2014 Winter Course News

We completed our winter songwriting course with 14 singer/songwriters coming through the process.

2014 CTSS News ...

We are very proud of the lasting relationships we have forged with many of the songwriters who have come through our doors and it has been wonderfully rewarding to assist some on to performing, rec

Opening music's door

Our first experiences with music count, they rouse our fire inside and motivate us to open music's door and joyfully walk inside.

I remember I was 12 years old when I decided I wanted to learn how to play the guitar. We were sitting around a campfire watching our student-teacher guide play songs to us on his 6-string. I knew then and there that I wanted to learn how to do that.

Songwriting is not an activity where work equals achievement ...

Tom Petty made that remark during an interview with Paul Zollo, editor of SongTalk. He added: '... you are dealing in magic. It's the same with any other imaginative work - painting or filmmaking - it's this intangible thing that has got to happen. And to really seek it out too much might not be a good idea. Because, you know it's very shy too. But once you've got it, you can work on songs and improve them. You can see if there's a better word, or a better change. 


Yes, we're back and happy to say that our little 'mom and pop' music initiative is right now, overloaded with music work - writing, recording, producing and performing ... projects all stemming from teaching and coaching activities over the past few years.

There's nothing like teaching by example and 2012 will reveal a number of excellent examples of our singer/songwriters successfully employing our musical methods and tactics to good effect.  


Our next 8 Week Songwriting Course, the final one for 2011, starts on Monday 3 September. Half of the seats have already been filled and we are looking forward to meeting the new batch of student songwriters. We are always excited to meet new candidates and see who are likely to emerge as stars from the group.  

Magical Evening at Alma Cafe

We had a full house at Alma Cafe last night for our first public singer-songwriter showcase and what a night to remember! Grant Ross making his professional music debut, kicked the evening off with twenty minutes of easy listening acoustic folk, blues, country and pop. His set included a mix of original compositions and songs by some of his favourite songwriters. The listener comment that, 'he sounds so natural' accurately summed up Grant's performance.

CTSS Songwriter Reaches Songwriting Competition Final

Twenty one year old CTSS graduate, Katherine Coetzee has made the finals of the Barleycorn Songwriting Competition with her song 'So Young'. Katherine and nine other contenders will be performing at the music club gathering to be held at Villages Rugby Club, Claremont tomorrow 8 August 2011.  The show starts 7.30pm and contestants will each be performing two songs, their qualifying composition plus a warm up song.  Gutsy Katherine will be accompanying herself on guitar. Her warm up song is a brand new composition which she completed only this evening in workshop here at the CTSS.


Great songs come from the heart and are written for all sorts of reasons, the least of which are competitive ones.  Most of the great songwriters never fared well in a competitive environment. In their early years The Beatles were runners up to a magician in a talent competition. Adam Lambert and Jennifer Hudson, two of American Idols' most successful products were both losers in the competition. That said, the annual Barleycorn Song Competition takes place over the next couple of weeks and if you don't take it all too seriously, it may well be fun to enter a song.  


Enthusiasm ... passion for my band Rocking Horse got me into big trouble today.  A naive comment from someone about our brand of country, pressed the wrong buttons and I found myself reacting on pure emotion.  Being the sort of guy that tends to beat himself up mercilessly over mistakes, I've been doing what i can to unpack the issues underlying the episode with the hope that I can genuinely learn something from what happened today.  What I'm not ashamed of is that I believe 100% in what Barry, Tony and I do as a trio of old guitar hacks.