Wow! What an excellent songwriting workshop Kat Danser put on through SaskMusic on a snowy, snowy Wednesday evening at The Exchange. There were several singer-songwriters in attendance, and did we get a treat. Kat has such a natural ability to use language creatively and spontaneously, just in her examples and analogies. Her voice is perfect for teaching. During the evening she recited a poem twice and asked us to close our eyes, to experience how changes in word rhythm, scansion, accentuation, etc. may impact meaning. To me, Kat has one of those voices that flows so easily that it is the quality of it (the actual sound) that was most meaningful for me; her voice is warmly inviting. …She could have been reading the dictionary!
At any rate, there was plenty more practicality, which is so appreciated. My biggest lesson had to do with inspiration. Kat broke the songwriting process down into three phases: inspiration, attunement and perspiration. At the inspiration stage, I kind of always thought that it is the job of the songwriter to notice, to be aware, to be receptive to what is going on around them. So, I felt that inspiration was, by and large, out in the world and I just had to observe and record whatever lifted my artistic sensibilities. Kat conducted an inspiration exercise, where we wrote freely for 15 minutes. I had a song idea and I wrote into that. As simple as that task may sound, the process really deepened the pool of possibility from which lyrics could be drawn for me. In other words I realized that there is work to be done, other than noticing, at the inspiration stage.
Maybe the ultimate test of a songwriter/teacher is to listen to how she moves words into her own songs; I purchased her latest CD, “Baptized by the Mud” (2013). I quite enjoy the songs O’ Mary Don’t You Weep, Notes from the Other Side and You Gotta Move. I would highly recommend Kat Danser’s workshops (and, of course, music) to any singer-songwriter.