Sierra Songwriting



General Description:

Students will be introduced to the art and craft of songwriting including but not limited to song components, lyric writing, melody writing, poetic devices, song structure, song rewriting and editing and more. Emphasis will be on the students work. No formal background in music will be necessary and students who want to write only lyrics or melody are welcome.

Date of Period




July 19 -21, 2019



Jim Bruno


Jim Bruno is a San Francisco Bay Area based published songwriter and currently teaches Songwriting at the Freight and Salvage in Berkeley and at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. He’s also taught Songwriting Workshops at Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music, at Far-West Music Conference, at San Francisco State University’s High Sierra Campus and more. 

Songs he’s written have been recorded and released by Shawn Colvin, Mary Lou Lord, Cliff Eberhardt and Laurie MacAlister. Songs he’s co-written have been recorded and released by Chuck Prophet and Thad Cockrell. As a performing songwriter he has performed with or opened shows for the following artists: Shawn Colvin, Timothy B Schmidt, Graham Parker, John Gorka, Charlie Musselwhite, Joe Ely, Greg Brown, Mary Lou Lord, Steve Forbert, Bill Morrissey, Big Twist, and Cliff Eberhardt. He’s performed at the Greenwich Village Folk Festival, the Udine Folk Festival in Udine, Italy and has toured five times in Europe. He also played bass, guitar and sang in the Shawn Colvin Band for a number of years and often performed with Shawn as a duet. For more information, check out his website:  He may be contacted @

Class Schedule

The daily class routine will consist of a informal meeting on Friday evening, a two hour lecture on Saturday morning. Songwriting by the students will be done on Saturday afternoon with personal help from the instructor. Sunday morning will consist of an evaluation of the songs for the class including constructive comments from the instructor and the other students

Supplies and Other Useful Items

  • Note pad & pen
  • Those that write melody can bring the instrument they write. To perform their songs they can use the instructors guitar.
  • Those that write lyrics please bring at least five printed copies of your lyrics


  • Sleeping bag and pillow
  • Layered clothing
  • Raingear
  • Sturdy hiking shoes
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect repellent
  • Flashlight/Headlamp
  • Alarm Clock
  • Tupperware to carry lunch (sandwich, fruit, cookies)