Hillside Inside 2017

February 9 – 12

Girls & Guitars Songwriting Course

Start 2017 with a Song!  An original song that you write yourself—start to finish—in four 2-hour classes of the Girls and Guitars’ Songwriting Course with Doris Folkens.

For four dark nights in the depths of winter between the hours of 6:00 and 8:00, you’ll start and finish a song through four lessons:

January 20th, 2017:  Lesson 1:  Making your Chorus more effective, memorable and singable.

January 27th, 2017:  Lesson 2:  Overcoming barriers to writing the 2nd and 3rd verse.

February 3rd, 2017:  Lesson 3:  Structuring your song to better reflect its emotional content.

February 10th, 2017:  Lesson 4:  Putting It All Together; Learning how to self-critique and edit.

You may get a chance to perform at Hillside Inside 2017, which starts the night of your last lesson:  February 10th!


The course will be $115 (includes HST) for all four classes.  Class size is limited so you will receive lots of individual attention. 

Easy sign up:  Follow this link to our Submission Form, fill out and send to  [email protected] by January 18, 2017. 


  • Basic music knowledge required—guitar, piano, or whatever else.
  • The idea is to create a new song from start to finish—a song of which you are proud, which you have never necessarily thought of before, using a songwriting technique that you may never have used before. Come with an open mind, ready to start something completely new. 
  • Lessons will include supportive songwriting circles that will help you communicate the emotion of a song better.
  • Plan to attend all four classes.

About the Teacher:

Doris Folkens holds a professional singer-songwriter certificate from Berklee College of Music.  She is currently recording her first album and recently returned from a cross-Canada tour as VIA Rail’s Artist-on-Board.  You can hear her songs at www.dorisfolkens.com


“This course gave me increased confidence in songwriting, encouragement to re-work the words and sounds that don't quite fit, an experience to be vulnerable with others in writing and simply being a learner!”

“A great way to help you get down your ideas in a proper way so that, in the end, you have a song you can be proud of.  It had a very relaxed and welcoming atmosphere that was great for learning new techniques and to share your own ideas.  :)”

“I loved that the course gave me a new way to look at songwriting that is different from my own.  The materials we received (esp. the booklet of all keys with corresponding chords) were great, as was the opportunity to perform at Hillside Inside!

“Helpful, fun, cozy.”

“I was thrilled to be able to perform at the end of the course, totally fun and unexpected, but a great way to pull it together.  Doris is great.”

“No, it was well thought out. I benefited from the handouts, the song examples that connected to what Doris was teaching, and the sharing time for feedback/listening.

“This is a helpful beginner songwriting course that walks students through songwriting stages with the goal of completing an original song. The feedback from other students was very helpful, and the creative environment was motivating for trying new things.

"Each lesson was focused on a different part of a song structure and we practiced as a group, which was very valuable!”

“It gave me new ideas to think about and something to really reach for.”

“I would have done the whole course again with a second song!-- to build on the new knowledge and have an accountability aspect/deadline to work towards.  In our 4 weeks, we certainly had enough time to write a song.”