Mockingbird Spirit: Songwriting with Tara O’Grady

$100, $80 mbrs. (discounted price will display for members upon login)

Limit 16 students

Students will meet in the second floor Helmerich Theater, 533 Eaton Street

PLEASE NOTE: you will be required to provide proof of a recent negative Covid test, or of full Covid vaccination, to attend this program, as it is indoors. Masks required. Click here for details on the Covid-19 precautions we’re taking.

sponsored by Collections Key West


If you’d like to attend, but just can’t afford it, we may be able to help. Learn more about The Studios Accessibility Fund here.


Class Description

Music is everywhere, especially in the voices of nature. There is no requirement to be a musician to write lyrics. A lyricist is a writer of words put to music. Melodies surround us in our daily lives. We can borrow the songs of our feathered friends, just like the mockingbird with its varied repetitions and artful imitations. Whether you write poetry or prose, learning the techniques of songwriting sharpens your skills and awakens your creativity. This class will enhance your writing by focusing on activities that involve deep noticing, deep listening, and collecting words or phrases as snippets of sound and melody. We will also explore alliteration, assonance, rhyme, and theme. Utilizing  inspiration from nature, we will discover how words hold power in their sounds. By the end of the workshop, we will have completed a fully developed song together.

Meet Your Instructor

Tara O’Grady is a singer-songwriter, recording artist, and author. In addition to her five albums of jazz, blues and folk music, she published her first memoir, Migrating Toward Happiness: The Soundtrack to My Spiritual Awakening, in 2019. Her CD releases include: Black Irish (2010), Good Things Come to Those Who Wait (2011), A Celt in the Cotton Club (2013), Irish Bayou (2015), and Folk Songs: Songs About Real Folks (2017). She wrote her sixth album of songs in Key West, Florida during an arts residency program sponsored by The Studios of Key West, but has yet to record due to the pandemic.

Tara was featured in the award winning BBC documentary film Danny Boy: The Ballad that Bewitched the World which was nominated for best documentary at Ireland’s Film & Television Awards in 2014. Her collaboration with choreographer Darrah Carr in the music/dance show Celtic Jazz Tryst was nominated by Irish Central and TG4 television for best stage performance at the 2018 Creativity & Arts Awards in Manhattan. Awarded Irish Voice’s Most Influential Woman, presented by Ireland’s Prime Minister in 2010, the multi-talented band leader has performed at the Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland, the St Brigid’s Day Festival in London, the An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival in Butte, and Texas’ famous South By Southwest Festival in Austin.

Tara is the daughter of Irish immigrants and was raised in New York City. She now resides in the Hudson Valley.

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