Teaching & Speaking

A renowned writer of many hits for other artists as well as herself, Beth Nielsen Chapman is in demand as a songwriting teacher and creative coach, having taught at such schools as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music & Drama, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts and Berklee School of Music in Boston, and numerous festivals and venues internationally.

Beth presents her unique and inspiring style of teaching in much the same way she approaches writing itself.  For any writer in need of a boost of creative energy, this journey into the workings of the creative flow will cover some great tips and advice on how to step fully into your center and find your voice, in writing and singing as well as keeping your balance in the performance of your songs.

She begins each class by bringing everyone into a full appreciation of the never-changing-ever-present “Creative Spirit,” sharing great tips on how to “cultivate, trust, and learn to follow the clues brought forth by that powerful yet effortless source that tosses the most brilliant stuff up onto the shores of our psyche.”

“We are all like gardeners here. From the place of ‘thinking’ we can only prepare the soil, plant the seeds, water the seeds and pull the weeds—even rearrange the rocks and plants by seeking inspiration in the work of others, study hard, practice, edit and restructure.  But we cannot claim ownership of the power or force that actually causes a seed to crack open and push through to the light, we can take no more credit for what is brilliant in our song, poem or painting than we can for making the flower that grows in our garden.  Still, as creative vessels we can experience that miracle come right through us as we learn to open a space for it to enter.”

The miracle of creative flow comes from the same source no matter what’s growing. The great song, like the flower, is a divine expression of creativity.  In the beginning of the process it’s better to keep the brain out of the way and allow the heart and soul, the subconscious wells of creativity, to flow and stumble along without “knowing”. Drifting into the “unknown” is the essence of creative unfolding.  There’s plenty of time to fine tune and polish the work to perfection.

Beth intersperses songs, stories and insights using great pro-active tangible exercises, the students learn ways to access and trust intuition, work with fear (it’s along for the ride) and move the brain/ego aside to allow the most creative oxygen in. “After that first draft it’s time to roll up our sleeves and put the brain to work analyzing and editing your work into it’s finished perfection. It’s essential to embrace the art of balancing the craft with the inspiration. If the heart and body and breath of great writing come from the soul, then you can thank the brain for help with the clothes, shoes, and matching handbag.”

You’ll experience some valuable insights on how to maximize the whole spectrum of what you can bring to your writing after a BNC workshop!

Teaching / Speaking Events

A Few Topics Beth Teaches

Lifting Off With the Muse: Fasten your seatbelts as you embark on the spacious, limitless journey of writing a song letting the creative spirit to guide the process along the path of “not knowing”, eluding the pitfalls and limitations of your ego and your brain and opening the channels of intuition.

The Care And Feeding Of The Creative Spirit: Cultivate and nurture that gift within you.  Protect, defend and develop a healthy Muse.” Four Food Groups”, “Setting Out The Tea”, “Weightlifting in the Gym of Creativity”, and “Planting Your Garden” are some of the many tools and tips you can learn.

There’s Got To Be A Morning After:  Beth will critique songs and talk about looking at what you’ve written in the ‘light of day’.  Learn to let ‘the critic’ within you speak out, nip and tuck … this is one of the most incredible ways to grow as a writer.  Learn how to re-write … and un-re-write!

The Jungle Of The Music Business: “Lions & Tigers & Bears, Oh My!”  Dropping breadcrumbs, tapping your heels together and other methods of finding your way back to your creative center.

Art vs. Commerce:  How and when to wear your armor.  Talent has no compass: mustering determination.

The Three “R’s”:  Recover, Rejuvenate, and Re-write again!  (you have nothing to lose but a sheet of paper and some pencil lead)

Sacred Waiting:  Facing the ‘great white’ {as in “great white blank piece of paper” — just think of what Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell & Bob Dylan have to live up to!)

Sing When You Speak/Speak When You Sing: This is a technique that addresses the ease of delivery and clarity. We will explore the art of singing from the center of your most powerful effortless center of communication. Your speaking voice!  With no more effort than speaking, we will open up to new ways to perceive the delivery a song. Whether you plan to make it to American Idol or you just want to sing the clearest vocal on your work-tapes that show your song when you play it for a demo singer, this is a great class even for those who don’t consider themselves singers.  It’s a wonderful way to take singing to another level. In addition, we’ll be learning to dive for melody using the voice during the writing process.


“By far it has been the most interesting, stimulating and heartful songwriting workshop I’ve ever attended since I started pursuing songwriting!  It’s very unique in its way and brings out the message of an endless universe with an endless inner potential to write songs or be creative in any way whatsoever.  It’s a great message to the psyche that can work both on a conscious and/or subconscious level to really make a difference in a person’s life!”

“Thank you for your truly inspirational master class on Tuesday evening … I came to the event dejected, and left feeling empowered. I am and will be forever grateful”

“I left feeling inspired and nourished. You emit such an infectious joy and hopefulness – it is the most beautiful and powerful thing and I hope I can ‘grow up’ to be even a bit like that.” ?

“The music industry can be very overwhelming and confusing and it was great to get some accurate information on what my life might be like after Berklee.  Beth Nielsen Chapman’s speech on fear and its effects on our ability to write truthful songs changed the way I’m going to approach my future songwriting. I thought she did a fabulous job informing us and keeping this encouraged.” —Casey McQuillen

“I won’t forget this amazing insightful week. Every speaker vocalized things I needed to hear. But I was especially blown away by Beth Nielsen Chapman. I love when she said to water the garden by filling one’s mind with great art. That helps me look at songwriting from the outside and understand that it is something a person can consciously expand. Her trust in the creative flow was a beautiful thing to see!”

“You’re an inspiration to me as a female in the music industry. I feel so empowered after hearing you speak. My father is also a cancer survivor and thanks to you I actually feel the courage to start writing a song about it.  You’ve  definitely made a strong impact in my life. As an international student I feel encouraged to pursue my dreams after hearing your opinions on going overseas and such. It will be tough but I won’t give up! Thank you for sharing your life career and everything else with us good luck and health to you.”  —Georgia English

“Thanks for the advice on fear and singing–some of the best things I’ve ever heard in the clinic!” —Molly Lins

“Thank you so much for totally refreshing my perspective on songwriting your inspiring words were just what I needed to hear. I plan on doing a lot of playing when I get back to Boston!” —Christina Apostolapoulous

“You blew my mind and filled my notebook with inspirational quotes that I will forever refer to in times of young frustration.” —Russ

“Your wisdom regarding spontaneity and creativity was truly inspiring.”  —Jordan Casti

“You were one of the most inspiring clinicians I have yet seen at my time at Berklee and the most inspiring I saw while down in Nashville. I y by no means a songwriter but everything you said spoke to me as a person and where I am today. A million thanks to you for everything you did for me!” —Michelle Attaerdi

“I was amazed by your story, your creative process and your strength. When you describe how to speak from rhythm and pitch instead of singing I was profoundly affected. For years now I have believed that I’m physically not able to belt. But based on what you said I have a new way to try and I am very very excited at the possibilities. You’re a phenomenally inspiring woman thank you so much!” — Marcella Camargo Silva

“Your talk was very special to me. You made the conversation about the business fun and interactive. I first sang “This Kiss” at a vocal competition when I was 13. I won my age group…thanks for that!  When you talked about connecting our music to the soul and the energy around us that really struck a chord with me. Being a spiritual person this topic helps me reflect on my own writing. I know letting the soul and subconscious come out in my writing will help me. Thank you so much for talking with us!” —Brie Capone

“Your words on inviting fear in are some of the greatest I’ve ever heard. It was great to hear this honest view that you have on songwriting. Your singing tips were awesome too … thanks a ton!” —Khiyon Hursey

“Thank you for teaching. You struck a perfect balance between overall thinking and specific practices we can apply and then wrapped it up with incredible music. I am a drummer and I’ve been told I have an nice speaking voice but not singing voice and I’ve already gotten compliments on my singing since your clinic thank you.”

“Thank you for your knowledge and insight! Your advice on overcoming fear was life-changing. I can’t wait to dig back into my art form passionate and unafraid.” —Ali Veech

“I went in for a session with Beth when pregnant and worried that I couldn’t access the voice I’d been used to hearing. Working for a short time with her was a revelation. I was having difficulty breathing and getting long tones, I felt like my voice wasn’t as fluid as it had been in the past. Beth took me through a few exercises that unlocked the natural tone in my speaking voice then translated that to my singing voice and in no short time, I had access to all the tones and strength, but with less ‘work’. It’s as if she unlocked what I knew all along but could not access on my own. She’s a voice whisperer!!!”

—Amy Speace, artist, songwriter, teacher

“Thank you so much for sharing your gifts with us while we were visiting Nashville. You’re story was incredibly inspirational to all of us. Thank you for sharing your professional and life achievements. Being president of Berklee for the cure cancer awareness and fundraising club your story of overcoming breast cancer and dodging a brain tumor work was incredibly moving.  Thank you so much for giving your time to us.” —Nikki Rood Evolution des Blackjack Spiels by Gluecksspiel Master

Teaching and Speaking Request