For five years now I have been teaching songwriting at Antelope Valley College in California. My Facebook feed reminded me of this fact on Wednesday with a flashback to five years prior, the day I taught my first class. Wow, time flies. I think the words I used to describe my experience in my initial Facebook post were "I'm on a cloud." I can honestly and happily say that I feel the same way as I begin this semester, five years later. Apart from faith and family, songwriting is my "why." It feels like what I was meant to do. Knowing one's purpose gives a sense of grounding and fulfillment. I have recognized for the past five years that my enjoyment of songwriting is increased dramatically when I can share it with others. We were designed, after all, to interact with other people and sharing our passion with others makes us feel somehow more human, more connected, more alive. Teaching and sharing my excitement (lets face it, I'm a songwriting geek) is super satisfying and I am grateful for every knowledge hungry student I have ever had the pleasure of working with. Recently I have come to appreciate the experience of co-writing in much the same way that I do teaching. It's not that I haven't done any co-writing before, in fact it was one of the things I enjoyed most during my days with Golden Ticket and when working on writing various stage musicals. For several years, however, I have been flying solo when it came to writing. I am glad to say I have grown and improved my craft during this period and working alone gave me the luxury of time to pour myself over lyrics and melodic phrases until they perfectly represented my vision. However, I teach my students each semester the importance of co-writing and I must confess for a while it has been a "do as I say, not as I do" situation. This year I made a commitment to co-write more often mostly because in Nashville it is the way things are done. Songs there are written by multiple writers and usually completed in a day (For someone who likes to tweak a lyric for six months, this is a challenging new world!) I am happy to report that January and February have proved to be fruitful months in achieving the goal of collaboration and I hope to post the results on my music page very soon. I guess what I want to point out is this: Collaboration is great for all the reasons you might expect... two or more heads ARE better than one and the results of co-writing are most often better than what one writer can accomplish alone. Though this is true, I have found what I think might be an even better reason to collaborate and that is the joy of sharing a passion. Thank you to those who have given of your time to sit with me in a room or by Skype and be open and giving and stubborn and wonderful, sharing the struggle and joy of what you were meant to do. I look forward to seeing most of you at The Durango Songwriter's Expo in Ventura next week and let's work together again soon!