Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Alastair Moock has made a name for himself on the folk and Americana circuit, touring throughout the U.S. and Europe and playing renowned events like the Newport Folk Festival.
In addition to his well-known work for kids, Moock has released five “grownup” albums, including his latest self-titled release of 2017. The Boston Globe calls him “one of the town’s best and most adventurous songwriters” and The Washington Post says “every song is a gem.”
Aside from his residencies and workshops for younger people, Moock has also taught songwriting to adults in various forums, including at the prestigious Sanibel Writers’ Conference in Florida, alongside nationally known poets, memoirists, and novelists.
Workshops for Adults
The Language of Song
Moock begins by taking apart a few well-loved songs: digging in, scattering sounds and phrases around the room, and working with students to figure out how lyric-centric songs work. What makes language pop and stick in our heads? Why and how do songwriters use patterns to draw in their listeners? Why do some songs stand the test of time? Moock helps students distinguish between the sound and meaning of language and helps clarify and unlock myriad songwriting concepts through examples from well-known songs.
Moock then gives students writing assignments that make use of their new knowledge. These assignments build in complexity over time, depending on the number of sessions. One example is a fill-in-the-blank game where students determine a song’s rhyme scheme, rhythm, point of view, and thematic focus in order to complete missing lines or verses. The idea is not only to demonstrate understanding of basic songwriting concepts, but to learn to write empathetically, putting oneself in another writer’s shoes. Subsequent assignments include writing whole new songs from scratch based on prompts that emphasize specific areas of song craft. Students will walk away with new writings of their own, as well as a new-found confidence and clarity about how songs work.
How to Write for Kids (and their Adults)
At some point in their songwriting life – often around the time they have kids or grandkids of their own – many writers want to take a crack at writing songs for young people. Moock’s songs for families have won top national praise for the way they speak up to children, not down, and engage parents at the same time. He has written on a remarkable range of subject-matter for kids: from spaghetti and monkeys to diversity and identity, even illness and death.
In this unique workshop for adults, Moock teaches students the trick of making music for young people that’s just as authentic, deep, and sophisticated as the music we all want to write for our contemporaries. Through dissection of song and writing assignments similar to the ones described in the workshop above, students will learn how to shift their point of view for kids without losing it.
For booking inquiries and further info, please contact Stephanie Rothschild by email or at 212-421-0592.