In addition to performing concerts, Dana also is available to give workshops and lectures (always with a song or two mixed in) on a number of environmental, musical or self-empowerment topics (see partial list below). Dana has worked for over 25 years in the environmental movement. Universities often bring Dana to their campus for a daytime workshop or lecture followed by an evening concert.
If we want to work to improve our communities and our world, we have to reach out and talk to others. Some cultures encourage and nurture us as children to speak our minds in large groups of people. Some cultures humiliate and discourage us from speaking out. Most of us grew up in the latter.
Public speaking is a key element in community organizing and self-empowerment. There are tools, skills and tricks we can all practice and use to be better public spokespeople.
Dana Lyons has been working as a musician, performer, activist, and organizer for thirty years. He has worked on many environmental and social justice campaigns around the world in many cultures. In his Public Speaking Workshop he shares some basic skills and insights that can greatly improve your public speaking approach.
In the workshop we will discuss a range of skills, tools, and methods to help improve your public speaking. We will discuss how to prepare a speech, and then each participant will prepare and present a one-minute speech in order to practice some of the skills we have discussed.
Songwriting is magic and weird and wild and untamed. Songs come from trees, birds, the wind, boats, vacuum cleaners, dreams, and your heart. Some songs start with the music. Some start with the words. Some start with the drums. Dana Lyons shares how he writes songs and explains some of the tools and mysteries he’s observed that help in songwriting. Workshop participants and Dana will write a song together, and as time allows, look at songwriting projects of some of the workshop attendees.
Dana discusses three methods of songwriting:
Dana writes 90% of his songs starting with the music. After singing a song or two and discussing how those songs were written, Dana breaks out the mini tape recorder and starts writing a new song on the spot, to demonstrate how he writes most of his songs.
Dana then leads the class in “speed songwriting” and the participants attempt to complete a first draft of a song that day. First, we break into small groups and come up with a list of possible themes for a song. After choosing the song theme, everyone brainstorms ideas for lyrics. Then Dana helps cobble the various lyric ideas together with some music, and voila!: A first draft of a song.
In schools where I’m performing at an assembly after the songwriting session, if time allows for completing a song and a bit of rehearsal, the workshop participants may perform their song at the assembly. Teachers will have a sense if this is appropriate for the class.
It is possible to “pay your rent” and do what you love and believe in. The method can be described in two words: low overhead.
Musician and activist Dana Lyons discusses how he and other activists and artists have made enough money to live on AND work at what they love. As time allows, some participants will share their dreams with the group and we will design an initial five-minute business plan for a possible approach to pursuing such a lifestyle.
Some points that will be discussed include: