Workshops & Panels

FARM 2015 Workshops announced.

At FARM we think the workshops at your conference are a key part of an educational, fun, and worthwhile conference. Our two workshop coordinators, Charlie Mosbrook and Andrew Calhoun, have been hard at work developing another amazing slate of workshops and related events for this year’s conference.


Folk DJ Panel – FARM 2010

Workshops and Panels Overview

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.

Workshops will take place on Friday and Saturday afternoons.


Following is our list of workshops, panels, and special events (have you registered yet??? If not, now’s the time!) and likely workshop leaders or panel participants.  Locations will be added at a later date, and will be in the program listing that all attendees receive.


2015 FARM Workshops and programs


Welcome to FARM Dance: Becca Rhoades – Amos Dean B&C

Come meet your fellow FARM-goers at an afternoon dance mixer! Worried about having two left feet? All the dances are taught and prompted, as well as simple and fun! Come with an open mind and a ready smile. No experience or partner necessary!

Thursday 2pm-3:30pm

Community Sing: Matt Watroba and Spook Handy – Amos Dean B&C

Thursday 3:30-5pm



Roots in the Church: Gina Forsyth, Greg Brown – Amos Dean D

Much of our music today has roots in religion. Explore how the church shaped folk music with two well loved church music experts.


Music Law 101: Peter Strand. – Amos Dean A

Yep, Peter wrote the book! Or at least the syllabus! Bring every question you have about music and entertainment law to this session. Peter will introduce many basic topics useful to musicians, venues, record companies, or future Grammy winners; offer an idea or two about changes that might be ahead in the industry and answer YOUR questions, like copyrighting, trademarking, etc. (A separate session will address the PRO issues from the perspective of venues, radio/TV/streaming, performers, writers and more…)


How to Get the Gig! : Annie Capps, Melissa Dagenhart, Joanne Smiddie-Brush – Johnson 1 & 2

Creating press kits and making a great impression to impress venues and presenters.


Music in Film: Mike Beck – Lindquist Room

How to Make the Movie Business Work For Your Music

Having music included in a popular film, television series or video game offers artists many valuable benefits. This workshop will show how to make movies, television and video games work for independent artists. Benefits include increased revenue, new promotion and exposure opportunities, connections with new audiences, prestige and more. This workshop will unveil the process behind the scenes, and several paths to bring music to the big screen. Extensive contacts and supplementary materials will be provided.


Folk DJ panel – Lilli Kuzma, Karen Impola, Jim Hall, Wayne Greene, Sue Kessell, Kevin Elliott, and more DJs TBA – Lucas Room

A panel discussion led by the people who deliver our music to new audiences through the airwaves. Learn how music is chosen and what you can do to increase your opportunities to get airplay. The panel will be followed by a reception for the DJ’s where you will have a greater opportunity to meet face to face





Art Thieme Celebrating the memory of Art Thieme w/Mark Dvorak – Amos Dean A



“Words & Music/ The Lyrics of Song & Poetry”: Nathan and Marvin Bell – Amos Dean A

Singer-songwriter Nathan Bell and past Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell draw on their works to discuss and illustrate how music and words hold hands in songs and poems


Stagecraft panel / Know Your Own Strength:– Sue Fink, Emily White, Heather Styka  – Lindquist Conference Room

The Power of a Song Intro (During Live Performances). As performers, our words have both purposeful and unintentional effects on how people receive our songs. Listening audiences have a lot to take in when hearing a song, live, especially for the first time. We’ll discuss how a song intro can help the listener make connections; how an intro can engage, inform, intrigue, and entertain. Share what works for you!
Songwriters music in Live Theatre -Grant Freeman – Amos Dean D

Grant Freeman has been writing plays since he was a teenager. He chose his undergraduate education at Puget Sound because there he would be responsible for a full production: producer, director, scenery, direction, lighting. He’s never stopped producing, writing, and directing singular productions since then – mostly in Virginia and Iowa. What’s unusual about Grant is that he NEVER creates a work without choosing a song which personifies his creative impulse for the work. And then, he weaves songs throughout the production. He is an avid listener to music of every sort, with a heavy emphasis on independent artists. Come listen to an interesting live theater artistic process and consider how your work may fit it.


Presenter (venue) discussion– Rick Vines, Lee Herman, others TBA – Lucas Room

An open discussion addressing the needs and concerns that venues face. The moderators will lend their experience and help to keep the discussion focused.


DIY: What to do yourself, and when to hire a pro”: Claudia NyGaard – Johnson 1&2

There are only so many hours in the day. With all the opportunities that software offers to do your own graphics work, promotion and recording, where do you put your time and energy? An unapologetic workaholic, Claudia will talk about using softwares for Pro Tools recording, Adobe Photoshop, using iMovie for Youtube, and web design.




Effortless Singing / Effortless Harmony Singing workshop: Brenda Freed -Amos Dean A

Brenda Freed, MA in Music Education/Music Therapy, has been performing all her life and teaching voice privately for over 20 years, including conference and festival voice workshops. A 2014 Folk Alliance workshop attendee, described her teaching best: “I was impressed with Brenda’s gift for quickly identifying the root of a singer’s problem. Her methods are solid; the concepts clear and precise.”


PRO’s for both artists and presenters – Peter Strand – Amos Dean D

Has your favorite venue closed after a PRO rights invoice was offered? Is your house concert series expected to pay for performance rights? How about your concert series? How can you maximize your PRO earnings? What choices do you have to make about your music and when? What steps can you take early in your career? And late in your career? Peter will discuss the latest on they topics with illustrations and stories from the field. Your questions will be welcome.

PASSPORT REQUIRED: Mike Beck – Johnson 1&2

International Touring without a Record Label, Manager, or Agent

Touring outside the USA presents daunting challenges, but it can be immensely rewarding – artistically, professionally and personally. This panel examines the nuts-and-bolts of touring internationally, including getting gigs, making contacts, transportation, equipment, visas, financial realities of touring overseas, and strategies for maximizing impact before, during and after the tour.


The Mindful Musician: Heather Styka, Maureen Hall – Lucas Room

Coping With the Emotions of Booking, Gigging, and Touring. Mindfulness practices that can help with the emotional challenges of the rigmarole. Maureen will also itroduce Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, (MBSR). MBSR is a way of using meditation to reduce stress. As performers, or even just humans, we all experience stress that makes us less effective from time to time. MBSR gives the participants tools to deal with this stress and eventually, through practice, to eliminate this stress.


Standout From the Crowd- Eric Lambert – Lindquist Room

Enhance your Musicianship! (aka How To Accompany Your Voice and WOW audiences)​

Designed for singer-songwriters, but almost anyone can benefit. Award-winning official TrueFire Educator and veteran musician, Eric Lambert, will teach you some techniques to step up your performance. Challenge yourself to go beyond finger rolls and delve into chord progressions, cross picking, and learn what makes a good instrument solo, etc. Give your songs what they deserve and keep your audience’s’ interest by playing your instrument well. Good instrumentation provides an additional layer of dynamics and emotional expression; it’s an often overlooked, but important extension. Bring your instrument!






If you would like to propose a workshop for our 2016 conference send an email to  Charlie Mosbrook and please include the following information:

  1. Workshop subject (title is even better) and description.
  2. A short paragraph describing your experience in presenting this workshop

Answer the following additional questions:

  1. Would your topic work as panel? or would you consider working with a co-facilitator?
  2. Have you presented this workshop at a previous FARM or other Folk Conference event? When?
  3. Will you be attending the entire conference? Any scheduling requests

Feel free to get in touch with us at if you have any general questions.

Official FARM Playlist

We are currently featuring our 2015 Official Showcase artists! Give a listen - you can expect more of this at this year's FARM conference!

Friends of FARM

Wayne Greene (
Sandy Andina
West Bethesda Folk Music Concerts
Ten Pound Fiddle
Sue Kessell (WNUR)
Simeon Peebler
Deb Kirmer - Last Minute Folk Concerts
Mark Dvorak
Prairie Lights Bookstore
Kari Estrin
Annie Capps

Visit our Sponsorship page for more info.

Future FARM Dates

Dates for future FARM conferences in Iowa City, IA

* October 22 - 25, 2015
* October 27 - 30, 2016
* October 19 - 22, 2017

FARM Member States

North Dakota
South Dakota