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Songwriting with Ex Forces Veterans

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 Stand Easy Productions 2020 has been a very strange year, but despite its challenges I still managed to produce some great music with 'Stand Easy Productions'. Stand Easy are a live performance organisation setup with the intention of supporting sick and traumatised war veterans through engagement with live theatre arts. This year however, due to the restrictions of the lockdown, a new approach was pioneered using video production as a vehicle for theatrical and musical expression. It was a great pleasure to be asked to contribute to this project in the capacity of musical director. Over the course of an intensive four week period we worked together in a carefully monitored bubble, doing our best to stay healthy and safe. It was a real challenge to compose songs and produce video while masked and socially distanced. There were some tense and difficult moments when the material brought up intense feelings for some of the participants but everyone held-fast and we managed to get

Songwriting Workshop at Falkland

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A very cold and frosty Sunday in December 2018 saw a group of shivering songwriting talents arrive at the workshop space in Falkland's  Centre for Stewardship . It was truly chilly outside but we soon had a roaring fire going and things began to warm up in no time.  After the obligatory round of coffee, welcomes and introductions I presented the group with a bespoke PowerPoint presentation on songwriters and their words of wisdom covering everyone from Jimmy Webb to Carol King and beyond. Next, I introduced the 'seven stories' concept and some of the basic ideas behind narrative songwriting techniques. To demonstrate this I showed how I had come to create the Dundee Back Stories Songbook using a year of local newspaper headlines and I went into some detail on the the creation of one of the resulting songs - Deadline Carriageway   the terrifying tale of an errant gritter wagon at rush hour! After lunch everyone proceeded to find a quiet(ish) space to hone o