features many of our past participants

At SongStudio you will sing, you will laugh, you will listen, you’ll “talk shop”, but most of all, you will grow as a writer and as an artist.

“The best one-week immersion in the art and craft of music that I’ve ever experienced!”
(Doug Ward, Mississauga, Ontario)

Past Workshops

Rik Emmett and Blair Packham ran their original workshop (2005 – 2008) in partnership with Humber College in Toronto and the program was rich with opportunities for growth and development by all of the participants.  In 2009—without changing its essence—Rik and Blair decided to rename the workshop “SongStudio” and move it to downtown Toronto, to the campus of Ryerson University.  We moved again to the Royal Conservatory of Music in 2012, and we’re loving our new home.

Our alumni have gone on to make and release their own recordings, many of them performing and touring, too. One alumnus (Justin Nozuka) was a nominee for Best New Artist at the 2007 Juno Awards and became the top independent download artist in the UK the following year. Another SongStudio vet (Maggie Szabo) recently signed a recording and publishing deal with True North Records, Canada’s oldest independent record label and one of its largest. Yet another alumnus is currently working on her debut album with producer/manager Grieg Nori, (Sum41, treble charger, Hedley).

“Loads of talent, huge range of ages and degrees of accomplishment.  Throw into this mix a smattering of celebrity songwriter Q&A and major blurring of the lines between faculty and students, and the week is truly a kickstart for creativity”
(Hartt Goldman, Fernie, British Columbia)

Core SongStudio figures Bill McKetrick and Allister Bradley have also been involved in the workshop since its inception, first as participants (2005), and then recording demos for workshop participants in subsequent years. Both are now actively involved in the organization and running of the workshop, with Bill assuming the role of Operations Director, and Allister as Technical Director.  These two are an active part of the workshop day and night, including evening opportunities to further workshop participants’ songs.

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SongStudio faculty stay with the workshop for a minimum of couple of days, and often are present all week long. Past faculty included Dan Hill, Jessica Mitchell, The Northern Pikes, Christopher Ward (“Black Velvet” for Alanah Myles), the late Haydain Neale (jacksoul), Andy Kim (“Sugar, Sugar”, “Rock Me Gently”), Lisa Dalbello, Grieg Nori (Sum41, Hedley), Sara Kamin, Jim Vallance (“Cuts Like a Knife”, “Summer of ’69” and many others for Bryan Adams, Heart, Scorpions and more), Suzie Vinnick, Emm Gryner, Ember Swift, Terence Gowan, James Linderman, Justin Gray (Joss Stone), Damhnait Doyle (Shaye, The Heartbroken), Shari Ulrich, Jules Shear (“If She Knew What She Wants” by The Bangles, “All Though the Night” by Cyndi Lauper) and many more.

“The impact SongStudio has had on me as a developing artist is unrivaled by any other workshop I have attended thus far.  It is a challenging oasis that allows me to focus solely on songwriting all day, every day, for an entire week in the company of equally‐inspired individuals.  The interactions and in­‐depth workshops with world class mentors, such as Ron Hynes and Marc Jordan (to name a couple) enabled me, for the first time, to feel confident and rightful in calling myself a ‘songwriter’.”
(Meghan Morrison, Toronto, Ontario)


This video series features many of our past SongStudio faculty members

The workshop also features single-day visits from renowned songwriters and artists. SongStudio guests have included Ron Sexsmith, Steven Page, Ed Robertson (Barenaked Ladies), Danny Michel, Shirley Eikhard (“Something to Talk About” for Bonnie Raitt), Jenny Whiteley, Andy Stochansky (“Shine”), Lindy, Simon Law (“Back 2 Life/Back 2 Reality” for Soul II Soul), John Capek (“Rhythm of My Heart” for Rod Stewart), Marc Jordan, Ron Hynes, Wendell Ferguson, Stephan Moccio (“A New Day” by Celine Dion), Dala, Murray McLauchlan, Mia Sheard, Bob Snider, Dan Kershaw, Arlene Bishop, and Bruce Cockburn, as well as a long list of music publishers, music supervisors, producers, managers, agents, and record label representatives.

Register now!