Song School

emPower Music & Art's
Totally Cool Song School

February 26, 2018
All Day!

The Beautiful Tampa Westshore Marriott


7th Annual Totally Cool Song School!

Beginning or seasoned songwriters will have the opportunity to take their skills to the next level. Small classes and award winning hit songwriters make this the ultimate learning and fun experience.  This year’s faculty includes: Sloan Wainwright, David Roth, Daniel Nahmod, Freebo.

$199 (2 meals included)


Classes are small, allowing lots of “one on one” time with the instructors.  Most classes are 8 people or less.  Each class is two hours long and you have 2 to choose from in two time slots, along with optional classes, song circles, and mentoring (extra charge)



Schedule Coming Soon! Check Out Last Year's Schedule Below:

First Period: 10:00 AM-Noon

Sloan Wainwright  "Singing with your Heart, Soul, and Body" Vocal Immersion all day class for both morning and afternoon slots.

Inside each of us lives a beautiful and unique instrument, so let's sing together with joy and freedom!  In this workshop we will move our bodies, soften our hearts, open our mouths and let our voices out to play.  With an emphasis on vocal health and self-care, we’ll use a combination of vocal warm-ups and workouts - traditional and non-traditional - to help relax, release and strengthen the voice, making it more flexible and reliable.  Individual attention is offered as well as to the group as a whole, and each student will be supported in developing their own personal vocal practice.  This class is for singers AND non-singers alike.

David Roth:  "Songwriting for Personal and Global Change"
What’s going on that’s gotten your attention of late?  It’s good timing for a class like this in full swing of all that’s going on in the world right now.  Today we’ll redefine the connection between what is deeply personal and what paints with a broader brush in the realm of the human condition.  Can a song make a difference?  We’ll use writing prompts, spirited conversation, current events, and everything else you bring into our lightening session and come away with the seeds for songs worth singing (if not the very songs themselves).  Nuts and bolts of songwriting will also be addressed, and by day’s end we’ll see how music can inspire, engage, stimulate, and reach out in the spirit of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and so many more.

Lunch with Teachers 12:15-1:30 (included)

Second Period: 1:45-3:45

Part Two of Sloan Wainwright's "Singing with your Heart, Soul, and Body"

Third Period: 4:00-5:30 PM

Optional Mentoring Sessions
$30 for 25 minutes
“Songs Held in Mind” with Richard Mekdeci

Dinner: 6:00-7:30 PM (included)

Night School: 7:45 PM

Song Circles: Share a song in a small, intimate setting
Sue Riley:  "Imaginative Imagery: Writing from Prompts"
A mental picture is worth a thousand words.  How can we draw the listener into our song with imagery and details, and get them to connect with our story?  When we perform our songs live we have the opportunity to connect with folks through our music.  What makes our songs stand out from others and makes them something that the listener will remember and want to hear again?  A song rich in imagery can paint a picture in the listeners’ head which they can adapt to their own memories.  Ahhhh, the possibilities are endless!  Be poetic!  Combine your lyrics in new and magical ways!
This creative process workshop will focus on adding more imagery to your writing and you will be writing from prompts.  Please bring pen and paper and prepare to capture the songwriting ideas that this class can generate.

Teacher Bios

David Roth has been leading workshops on songwriting, singing, and performance for more than two decades and is honored to be a part of the Posi Music Festival once more.  Now in his 27th year of full-time music-making, David’s songs have found their way to Carnegie Hall, the United Nations, several Chicken Soup for the Soul books, the Kennedy Center, the Kingston Trio, Peter Paul & Mary concerts, NASA’s Space Shuttle Atlantis (his song, “Rocket Science” circled the earth in 2009), the “Rise Up Singing” Songbook, more than 300 New Thought Centers throughout North America, countless coffeehouses, conferences, concert halls, festivals, and 13 CDs on the Wind River and Stockfisch (Germany) labels. The former artist-in-residence at New York’s Omega Institute won his 4th consecutive Posi Award last year (among 10 nominations since we began) and joyfully returns to our gathering from his home on Cape Cod where for the past 8 years he’s hosted the Full Moon Open Mic, providing a forum for local musicians to connect and be heard while at the same time collecting donations for local non-profit organizations. (


Sloan Wainwright  

Sloan Wainwright is a singer and a songwriter of rare power and subtlety, serving up doses of the real and the mysterious in a soaring, soulful contralto that sends critics scrambling for metaphors equal to the thrill: “the aural equivalent of smoky, tantalizing aromas emanating from a soul kitchen;” “[her] thick as molasses voice gets under your skin in all the right ways;” a powerful, earth-mother voice that she pours into unexpectedly sensitive blends of folk, jazz, blues and funk.” Singing with the extended McGarrigle-Wainwright family, Sloan has rocked the house at Carnegie Hall, London’s Royal Albert Hall, and has released seven memorable records since her self-titled debut in 1994. She brings the same energy to her work as a solo artist, melding the best of pop, folk, jazz, and blues to create a unique, soulful hybrid. Sloan has been playing clubs, concerts and festivals coast to coast for two decades, triggering tears, hoots and hollers with deeply personal lyrics that connect life’s mysterious dots. A born storyteller and poet, Sloan started writing songs when she was 10. “Sitting at the piano and making up songs was my playground— a very safe place, magical and mystical. I surprised myself with what was in my head and how it all fit together.” For the last 16 years, she has been sharing that process with students, spreading the gospel of personal expression and lyrical reinvention. Sloan’s open-hearted approach to singing, songwriting and letting loose has made her a treasured presence at a host of prestigious workshops, including The Swannanoa Gathering, Summersongs, Wintersongs, Moab Folk Camp and Richard Thompson’s Frets and Refrains.  

Sue Riley is one of the co-founders of empower Music and Arts, dedicated to promoting positive music.  Sue is an award winning songwriter with 8 CDs, multiple songbooks, and other resources.  She tours the country performing in PosiPalooza concerts with other great Posi Music artists. Sue is the Music Director for empower Posi radio, and part of the team that hosts the yearly Posi Festival and various songwriting retreats during the year.  In addition, Sue serves on the board of directors for Summersongs, a songwriting camp held yearly in upstate NY.  Sue is passionate about the power of positive music to change lives.

Richard Mekdeci (mek-dee’-see) is one of the co-founders of empower Music and Arts, dedicated to promoting positive music.  Richard’s experience as speaker, singer and award winning songwriter spans a wide range, from performing with the Florida Symphony Orchestra as a trumpet player, to over 20 years of writing, producing and performing in Nashville Tennessee with artists like Kathy Mattea, Susie Boggus, Patty Loveless, Dolly Parton, Bonnie Nelson, and others. He has produced or co-produced eighteen albums of Posi Music including six projects of his own. During his 10 years at Unity Worldwide Ministries as Sacred Music Resources Coordinator he produced songbooks, the Sound Connections music conference and newsletter and provided music resources to churches around the world.

Looking for the Posi Fest?

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Last year's emPower Posi Music Festival,  was a jam packed weekend of music, workshops, and fun.  Here's what some of the attendees are saying about the experience.

"Just want to send you a big hug of appreciation for the Posi gathering. It was really amazing. What a thrill to see so many remarkable artists working together to make such meaningful music. We loved it."  (Flossie Ernzen, Licensed Unity Teacher)

"I am SO enriched by the Posi Festival.. thank you so much!"  (Linda Chubbuck, performing artist)

"You organize a really amazing event—I met so many terrific folks whom I can't wait to see again."  (Jeff Brown)

"I feel so blessed to be in this tribe of amazingly gifted, generous, funny, and inspiring people."  (Karen Drucker, Posi artist)