As we have officially hit the one-year mark of the pandemic, I am continually amazed by the inventiveness and creativity within the Ballibay community. This month’s Balliblog is all about one of Ballibay’s music directors and camp moms Deidre Struck. I had the opportunity to speak with Deidre this week to talk to her about her new music business: The Song Inside. As a professional musician, educator, and songwriter, Deidre has begun this business to show musicians and novices alike, that they too can write the song they always dreamed of. Deidre teaches songwriting, voice, and piano at Ballibay and is a music director for some of our musicals each summer.
The Song Inside will include private coaching sessions with Deidre to work closely to create your own original song, group sessions to collaborate with other songwriters, and an online community for support and connection. Whether you are an experienced lyricist or musician
struggling to work past writer’s block, or a beginner with a desire to write your very first song - Deidre is here to guide you through your songwriting journey. Deidre’s goals within her sessions are to bring joy and depth of emotion into the writing process, and to, ultimately, bring more original songs into the world!
Can you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do?
Hi! I'm a Brooklyn-based pianist/singer/songwriter and Mom of two Ballibay kids. I'm originally from Idaho and moved to NYC to play keyboards for The Big Apple Circus in 1997. I never left! Since then, I've played a zillion gigs, released three jazz CDs on the Sunnyside Label, and spent a lot of time as a Teaching Artist for Carnegie Hall, specifically for The Lullaby Project. The Lullaby Project provides moms and dads in shelters, prisons, and hospitals a chance to partner with us to write lullabies for their kids. We then record the lullabies and have celebration concerts. It's ridiculously fun and rewarding.
How did you come to know (and love) Ballibay?
I learned about Ballilbay a few years ago through one of my piano students. That same summer, a friend of mine was a parent artist at Ballibay and told me what a great opportunity it was. Last summer was my first summer at Ballibay and I immediately knew: this place is exactly what I need, and what my kids need. It's like a family, but with art and meadows and shows! I played and coached for musicals, wrote the music and performed with the kids, and generally enjoyed life!
What inspired you to begin The Song Inside?
Since covid hit, I've thought a lot about what I think my calling is in the world. This deep dive inspired me to launch my dream business, The Song Inside!
The Song Inside draws on my many years at Carnegie helping people tap into their inner songwriter. Most people don't believe they even have an inner songwriter, but I know differently!
I help individuals and groups write songs from the heart which were always there, but needed some coaxing to come out into light.
What do you expect the process to look like?
Eventually, The Song Inside will consist of four parts: one-on-one coaching to A) help songwriters break through blocks they have around current songs or B) start from scratch to create a new song, group workshops for collaboration, an online community, and a membership for support and fellowship, and a longer songwriting course. What makes it different from other songwriting coaching businesses is that I'm coming at it from a soul-centered perspective. I want people to find the joy, beauty, and healing that comes from creating original songs!
What does it mean to you to express yourself through music?
If there's one thing I've learned over my life, it's that music really is the universal language, and it's one that we all have inside us. Sometimes music can express things when words fail. Sometimes, words put with music make the words that much better. I look forward to my second magical summer at Ballibay. Who knows what music and songs this summer will bring?
While speaking with Deidre and continuing to write these Balliblogs each month, I never cease to be absolutely blown away by my coworkers. Amidst my peers, there is a constant urge to create with innovation, openness, and collaboration - and while that is so clearly seen during our time at Ballibay it has been such a unique joy to explore it during this past year. You can learn more about Deidre, listen to some of her music (including one of my favorites written during the height of the pandemic Hug You), and contact her by visiting her website: www.pianogoddess.com