Songwriting Seminar with Jenny Bienemann & Steve Dawson

Sunday, Aug. 04 | 9:00am ET (8:00am CT)

Workshops & Seminars

Steve Dawson and Jenny Bienemann are award-winning, Chicago-based singer songwriters who have been helping people find their songwriting voices for many years.  In this day-long workshop, they share songwriting ideas and insights into the creative process of songwriting.  Participants will be guided in exercises and group experiences built upon the premise that everyone has a unique and interesting story to tell.  Pathways through inspiration, songwriting tools, and a supportive community will foster artistic growth.

The seminar will include morning coffee and lunch with friendly chit-chat and the two following featured workshops:

“Paths to the Muse and Getting Out of One’s Own Way”
with Steve Dawson
There are many doors into the house of creativity. “Writer’s Block” is a self-inflicted false prison. Steve will lead you through exercises to quiet the inner critic and get songs flowing. Techniques will include: improvisation with instrument and voice, writing to a title, drawing from unexpected sources, listening and more.
“Song Ripening with Jenny Bienemann: Prompts”
Explore the influence of your focus on the songs you create with prompts from poetry, visual arts and each other. We will work as individuals, as collaborators, and as a collective. We will employ cross-writing, free association, and drawing from a variety of prompts, embellishing our songwriting toolkit. Experience the impact of visual, literary and personal inspiration on your creative process.


Steve Dawson’s gift for melody and lyrics have been praised by critics from Rolling Stone, Uncut, and the Village Voice, among many.  His powerful original songs are delivered by voice that is by turns haunting, melodic, and raucous. His book on songwriting, “Take it to the Bridge,” written with Mark Caro, has earned praise from students and working artists alike. He tours with his wife in their band Dolly Varden, as well as in his band Funeral Bonsai Wedding and as a solo artist.  Steve runs his own recording studio, Kernel Sound Emporium, and teaches songwriting at the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Jenny Bienemann’s music has been described as falling “somewhere between winking innocence and worldly detachment” by Waterbug Records.  Her music is regularly heard on the radio, and featured in films, tv and theatre.  She plays with her own band, as a member of her husband Robin Bienemann’s band, and in the band The Zimmermen.  For several years she was an on-air host for WFMT’s “Folkstage” and “Sweet Folk Chicago.”  She teaches songwriting at the Old Town School of Folk Music, and just published a book of her photography and poetry, “Haiku Milieu.”

There will be a special Open Mic Night with Jenny and Steve as hosts following the seminar.  Seminar participants are invited to take part.

Workshop runs 9:00 am-5:00 pm ET
Starts 9:00am, doors open 9:00am

An Experience to Outlast Any Performance

No two Acorn performances are exactly the same.  Thoughtful curation brings a diverse mix of top talent to The Acorn, exposing audiences to both renowned and soon-to-be-discovered stars.


About The Acorn

The Acorn brings great known performers and amazing new ones to southwest Michigan.  Located in the historic featherbone factory, The Acorn’s friendly staff and volunteers, and an acoustically rich sound system combine for memorable experiences. We’re located in Three Oaks, Michigan …  just over an hour from downtown Chicago and 30 minutes from South Bend, IN.

The Acorn, a nonprofit organization, annually hosts a singer songwriter competition and a Spectacular Tournament of Playwrights. Our Open Mic nights showcase a variety of strong talent and our educational workshops include songwriting and master classes in performance.

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