CANCELLED DUE TO LOW ENROLLMENT - Harmony and Melody Exploration for Songwriters (3 sessions) at The Parlor Room

  • September 9 - November 4, 2023
  • The Parlor Room

    32 Masonic Street
    Northampton, Massachusetts 01060
Ticket Price $30.00-$80.00 This event is now over


The Parlor Room School of Music Presents
Harmony and Melody Exploration for Songwriters 
at The Parlor Room

Saturday, September 9 (3-4:30pm)

Saturday, October 14 (3-4:30pm)

Saturday, November 4 (3-4:30pm)


Drop-in price: $30 GA / $20 MEMBERS

Bundle Price: $80 GA / $50 MEMBERS


Harmony and Melody Exploration for Songwriters

In this workshop we will explore ways to free up your subconscious so that fresh melodies and harmonies can emerge with ease. Songwriting is a process of both steeping the subconscious with new flavors and vocabulary and then creating a mindset for the new colors to then arise naturally. You will learn how to write songs with melodies that move with wide ranges and a depth of harmony that both comforts and surprises. We will listen to some of my favorite songs and I will draw out the shape of the melody to explain why it is so effective. I will also provide some ways to experiment with diversifying your harmonic palette so the song can keep expanding in unexpected ways. A good song has something constant/familiar and also something surprising and we will talk about ways to achieve this balance. We will also explore ways to collaborate and write a song in groups with the other folks in the workshop. 

This workshop is for late beginner to advanced songwriters. We will cover in-depth music theory but I will use language that is accessible for all levels. Having a beginner's knowledge of an instrument will help.


Mare Berger 

Mare started playing piano at age 4 and attended Indiana University, studying jazz piano, and went on to receive an M.A. at William Paterson in composition and jazz arranging, studying with Jim McNeely. In 2006 Mare was a member of the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop, and in 2007 had music premiered at the Renee Weiler Concert Hall. In the summer of 2009 Mare opened up for Mos Def (now known as Yasiin Bey), playing keyboard with the singer Lilla D’Mone. Mare was a recipient of the 2011 Young Jazz Composers Awards and played piano at the Aaron Davis Hall with the Tamar-Kali Group. In 2012, Mare subbed in the pit for the Broadway musical, Evita, playing accordion and synthesizer. Mare has been an artist in residence at the Banff Centre, Harold Arts, and ElMERGE. In the Fall of 2013, Mare went on tour in Europe for 7 weeks, playing and creating sound installations for Tara Rynders’s project: You and Me. In 2014, Mare had the opportunity to accompany Josephine Foster at the Manhattan Inn, and released a solo album, Built on Water, of all original songs for voice and piano. In 2016, The Berger Siblings released an album, Maybe So, featuring Mare’s original songs. Mare had the honor to play at the Jazz Standard in January, 2018 with Arthur Vint and the Associates. Mare co-founded and co-directed The Moon Choir, a choir featuring queer and trans people plus allies. In 2019 Mare played at The Bitter End with the NY Songwriters Circle. In spring of 2020 Mare released an album The Moon is Always Full, featuring original songs for voices and string quartet and will be releasing a new album Dreaming Blue, in Sept 2023. Mare has been teaching piano and songwriting for 20 years and has been playing piano for 38 years. Mare believes in the importance of collaboration as a way of fighting fascism and oppression, and facilitates regular workshops encouraging people to imagine together: Collective Songwriting for Collective Liberation.


The Parlor Room Nonprofit and School of Music's mission is to: Promote a vibrant musical community in downtown Northampton, MA for musicians of all abilities and at all stages of their career. The Parlor Room will bring nationally touring and local acts to our listening room to provide an exceptional experience for the artist and audience and guide musicians and anyone interested in a career in the music industry through our school of music. Learn more at

The Parlor Room is a BYOB venue.  Tickets are non-refundable. 

The Parlor Room is located at 32 Masonic Street Northampton, MA 01060

Date & Time

Sep 9 - Nov 4, 2023

Venue Details

The Parlor Room

32 Masonic Street
Northampton, Massachusetts 01060 The Parlor Room
The Parlor Room