Workshops & Panels

Below is our 2022 Workshop Listing.

We’re currently working on planning the workshops for our 2023 Gathering. If you have topics you would like to see discussed at this year’s conference or have knowledge you want to share, please let us know! Fill out this form and submit your ideas here.


Presenters: Mike Green, Tret Fure, Randy Styka
This session, featuring a self-managed artist, a booking agent, and a presenter, will answer whatever questions you have about negotiating performance deals. Rather than the usual long presentation, we’ll go straight into answering your questions. So please formulate your questions ahead of time and we’ll impart as much information as we can.


Presenters: Lee Herman, Charlie Mosbrook
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.


Presenters: Louise Baker, Kelcy Wilburn, Brian Buchanan
Is your website ready for fans and talent buyers or neither? How to best position your website content and promotional assets to attract and keep fans and make it simple for talent buyers to book your show. We will discuss the arrangement and importance of the items on your site and delve into some of the easy web builder sites available for DIY.


Presenters: Nancy Meis; Isaac Cates; Paul Wenske; Robert Marovich; Chris Wenske
A panel discussion of Black Gospel music and its origins in the Midwest. This panel focuses mainly on Kansas City and Chicago and presents information about the people and places that brought Gospel music to fruition in the region. Film clips will be played from a film that is currently being produced, called “I’m So Glad: The Roots of Black Gospel Music in the Midwest”. The film highlights the pre-Civil War period up through today and shows how the Spirituals were the roots from which grew various types of Gospel music, as well as jazz, blues, and other genres of music. The panel will discuss concepts revealed in the film as well as new information about the Gospel greats of the past and the present.

Presenters: Craig Siemsen; Chris Vallillo; Sue Fink; Ben Wright

Explore four unique approaches to creating themed shows, educational programs, and other ideas that can provide alternative income using your talents as an experienced musical artist. Want to earn more money with music? Join these 4 seasoned performers as they share their proven methods of generating alternative income through music.


Presenter: Dr Cindy Morgan Ph D
Life is full of stress from a variety of sources, some more personal, some more circumstantial. We can all benefit from assessing how we experience stress & how we cope with it. Learning additional strategies to counteract the stress in your life is the aim of this workshop. Handouts will include self-assessment tools as well as stress management techniques. Find out where most of your stress is & how you express it, as well as how to manage it more effectively.

MUSIC TEACHER TOOLBOX : Rock Your Student’s Experiences While Practicing Fab Self-Care.

Presenters: Janet Feld; Charlie Mosbrook, Megan Bee
What does it mean to create an emotionally safe space for people of all ages to learn how to play music? Our panel will share tried and true lesson plans and group management info that you’ll be able to apply immediately in your own teaching practice. Whether you teach in classrooms, private lessons, and no matter the age of your students, there will be something here for you. In addition, we’ll share some of the ways we keep our batteries charged to be best able to take care of our students.


Presenter: Sue Demel; Deborah Lader; Bruce Roper
Chicago trio Sons of the Never Wrong, well known for their soaring, original harmonies, offer this 1-2 hour harmony workshop. They start out by sharing a song, breaking it down, and teaching the class their tips & tricks. Sons demystify the harmony building process and invite students to try the ideas on for size. Some principles discussed in class will be song- building, breaking tradition, common-notes, and melodic themes. Q & A to follow.


Presenter: Kari Estrin
The holistic artist incorporates one’s business plan and steps to getting where they want to go alongside an acknowledgement of who they are, what they care about and how they want to live. Awareness of one’s dreams and life situations; knowing what is unique about you in talent or story; writing songs with honesty and skill; assessing where one excels and where one needs support while incorporating one’s spiritual, religious or personal beliefs, are some of the subjects we’ll be exploring. We’ll look at validating your work patterns with some nuts and bolts information, as well as understanding the difference between what you “should” want and in how to discover what you really may truly desire instead.

Presenters: Telisha Williams, Doug Williams
Through a combination of music and presentation, Telisha and Doug Williams of Wild Ponies, demonstrate that healing through songwriting is not only possible but also beautiful. The power is in the process. Songwriting and other forms of creativity allow access to strength and resilience that are not always available in traditional therapeutic approaches. The freedom to create provides insight to connections between trauma and the emotional response. Experience the deeply connected and transformative power of music and song.


Presenter: Maggie Heeren and Claire Horn
Hearing yourself well on stage is essential to giving your best performance. But how do you make sure the person running sound knows what you want to hear? The relationship between artist and sound engineer needs to be one of trust and mutual respect. Understanding some of the tools used to run a live show and some of the aspects of what the engineer is doing during sound check can help you get the most out of your sound check time, and hopefully set you up to have a great performance. In this workshop, we will discuss microphones, DI boxes, EQ, compression, effects, and what works best for your instrument as a means to arm you with the tools to communicate effectively with your sound person and improve your sound check.


Presenters: Susan Urban, Phil Cooper, Joel M Simpson and Jennifer Ashley, Andy Cohen
Why should anyone be interested in singing songs and playing tunes that are hundreds of years old? One answer is that human beings are still human. Many of the old ballads deal with issues that are still in the news headlines every day, but from a perspective that reminds us that they did not just appear in the last 20 years. As for the tunes, they were developed in times when there was little in the way of entertainment, and musicians had time to get really good at playing some very intricate melodies. And of course, new tunes sprang forth from the old ones, a process that continues to this day.


Presenters: Jose Antonio Ponce
Streaming your music pays zip. CDs are done. Vinyl’s comeback is overrated. Live music and touring is expensive and exhausting and all of these things get your music to almost no one. The best way to get your songs heard by a mass audience and to get paid for it is by leasing your music to film, TV, gaming, live theater, live events and superstar artists. But what is everyone looking for? What they want is music that is copyrighted, well produced and easy to understand. This workshop will show you exactly what music supervisors, producers, show runners and artists want and how to clear those hurdles that will put you ahead of everybody else trying to lease or sell their music. Learn about the importance of copyright, PROs, publishing rights, contracts and how to avoid the pitfalls and scam artists that line the path to successful music placement.


Presenter: Katie Dahl, Deirdre McCalla and David LaMotte
What are the ways that we can make our careers sustainable in the era of pandemics and streaming? Part of the answer may lie in crowdfunding sites like Patreon and Kickstarter. We’ll explore ways to engage and maintain fans via crowdfunding–both in terms of long-term subscription services and short-term, goal-oriented campaigns.


Presenter: Tim Ferrin and Erin Flynn
Ella Jenkins, the “First Lady of Children’s Music,” is an iconic children’s performer, and she has been one of the genre’s leading voices for more than 50 years. Nurtured by the rich musical culture of her Chicago neighborhood, Jenkins was immersed in song from her earliest days. She has spent the rest of her life helping other children find that same enjoyment in music.

Join Chicago performing and teaching artist Erin Flynn and documentary director Tim Ferrin as they share film clips, stories, songs and insights about their friend, Ella Jenkins, and the making of the Ella Jenkins documentary in a special FARM workshop called “Guide Me: Sharing the Music of Ella Jenkins”


Moderator: Annie Bacon

Over the course of her twenty five year touring career, Susan Werner has built a reputation as one of the country’s most compelling live performers. With formidable chops on guitar (she began playing at age 5) and piano (she was a guest on Marian McPartland’s Piano Jazz) along with a graduate degree in voice performance, her shows are a one-woman master class in musicianship. Her songs are noted for their poetry and sharp wit, and also for their astonishing stylistic range. She’s written songs in the style of Gershwin and Cole Porter (I Can’t Be New, 2004), gospel music (The Gospel Truth, 2007), traditional Cuban “son” (An American In Havana, 2016), and New Orleans junk piano (NOLA, 2019). In 2014 she composed the music and lyrics to the musical theater score Bull Durham, The Musical (MGM). Her latest recording of original songs, The Birds of Florida, took flight January 2022.

Elexa Dawson creates community-focused Americana music with soulful vocals and connection to land. Born from Oklahoma, Elexa now calls the Kansas Flint Hills her home. As a Potawatomi activist and educator, Elexa facilitates songwriting workshops, talking circles, and relational plant education. She is an award-winning songwriter and skilled entertainer, who leads with a red-dirt-honey voice and stay-with-you memorable melodies. “Music is Medicine” titles her 2019 studio album and names her life’s purpose. She is also a founding member of Weda Skirts and Heyleon.

Joel Mabus may be called a singer-songwriter, but he doesn’t sound like one. He defies the stereotype. He’s a picker, a poet, a pragmatist, and a producer of more than 25 albums. Joel’s the son of a 1930’s old-time fiddle champ & a banjo-pickin’ farm girl, raised on full-throated Holiness singing every Sunday in Small Town Illinois: 105 miles southeast of Mark Twain, 190 miles northwest of Bill Monroe, 110 miles southwest of Burl Ives and just over the river and up the hill from Scott Joplin. That’s where Joel Mabus is from. He lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan now. His performing career began in college during the Vietnam era, where he studied anthropology and literature by day and played coffeehouses by night. One critic writes, “Joel Mabus knows his way around the English language and American culture just as well as he knows his way around a fretboard.”

Born in Nashville, TN, Sav’s love of music began on a tour bus with her multi-instrumentalist father and R&B vocalist mother when she was three months old. Her birth was announced on the Grand Ol’ Opry stage by Whispering Bill Anderson and her fate was set. At eleven, she picked up violin and dove headfirst into improvisational folk, jazz, reggae, funk, and rock. By sixteen, she’d become a versatile multi- instrumentalist, session player, composer, arranger, and performer. Drawing inspiration from songwriters like Kim Richey and Neko Case, Sav’s songs are vulnerable, compelling, and saturated with vivid imagery. Winning Kerrville’s New Folk contest in 21’ and Songwriter Serenade in 22’, Sav has been described by NPR as “one of the most compelling songwriters of our day.”

Katie Larson grew up in Northern Michigan. Her musical family encouraged a range of eclectic influences, and in 2006 she started playing cello in her public elementary school’s music program. Now she is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and composer, who participates in film, design, art, and culinary adventures. Katie graduated from Interlochen Arts Academy in 2014, and has since been a full-time studio session player, songwriter, and touring musician. Repping NS Designs electric cellos and Louis and Clark acoustic cellos, Takamine guitars, Fender electric guitars and Shure microphones, Katie brings an arsenal of sound to the musical table. In 2017 she started cataloging her stories about the food she finds on the road in a visual food blog

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 Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

2022 Workshop Submissions are closed

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.

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