Workshops & Panels

Every year we work hard behind the scenes to bring you a diverse line-up of workshops and panels, with a host of experts from our own community who can address current technology, the changing face of the independent music business, as well as performance and instrument techniques.

At FARM we think the workshops are a key part of an educational, fun, and worthwhile conference and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting ideas. 

Workshops take place on Friday and Saturday afternoons and Sunday morning.

Our workshop coordinator this year is once again, Charlie Mosbrook. 

Our 2018 Workshops & Panels:

Friday Morning 10:30 – 11:45

Getting the Most out of FARM (First-timers panel)

Presenters: Lee Herman, Katie Dahl, Charlie Mosbrook

Friday: 10:30 am – 11:45 am

Do you have questions about what to expect at FARM and what you will get out of the conference? Join other first-timer and experienced attendees to FARM for tips and tricks to get the most out of your conference experience from our panel of FARM and Folk Alliance veterans. We’ll talk about how to connect with people, what you can expect to take away from the conference, taking care of yourself, specific tips for during and after the conference and your questions in the session.

Selling Yourself without Selling Your Soul

Presenters: Joe Hart, Nikki Grossman & Heather Styka

Friday: 10:30 am – 11:45 am

Social media, booking, PR, blogging… seems like for every 45-minute set, there’s 45 hours behind the scenes managing your act. In this session, the Sapsuckers will share the tips and tricks we’ve used to build our image, create a message, and navigate the craaaazy world of today’s indie music scene–while also keeping true to our roots. We’re no superstars, but we’ve managed to build a decent life for ourselves with some marketing techniques that don’t sell our souls.


MONKEY BUSINESS: Making Grass-Roots Music Work

Presenter: Mark Dvorak

Friday: 10:30 am – 11:45 am

This discussion will touch on a variety of subjects including, making contact, counting the beans, booking and publicity, surviving the road and others. Mark’s first paying gig was in 1981 and he has been earning his living full-time from music for over thirty years.

Booking: From Cold Call to Getting Re-booked

Presenter: Brianna Lane

Friday: 10:30 am – 11:45 am

Have you ever emailed a venue/presenter and never heard back from them? I bet you have! Everyone has. Venues have expectations – from the way you handle your first approach, to carrying out promotions for your show… We’ll cover everything from how you get the gig, how you communicate effectively with venues/presenters/hosts, and how you get the gig again!

Friday Afternoon 1:00 – 2:15

Being Your Own Tour Manager

Presenter: Stephanie Cofell (Ginger Roots Agency) & Kari Estrin (Kari Estrin Artist Management & Consulting)

Friday: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Learn how to schedule shows for touring, negotiate contracts, work with promoters and develop your touring career. Includes an in-depth look at finding and maintaining contacts in building those important business relationships. General skills and tools needed to succeed include a willingness to learn in growing your business.

International Touring

Presenter: Krista Detor, Tim Grimm and …

Friday: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

Ever wonder what it takes to book a tour abroad? How do you start? Where do you find the gigs? It all seems so overwhelming. This panel will help to take some of the mystery out of taking your show across an ocean (or two) so you can feel empowered to explore all kinds of new territory!

House Concert Panel

Presenter: Katherine Byers

Friday: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

General discussion about house concerts with a focus on inspiring a new generation of house concert hosts, how to get more people hosting and how to avoid the pitfalls of hosting.

Creating a Management Plan

Presenter: David Tamulevich

Friday: 1:00 pm – 2:15 pm

This workshop will be very broad based, discussing all aspects of your career as an artist, and for other agents out there. Dealing with, or not, the careers of the artists you represent.  This is not rocket science: there are solutions to the many problems you confront, and a wealth of knowledgeable individuals in this community who can suggest solutions, who hopefully will be attending this workshop!!  Defining your vision, setting goals, implementing your  plan in practical terms, team building, reevaluating and adjusting…

David Tamulevich has made a career out of booking/managing artists since 1982, and for his own band, Mustard’s Retreat, since 1975.  He has worked with several hundred artists/managers/ record labels/publicists and thousands of venues & promoters.  “Frankly. I LOVE this 🙂  Which is why I do it, and why I am offering this workshop. “

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel.  That is where this workshop begins…

Saturday Morning 10:30 – 11:45

Using Humor Between Songs

Presenter: Don White

Saturday: 10:30 am – 11:45am

When the space between songs is as entertaining as the music the audience remains connected to the performance from the first note of the evening until the concert ends. Humor is powerful. When an audience is laughing they are engaged. You will learn how to use the powerful combination of story and humor to keep your audience focused from song to song. Among the comedy tools we will discuss will be confidence, body language, misdirection, set up/pay off, and vocal inflection. The goal is not to turn you into a comedian but to give you a greater understanding of what makes people laugh so you can use it to find a style and level of humor that suits your unique personality.

Music and the Law

Presenter: Peter Strand

Saturday: 10:30 am – 11:45am

Yep, Peter wrote the book! Or at least the syllabus! Bring every question you have about music and entertainment law to this session. Peter will introduce many basic topics useful to musicians, venues, record companies, or future Grammy winners; offer an idea or two about changes that might be ahead in the industry and answer your questions, like copyrighting, trademarking, etc.

Going Hollywood

Presenter: Amilia K Spicer

Saturday: 10:30 am – 11:45am

Your music, visual media, and finding your inner Tarantino: Amilia K Spicer- In today’s landscape, a music video is practically required in order to properly promote an album. We will explore how to create images that reflect your personal strengths as an artist, by using DIY shooting techniques, gear, and low-budget work-arounds.

Music videos demonstrating these methods will be shown, with behind the scene details and insights. Q & A will follow.

“Recently, folk singer Amilia K Spicer released a music video for her song “Lightning” and it’s nothing short of sublime. The clip, which was directed by Spicer, is filled with beautiful aquatic imagery and has an undeniable hypnotic quality. Reminiscent of the work of songstress and music video innovator Lana Del Rey, it’s a testament to the notion that DIY methods can produce some extraordinary results.”- AXS

The Politics of Recording

Presenter: Kari Estrin

Saturday: 10:30 am – 11:45am

The recording studio should be a supportive and creative place to make your record. Choosing the right engineer and/or producer should contribute to smooth sailing in translating your songs to a CD. It also helps to know going in the difference in these functions and this workshop seeks to empower participants to know how it should work and what to do when it doesn’t. We’ll give examples of normal issues that might arise in the studio and how your engineer/producer might handle them for ease of recording, as well as examples of what isn’t helpful to the artist and how to deal with it.

Saturday Afternoon 1:00 – 2:15

Harmony Through the Back Door

Presenters: Sons of the Never Wrong

Saturday: 1:00 pm – 2:15pm

Chicago trio Sons of the Never Wrong, well known for their soaring, original harmonies offer this fun harmony workshop. The Sons start out by sharing a song, breaking it down and teaching the class their tips and tricks. Sons demystify the harmony building process and invite the students to try the ideas on for size. Some principles discussed in-class will be: song-building, breaking tradition, common-notes, and melodic themes.

Deep Roots of Acoustic Blues

Presenters: Robert Jones, Andy Cohen, Kane & Steele

Saturday: 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Longtime blues devotees, Andy Cohen, Rev. Robert Jones, and Shari Kane & Dave Steele explore the roots of traditional blues. They’ll talk about, and demonstrate the defining characteristics of some of the legends and pioneers of traditional blues, like Reverend Gary Davis, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt and others that continue to be so influential today.

Folk Community & Social Responsibility?

Presenters: Spook Handy, Charlie Mosbrook, Jan Krist …

Saturday: 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Who said giving voice to our shared values and struggles has to be done in a political, partisan, preachy way or that it’s okay to alienate our audiences?  Folk Artists like Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, Peter Paul & Mary, Si Kahn, Joe Jencks and many younger musicians have gained credibility as voices of reason and advocates of virtue precisely because they have found ways to sing the truth in a positive uplifting manner while not shying away from the dark circumstances of the time.  Let’s talk about it and share songs that demonstrate how we musicians, presenters, DJs, volunteers and audience members can rise up to demands of our times in a way that builds harmony and solidarity.

Beyond the Venue

Presenter: Sally Potter (Ten Pound Fiddle)

Saturday: 1:00pm – 2:15pm

Lansing’s Premiere folk venue, the Ten Pound Fiddle is a fine example of going beyond the singular focus of presenting a concert. The Fiddle’s Sally Potter will moderate a discussion exploring community outreach, and other programs beyond your regular concerts, helping to grow awareness about the venue and by extension your audience attendance, all while providing a great service to your local community. Come share your own ideas as well.

Sunday Morning  11:00 – 12:15

The Power of Telling Stories

Presenters: Joe Goodkin & Allison Downey

Sunday: 11:00am – 12:15am

Harness the power of narrative to connect with your audience and craft a cohesive, impactful performative experience. Participants will explore a range of source material that spans from antiquity in the oral narrative form of bards to the cutting-edge format of contemporary personal narrative storytelling. Narratives can and still do hold a powerful sway in folk music. In this interactive workshop, our presenters will demonstrate how to incorporate storytelling into a musical performance as a seamless segue into or out of a song, and as a standalone piece for a variety of audiences, including educational and family settings.

The Healing Power of Music

Presenters: RobinLee Garber, Susan Harrison, Mike Ball, and Kitty Donohoe

Sunday: 11:00am – 12:15am

Whether its a performance of familiar old songs to elderly folks, or working with under-served communities to express themselves with songwriting, or singing to patients in the hospital, this panel will share their experiences and inspire you to discover your musical healing power.

Celtic Guitar: Songs & Tunes, Lead & Rhythm in DADGAD

Presenters: February Sky (Phil Cooper & Susan Urban)

Sunday: 11:00am – 12:15am

Participants will learn chords in the DADGAD tuning often used for Celtic guitar arrangements, and learn to play them on one or two easy songs.  Phil will teach one or two simple tunes, and participants will have the choice of learning Phil’s lead part or Susan’s rhythm backup in DADGAD.  Chord sheets and tablature provided.

How to Create Songwriting Programs, Workshops & Retreats that Inspire

Presenters: Anne Heaton, Dick Siegel, Matt Watroba & Jan Krist

Sunday: 11:00am – 12:15am

Dick Siegel, Anne Heaton & Matt Watroba share how they’ve created their unique songwriting programs, workshops and retreats. They’ll offer what’s worked well for them and pitfalls to avoid. If you’d like to learn more about how to create and offer inspiring group classes, retreats or longer-term curriculum (for adults, teenagers or children), come hang out with us Sunday morning at 11am where Matt, Anne and Dick will share what they’ve discovered along the way.

Every year we work hard behind the scenes to bring you a diverse line-up of workshops and panels, with a host of experts from our own community who can address current technology, the changing face of the independent music business, as well as performance and instrument techniques.

At FARM we think the workshops are a key part of an educational, fun, and worthwhile conference and we are always on the lookout for new and exciting ideas. 

Workshops take place on Friday and Saturday afternoons. 

Our workshop coordinator this year is once again, Charlie Mosbrook. 

Do you have a suggestion for a Workshop you’d like to see us include and/or Present? Please use the submission form below.

Workshop Submission Form

If you would like to propose a workshop for our 2018 conference please complete the form below.

Select one (or both if it could work as either)

Have you ever presented this workshop at FARM?

Scheduling Preference

13 + 5 =

If you’d rather just send an email to please include the following information:

  1. Workshop subject (title is even better) and description.
  2. A short paragraph describing your experience in presenting this workshop

And answer the following additional questions:

  1. Would your topic work as a panel? or would you consider working with a co-facilitator?
  2. Have you presented this workshop at a previous FARM or other Folk Conference event? and if so, when?
  3. Will you be attending the entire conference? Any scheduling requests?

Feel free to get in touch with us at if you have any general questions about our workshops & panels.

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