A cappella Choir

Tony Backhouse (NZ/Australia) is a composer, singer, choir director and gospel quartet aficionado who has put a cappella singing firmly on Australia's cultural map. He has lead numerous choirs, including the ongoing, award-winning Cafe of the Gate of Salvation, Australia's leading community choir, and inspired the formation of many others. He has published two a cappella gospel songbooks, a book on choral directing and taught his incredibly joyous a cappella workshops all over the world. He leads gospel tours to the USA, and teaches in the UK, Canada, Italy, France, Western Samoa and Fiji. He composes and arranges choral works and has worked with Renee Geyer, Tim Finn, Harry Manx, and others. He currently performs with the reclusive all male Heavenly Light Quartet and records with NZ band Bend.

Class description: we'll focus mainly on traditional black gospel, with a foray or two into Renaissance polyphony, rock & soul, with some room for improvisation.


Songwriting // A Song a Day

Jane is a singer-songwriter, wordsmith and editor with more than 20 years' experience as a features writer, writing teacher and journalist. Her features have appeared in Harpers & Queen, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian Gourmet Traveller, Australian Geographic and many others. She is the Artistic Director for WA's Nanga Music Festival, and founder of Juice Creative Retreats.  Jane runs songwriting and voice work retreats in Australia and Bali, and teaches songwriting at some of Australia's top music festivals. She performs as Neil and Jane and in her band, The Jane Cornes Trio.

Class Descriptions:
Songwriting - The 3 questions Jane is most frequently asked are "How do you come up with ideas for your lyrics?", "How do you structure a song?" and "What's the difference between a song and a poem?" These questions will be explored and answered in this lyric-writing class, which will guide you through the process of creating interesting words and then crafting them into songs. Through exploring sensory experiences together and some fun in-class writing exercises, you will learn ways to add colour, texture and depth to your songwriting. This class is suitable for anyone who wants to write songs, regardless of their musical experience. You do not need to play a musical instrument to participate.

A Song A Day! - This is a Hardcore songwriting session for anyone who wants to catapult their productivity versus waiting for that all-illusive "right moment" to finish a song. Welcome to a bootcamp for your creativity!  Every day, Jane will provide the stimuli, encouragement and that all-important DEADLINE to push you towards writing a whole, complete song, Every Single Day! 


Band Lab

Raised in Dublin, Karl played guitar and sang with bands in Dublin and London before emigrating to Australia.  Karl’s song, ‘Firstborn’, featured on the ‘Fatherhood’ compilation album, and he was a finalist in the National MusicOz Awards in 2007. A Dolphin Award nominee for several years running, Karl won the Folk category for ‘Pilgrim Song’ in 2007, and received no fewer than four nominations, including ‘Album Of The Year’ Award for his debut album of original songs ‘Repentance Creek’. Karl has taught guitar and songwriting at the Byron Regional Community College, Coast Acoustics, Loose Acoustics, co-organised the Mullum Folk Club, and has run the hugely popular Band Lab classes at Summersong Music Camp since 2007.

Class Descriptions: "Playing simultaneously is not the same as playing together." There's an indescribable feeling when you're playing with other musicians, and it 'clicks'.  Band Lab helps develop the skills to function as part of a band, as opposed to just jamming or playing solo.   You'll learn to communicate effectively with other musicians.  This is not about being a virtuoso player. It's about finding your part that contributes to the whole.  In this very popular class, your 'hands-on' experience involves playing with a full band,  with professional P.A. set-up, taking advantage of whatever instruments/musicians rock up! Original songs of the participants will be the basis of the arrangements. 


Vocal Techniques

Shelly Hughes has been a singing teacher and performer for over a decade on the North Coast of NSW, and has performed around the world in various line-ups including a jazz duo and an electronica/soul band "Red Bantoo”  She has independently produced albums and EP's via her family business, (which, incidentally, also manufactures Australia's safest light sport ultralight aircraft, the Australian LightWing).  In 2012 her album 'Where the Owl Was' was released by Vitamin Records, and Shelly self-published the accompanying children's book. Shelly's youngest vocal student is 6 years old, and her oldest is 68; she is well aware of the two way street of being a teacher, and adores it. 

Class Description:

For vocalists, from beginners to advanced, this class will share a variety of vocal warm ups to energize and inspire your singing and speaking day. It will also offer a fun approach towards learning music theory and communicating using the language of music. There will also be some fun ideas towards performance techniques; ways to beat nerves and shush the inner critic, just for a moment, so you can enjoy your beautiful and unique form of expression!


Body Percussion

Greg Sheehan is a Rhythm Magician, a passionate and fearless innovator with a propensity for experimentation and deep exploration of rhythms on the eclectic array of instruments he plays. As a performer, he is significantly represented in the last four decades of Australian music as a band leader and member, solo artist and studio musician on hundreds of recordings.  As a teacher , Greg has coordinated hundreds of community arts projects along with teaching professionals, students, fellow musicians, and the wider community in festivals and towns around the world.  His unique style of rhythmic notation and  body percussion techniques have influenced a generation of original and traditional musicians throughout Australia and overseas.  He's toured extensively with Utungan Percussion, Kangaroo Moon, the Black Arm Band, amongst many groups, and is currently performing as a solo artist,  and with the Circle of Rhythm trio with tabla master Bobby Singh and percussionist Ben Walsh. ‘Astounding musicality’. John Shand SMH.Greg’s solo CD ‘The Life of My Time ‘ was released on Vitamin Records |

Class Description: The pioneer of body percussion in Australia, Greg's workshops are an innovative exploration of rhythm that engages the body, mind and spirit.  Greg has developed a style which is easy to learn and based on walking as the pulse. As well as clapping our hands, we slap our bodies in a percussive manner in time with our walk, along the way playing lots of fun and intricate rhythm games, and expanding our understanding of rhythm. For all levels, Body Percussion is physically engaging whilst being educational and fun, and will create rabid Rhythmatists of all participants!  Greg's 3rd year classes at Summersong in 2015 will be different than last; Greg will also be assisting individuals with their rhythmic development for their music, and some Surprises!

Kathryn Riding

Voice & Bodywork

Kathryn's classes offer time to explore embodiment through gentle yoga, breath work, release work, voice work, sound healing, authentic movement, play, ritual making, graceful connection, poetry, deep relaxation and rejuvenation... She has been teaching  yoga, voice and movement for more than 30 years, and has taught at NIDA, QUT, WAAPA. She is also poet and a published author. Kathryn offers her much loved Artistry of the Soul retreats in Bali twice yearly. She is again  delighted to be part of the Summersong experience.


Classes 2015


Performing Skills & Creative Flow

A classically trained singer, Talya has worked in musical theatre and as front woman to rock, jazz and acoustic bands. Her most rewarding work has been as a singing and songwriting teacher in Sydney, where she's taught privately and for several performing arts schools and departments, including the NSW Department of Education. Talya's passion for music is met by her fascination with human behaviour, which culminated in her recently completing a Masters in Clinical Psychology, Talya enjoys applying this training to her work with artists as a performance coach.

Class Description: This highly experiential class for all levels, will equip you with a range of performance skills. You'll learn how to get a handle on those tricky nerves that sneak up on you when you are about to go on stage. You'll also learn key performance skills, including mic technique, how to "be" on stage and how to communicate with other musicians in live performances. We will also be exploring some of the common blocks that get in the way of your creativity. You will learn skills to overcome the unhelpful thoughts and behaviours that stop you from starting and finishing your creative projects - from writing songs, to recording an EP, to performing.


Making Music Together  // Blues Guitar - The Roots of Rhythm

Wayne’s world of  music began in Geelong supporting Australia’s top rock bands (AC/DC, Ayres Rock, Little River band, Buffalo, Cold Chisel, Dragon, Hush, etc.)  He’s played thousands of gigs including opening  Robert Cray, Albert Collins, Canned Heat and Buddy Guy with his band Black Cat Moan, and teamed up with John Brewster (the Angels) in '93 for his first solo CD.  He toured for 7 years as guitarist and vocalist with prodigy Nathan Cavaleri, and many other acts, and his recording oeuvre is long and impressive. Wayne returned to hometown Geelong in 2007, and in addition to teaching singing and facilitating ‘Blues Boot Camps’ in Victoria, he continues to perform solo, with The Wayne Jury Three, in a duo with Rory Millar, and assorted other collaborations around the country.

Class Descriptions:

Making Music Together: The exhilaration we feel from our interaction with other musicians is infectious and brings pleasure to the performer and the audience.

While having knowledge of the rules and theories of music is important the ability to express yourself is equally so.  Through making music together participants will gain an understanding of the mechanics of the blues, soul, funk and gospel forms, as well as practical ways to apply this knowledge to modern music. The workshop encourages freedom of expression combining knowledge and emotion and fosters cooperation and team building. Through jamming and the exchange of ideas we will get the creative juices flowing and make music together.

Blues Guitar - The Roots of Rhythm: Arguably the ‘blues form’ is the basis for all styles of contemporary western music. Its roots are traced back to West African Tribal music. The communal “call and response” influence of West African Tribal music is significant and echoes in contemporary music. You’ve heard musicians using terms such as “the feel”, “the groove”, “the swing” and “sitting in the pocket”. The essence of blues music is the consistent trance like rhythm. We feel it, it relates to our heartbeat, our bodies, the sounds of nature, and sounds of the city. Playing rhythm guitar is about ‘taping’ in to “the groove” and feeling the pulse. When you add chord movement, chord inversions, call and response and melody, you become the complete rhythm guitarist. Don’t underestimate the power of rhythm!


Beginners Guitar // MusicAngelo

Luciano is a performer who sings, composes, plays guitar, and records music of a range from opera to pop. He's also a presenter, music educator and events manager. Based in Sydney, he's graced the stages of the Sydney Opera House, National Folk Festival, Woodford Folk Festival and Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival and various stages all over the world. Luciano has recorded 2 albums and an EP of his original songs. Luciano has been a finalist in the Australian Songwriters Association competition twice and continues to compose and inspire through his high school teaching role. Find out more and listen to his music here: and 

Class Description:
Beginner Guitar: Never played guitar? Or learned a few chords a long time ago and want to rekindle your interest to learn how to play a couple of songs? This class is aimed at helping the beginner guitarist to learn how to play chords, strum and put together a song in a group learning situation. You will also learn the fundamentals of the guitar and techniques to make playing enjoyable.  A guitar is an essential instrument for this class, but if you don't have access to one, there will be some guitars available for use during the week. Be prepared for fun and learning to play the guitar in just a few days!

MUSICAngelo:  Luciano will spread his talented wings throughout the camp, assisting all who need some extra guidance, a little assist, a new technique to help them achieve their musical goals in singing, writing, guitar chords, arrangements, harmonies for songs, structure, etc.