SUMMERSONGS -- I first heard about Summersongs, by word-of-mouth, from a friend I had met while serving as a band videographer years back. She said that this songwriting camp was the perfect vehicle to get out from behind my camera and start writing and performing like I had always wanted. Up until then, I didn't know how to even get started writing songs or performing in front of other people. In fact, I wasn't sure I had the "right stuff" to even do this, figuring that musicians were born, not made. But I wanted to learn, and from what I was told, Summersongs was a warm, nurturing community to start learning, making some mistakes in a non-judging environment, and growing step-by-step. With a little healthy skepticism, I signed-up for a camp, fully expecting that it couldn't be as perfect as billed. But I figured it was better than just sitting around wishing I could change. What i found, at my first camp in the summer of 2008, was an eye-opener -- a beautiful camp setting in the NY Catskills, and even more important, beautiful people who loved music and loved sharing their knowledge about it. That week, I learned how to approach writing songs and, just as importantly, how to break my writer's block (which often struck me at the time). I learned to accept my own musical vision and my own style as worthwhile while bringing it out from my heart and mind to my voice and guitar. I learned that I COULD change and even progress at my own pace, all the while having a blast! I have been a regular at camp ever since, treasuring it as much as a learning time as a social reunion with kindred spirits. More than that, I have started taking my music and performing it outside of camp for others who now look at me and say, "I wish I could do that, but...." I can honestly and open-heartedly recommend Summersongs to them and anyone else looking for a change to do just as I did -- live my dreams, grow, have fun, and pass the helping hand to others.
My experience with Summersongs only goes back two years, but what's now more important is that this experience will be continued for many more years in the future. I'm a middle-aged techie who has loved music all my life. Long ago, I decided to pursue a mostly non-music career based on a skewed perception that creating music was the province of the few and the gifted. But I always wondered what it could be like for me. A couple years back, at the urging of a friend, I attended my first Summersongs camp. It was like a revelation! This diverse of community of kindred spirits showed me how accessible my dream of becoming more musically creative really was. Even though we are united by our love of music, we also share compassion, knowledge and true friendship while helping each other realize our aspirations. For me, this transcendance allows me to reshape my vision of my future in a decidedly more musically-active direction. Thanks to Summersongs, I'm writing, performing and learning more every day. The community of Summersongs friendship keeps me going all year round, even when not in camp, but returning to this newfound world is always anticipated. Penny Nichols epitomizes the Summersongs experience, and attracts, nurtures, and binds us all in our creative journeys. My life has been immensely richer for this experience!
I have been attending Summersongs camps since 2008 and they have had a profound effect on my musical journey. Penny Nichols has created a wonderfully supportive group of instructors who not only are masters at their crafts but will nurture your soul as they help you grow musically.
Review from Guidestar
Summersongs is a life changing experience. I first went 10 years ago to check out the songwriting camp. I haven't missed one since. It offers amazing support and education. The instructors are amazing, the community is welcoming and supportive, and everyone within the community takes every opportunity to lift up and support new attendees. The vision of Penny Nichols, founder, is truly a life long gift to everyone who signs up for Summersongs or Wintersongs. I recommend it to anyone who wants to further enhance their creativity.
I have attended three Wintersongs camps and two Summersongs camps and they have all been amazing experiences. The instructors are incredibly talented and generous with their time, and very supportive. I have grown so much as a songwriter, singer, musician but more importantly as a person. I'm basicly a shy person and the thought of singing before a large group of people was terrifying to me. Now, I look forward to performing and I find it a thrilling experience. I have found a wonderful community in Summersongs.
Summersongs... I have attended Summersongs, every year, since 2001. I do not play an instrument, nor do I read music....but I write lyrics and have the melody in my head. The instuctors and other students bring my songs to fruition. I even get my charts done for me so that I can have other musicians play my songs for me. I have never met a more caring or dedicated group of instructors. With their help I have written more than a dozen songs and recorded 5 of them. I have made some life-long friends. The New York camp site is wonderful. I plan all my vacation time around camp...it is the best vacation ever ! Fran Stone
Summersongs is a wonderful workshop/camp experience for musicians/singers/songwriters. It is a place where beginning and experienced musicians come together to share and experience the beautiful experiences of music, to teach and learn about how to write and compose songs and lyrics, and to strengthen musical bonds and community. One of the best parts of Summersongs is the inclusion of everyone, even people brand new to the music community. All levels are encouraged to share and grow in a supportive environment. Classes, performances, and small group opportunities are offered so everyone can share and experience the wonderful and valuable gift of music.
I adore Summersongs. I have been attending the week long summer sessions for 10 years and these are consistently among the most joyous weeks of my life. There is magic in being in a warm, loving, supportive community where each member is encouraged to emerge as an artist and performer. Without a doubt the best concerts I've ever attended are the Summersongs student shows. These concerts are abundant with love for music, art and the uniqueness and value of each and every artist. Each year a community is quickly formed. Every meal has the buzz of a high school or sleep away camp cafeteria. The coolest people come to this camp and I have made some dear friends through it. And this experience has given me the confidence develop as a singer/songwriter and go out into the world and share my music. That's fun! Steven Prasinos