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Guitarist Writing Song

Workshop Information

Lebanon, TN

The Little House Workshop offers very limited seating for a two- day workshop/co-writing session. We pair two students with one pro writer for a co-write (co-writing is the term used in our industry referring to songs written by two or more people). At the end of the two days, it is our hope that you will walk away holding songs co-written with one of the pro- writers and ready for commercial exposure. Although there is no guarantee that a song will be completed on your first visit, it will not be for lack of trying. Learning through example and personal involvement with a pro-writer is like pole-vaulting to the next stage in songwriting. The collaborations are fun and a true taste of what real Nashville co-writing is all about.


Enrollment fee for the songwriting workshop is $850.00 per student for this two-day experience. The tuition includes hearty lunches for Day 1 and Day 2. We also host a dinner for the evening of Day 2, which includes an extra ticket for the evening if you choose to bring a guest. The evening sports beverages: domestic beer and Winking Owl wine, and a songwriting round in a traditional guitar pull style to provide a real taste of a songwriter’s musical evening. Of course, there will be snacks, coffee, water, and tea throughout your time here.


The writing days start at 10:00am – 5:00pm on Day 1. We start back to work on Day 2 at 10:00 am and write until approximately 4:00pm. We then gather and play the songs we have created for each other, wrapping up by 5:00pm. At 6:00pm on Day 2 dinner will be served and following dinner there is a writer’s round/jam. We will also include some extra guests (surprises to help support a fun song round).

One of the services we provide during the two day workshop is a study/critique  of one of your creations. This it totally voluntary, so if you would be interested in this service we ask that you come with a composition you have previously written and 3 copies of the lyric so we can follow along and make notes. You are welcome to play a recording or sing the song live. Make sure it’s a song you feel might have room for improvement, not one that you think you’ve completed and are happy with. Critiques are helpful in discovering where your strengths and weaknesses are in your song and are meant to be a positive experience. Though it’s not mandatory, it’s always appreciated if you bring song ideas for the co-writing sessions. If you have some partial songs written, don’t be afraid to bring those, they will help boost the chance to get more songs written and move things right along.


The Nashville International Airport is about 35 minutes away from the Wee Farm. We are unable to provide transportation so if you choose to fly you will need to also make arrangements for transport to Lebanon, TN. Uber & Lyft are great options but returning to BNA from Lebanon may prove difficult.


There is plenty of lodging to choose from. They are located off of I-40, exit #236 and #238 in Lebanon, Tennessee. I have not stayed at any of these locations so these are not my recommendations only some choices for you to check out. 


Lodging located near the Little House Workshops

La Quinta Inn and Suites 615-470-1001

Lebanon, TN

Econo Lodge 


Lebanon, TN

Days Inn 


Lebanon, TN

Holiday Inn Express & Suites 

(615) 994-3225

Lebanon, TN

Fairfield Inn & Suites 

(615) 470-2224 

Lebanon, TN

My Place Hotel 

(615) 784-4760 

Lebanon, TN

Comfort Suites 


Lebanon, TN

Ramada Inn 


Lebanon, TN

Hampton Inn & Suites 


Lebanon, TN

Sleep Inn & Suites 

(615) 449-7005 

Lebanon, TN

Quality Inn 

(615) 444-7020 

Lebanon, TN

Ramada by Wyndham 

(615) 444-7400 

Lebanon, TN


These are all located near restaurants and fast foods.


This year we have an additional opportunity for unique lodging located right down the street from the Little House Workshops! Rebekah Speer is offering to rent her two guest rooms, each with a private bathroom and coffee in the mornings for $85.00 per night. They go fast so if you are interested in this form of lodging email Rebekah Speer or text/call 615-972-4127 so that she can reserve a room for you. 


Menu items will be some farm cooking!

Rick and I enjoy preparing food and we tend to make more than plenty so be hungry! Erin Salley (wife of Jerry Salley) also has a gifted hand in the kitchen and contributes to the feasting. If you have a dietary restriction, please let us know in advance and we will try to accommodate. There will also be snacks available during the writing sessions as writing can be hard work and you need to keep your strength up!


The adult beverages will be good old USA domestic beers and Winking Owl Chardonnay and Cabernet for wine selections. These will be reserved for our Day 2 evening picking and grinning event.


One of the things we love the most about our workshops is creating an opportunity for our attendees to socialize, meet other like-minded, creative writers and artists, and learn to connect with industry folks who they might want to pitch songs to in the future. We try to offer that opportunity on Day 2 during the evening gathering. We can’t always guarantee who will get to join us, but we really try to stock the night with some industry folks and fun!


Here is the way the time rolls at the Little House...

Little House Workshop Schedule


Day 1

Lunch will be at the discretion of each class (eat when you’re hungry)

9:30-10:00 am coffee time where we meet and greet. 

10:00-12:00 Jerry Salley, Rick Stanley and Donna Ulisse talk about writing songs, and we will also try to critique some songs during these hours.

12:00-5:00 We will break into our first group of 2 attendees and a pro-writer and start our first songwriting session.


Day 2

9:30-10:00 am Coffee and recap on previous day

10:00-5:00 We will switch groups up and start writing through our next

songwriting session, giving everyone attending a chance to write with each pro writer.

5:00-6:00 Cocktail hour while we rush around getting your dinner ready, lol.

6:00-7:00 Piggin’ out time…we will get to eat and laugh and talk. 

7:00-9:00 Pickin’ and grinning time! 

And then comes the sad farewells.


With limited seats offered it will be first come, first served. We are using the wonderful quote, “When they’re gone, they’re gone!” so reserve your seat early to make sure you get the Workshop you desire.

Lebano, TN

Strawberry Point, IA - Strawberry Point Jam Camp

July 24-26, 2024.  The Songwriters Workshop is an extension of the Strawberry Jam Camp held the week before the Backbone Bluegrass Festival held in July. Dabble at writing song lyrics? Interested in pursuing songwriting as something more than a hobby? Then you need to attend this songwriters workshop. 

When you spend a few days in a songwriting workshop with Donna, Rick & Jerry you will cover a lot of ground! Beginning songwriters to seasoned songwriters are welcome! The workshop offers the following and more:

Song Critique: Bring a song you would like to share. It can be partially formed or complete. You can perform it in front of the class or just read the lyrics if there is no melody. Donna, Rick, and Jerry will share their insight on the strong parts of your song and areas you might be able to strengthen. If you do not have a song, you can participate by listening to the songs and suggestions.

Song Structure: The workshop will be covering song structure including rhyme patterns, what a “hook” is, titling your song, how to tighten your lyrics, using imagery in your lyrics for more interest, metering, song scaping (how to observe life around you for song ideas), marrying a lyric to the right melody, writing melody (if you don’t play an instrument), what is a bridge and when does a song need one, and so much more.

Co-writing: Many songwriters who attend a songwriting workshop have never co-written. Jerry, Rick, and Donna will pair you up with another songwriter and give you a writing assignment. You will work on co-writing a song with your instructors offering insight and some assistance along the way. Co-writing is an extremely useful tool to grow as a songwriter and helps you step out of your comfort zone.

 Be sure to bring paper and pencil, laptop or any writing tools you use as well as the instrument you write with. 

Strawberry Point
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