Songwriting summer workshop for high school teens.

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Vocal Ensemble

Poetry Writing


"I was able to put my thoughts into lyrics and in that I discovered my style."

Students with experience playing instruments and/or who enjoy singing delve into the craft and artistry of songwriting and composition. Students will focus on the core elements of folk and blues “roots” styles, in both traditional and contemporary form. From pop to hip-hop, from country to jazz, much of contemporary music is drawn from these styles. Students listen to and study great songs from these traditions as they create and then record their own compositions. Students perform their own or one another’s work for the entire community.

Each day there will be 60-90 minutes of solo writing time with the instructor giving individual guidance to students on varying days. Essentially, students will have at least one private composition lesson a week, and the rest of the time will be spent writing and exploring.  The Putney School's Currier Center is a state of the art building with a wonderful music lab, equipped with all the technology you would need to have a successful summer writing music in Vermont: Sibelius, Pro Tools, and Audacity are all available as well as other specialized programs.

Experience in songwriting is not required; students should, however, be able to play a piano/keyboard or chordal instrument and be fluent in traditional music notation or tablature. Applicants must submit a digital audio file or recording and a completed Music Self-Assessment Form when applying for this workshop.


Vocal Ensemble teacher

Faculty: Joshua Harper

Joshua Harper maintains an active career as a conductor, tenor, and composer. In 2016 he made his Canadian debut conducting the Grammy-award nominated Elora Festival Singers as one of the five conductors from North America selected for the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir Emerging Conductor’s Symposium. In 2015 he was one of eight conductors selected for the Yale School of Music Norfolk Chamber Music Festival where he was awarded an Ellen Battell-Stoeckel Fellowship studying with Simon Carrington.

From 2013 - 2016 Joshua was the Director of Choirs at The Williston Northampton School where he held the George E. Gregory and Catherine B. Gregory Instructorship overseeing a choral program of five choral ensembles. He grew the program to over double its previous size bringing in guest artists such as “Roomful of Teeth” and “The Whiffenpoofs” alongside many guest conductors.

In addition to conducting, Joshua maintains an active schedule as a professional choral singer. 2017 engagements include recording sessions with composer/conductors Dan Forrest, Craig Courtney, and Dominick DiOrio. His scholarly edition of Franz Schubert’s “Die Einsiedeli” is published by Colla Voce, Inc., and was featured on the publishers reading session at the 2015 National ACDA convention. Joshua served on the Massachusetts ACDA board from 2013 - 2016, presenting at the Massachusetts Music Educator’s Association conference each year in Boston leading the High School Reading Session.

Joshua is currently pursuing his Doctor of Music in Choral Conducting at the Jacobs School of Music, Indiana University where he is an Associate Instructor, working with the University Singers, All Campus Choir and the Opera Choruses. He studies with Betsy Burleigh, Dominick DiOrio, and Walter Huff. He holds an M.M. in Choral Conducting from UMass-Amherst where he studied with Tony Thornton, and a B.A. in Vocal Performance and Music Composition from Lipscomb University.

Joshua loves black coffee, opera, Indian food, and Caroline Shaw’s Partita for 8 Voices.


The Putney School Summer Programs
Elm Lea Farm, 418 Houghton Brook Road,
Putney, Vermont 05346 USA
802-387-6297 (main), (802) 387-6216 (fax)

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