By Kayleigh Shoemaker, Membership Representative
Hi everyone! We get a lot of questions about how our workshop nights operate, so I thought I’d go through each one so new members and out-of-town members know what to expect when they attend!
Unless otherwise noted, our workshops always take place at the NSAI Nashville Headquarters (1710 Roy Acuff Place). Check the website for the upcoming schedule HERE.
We have a workshop every Thursday. The doors open at 5:15 pm CT and the program starts at 5:45 pm CT. Those 30 minutes can be a fantastic opportunity to network with your fellow NSAI members! Unlike some of our online services, NSAI members have UNLIMITED attendance to our in-person workshops. As a prospective member, you can attend up to 2 workshops before joining. We cycle through different categories of workshops. Our three constant workshops are Guest Speaker, Pitch to Publisher, and Song Feedback.
Here’s a breakdown of each one:
GUEST SPEAKER NIGHTS
What it is:
We have a speaker come in and talk to the group. Towards the end, we will open the floor for questions. The guests we bring in cover a variety of topics. Examples of guest speakers are a professional songwriter discussing tips and tricks of the trade, a professional on the business side of the music industry with advice for songwriters from their standpoint, or an entertainment attorney discussing how a publishing deal works. The goal is for our members to learn something about songwriting or get clarification on an aspect of the business they may not be familiar with.
When you come:
Have your member card ready (if you have it) to speed up the sign-in process. If you don’t have your card yet, we’ll verify your membership at the front desk. We ask members to sign in because we live webcast and record the speaker to post on our website. By signing in, you’re acknowledging that you’re aware the workshop is being recorded and posted online.
If you’re unable to attend a guest speaker night, you can watch the live webcast or keep an eye out in the Video Archive on our website for the video of the workshop to be posted. Each Wednesday, we also send out NSAI E-news which will include a link to the most recent guest speaker night workshop video.
PITCH TO PUBLISHER NIGHTS
What it is:
As many of you are aware, publishers will generally not listen to unsolicited material. Pitch nights provide an environment for a publisher to come in and listen to NSAI members’ music. Our pitch nights are a method of getting your music, name, and face on the radar of publishers. The goal of these nights is not necessarily for a publisher to hear your song and want to try to get it cut for you. In fact, the publishers are tasked with trying to get songs cut from their existing catalogs from their own staff writers. The objective is for the publisher to hopefully hear your potential as a writer. Anytime you can get your name and music out there in front of an industry professional, it’s a plus!
When you come:
1. Have your member card ready (if you have it). Otherwise we’ll confirm you’re a member at the front desk.
2. If you’re playing a song, sign in. By signing in, you’re giving us permission to play your song for the group. If you just want to observe to see how the process works, that’s fine too! These nights are NOT recorded.
3. After signing in, you’ll hand in a copy of your song (if on a CD) and 2 copies of your lyrics.
a. If you’re turning in a CD, please make sure the song you intend to pitch is the ONLY song on the CD and the CD is labeled with the TITLE OF THE SONG and YOUR NAME.
b. You can play your song from your phone if you prefer. We have the necessary adapters to play from any smartphone!
c. For lyrics, we require 2 COPIES. Please have your lyrics page labeled with the TITLE OF THE SONG and YOUR NAME.
4. You’re welcome to head back to the studio and grab a seat!
***It should be noted that we collect everyone’s song and play them in order of arrival. Often, members begin lining up on our front porch as early at 5 pm. The workshop will go until we’ve gone through the entire pile, so be prepared for that. If you have somewhere to be later, try to get here earlier to sign in. We encourage you to stay and listen to everyone’s songs (it can be a great way to link up with a cowriter!), but we understand that you may need to leave before it’s over. Please be respectful and step out during a break between songs.
Another tip is to research the guest and the publishing company they work for, to be sure you pitch a song that makes the most sense for the situation.
The process and what to expect from the publisher:
An NSAI staff member will play the first verse and chorus of each song. The guest is asked to either say “pass” or “take a copy” after the song is played. Occasionally, they will give specific feedback for a song. That’s up to them. We will note which songs were taken. If your song is taken, we will reach out to you for a digital copy of the lyrics and the mp3 file on the following day. We will then pass all of this, along with your contact information, to the publisher. If the publisher is interested in hearing more from you, they will reach out directly. NSAI is unable to give out their contact information.
SONG FEEDBACK NIGHT
What it is:
Song Feedback night operates very similarly to Pitch to Publisher night; however, the guest is usually a professional songwriter or someone else in the business with an “ear” for songs. It is not a pitch, but a way for our members to get direct song advice from a professional. It’s similar to our online song evaluation service, but you get to interact in person!
When you come:
See Pitch to Publisher steps above!
The process and what to expect from the guest:
An NSAI staff member will play the first verse and chorus of each song. Again, we play them in order of arrival, so get here early if you want to be heard sooner. Immediately after each song is played, the guest will give their feedback. Then it’s on to the next song! Again, it’s beneficial to stay for the whole workshop, but if you must leave, please do so between songs. The goal of Song Feedback night is to get some constructive criticism from a pro to improve your songwriting skills!
Hope this helps clarify the process! As always, you're welcome to give our office a call if you have any questions!