Workshops and School Programs

Workshops and School Programs

Over the years, Suz has led and provided music for workshops on singing, songwriting, improvising, playing with Boomwhackers, ukulele and other topics. Here are a few of them.


Music Improv Instructor, Stages Theatre Camp

Stages Theatre Camp2012 to 2017

Stages Theatre Camp of Corvallis, Oregon is an award-winning educational yearly experience presented by CSD Theaters and Corvallis High School. The positive and fun training provides education in theater skills while raising the student’s appreciation of the arts. Suz created and teaches their music improv program for students of all grade levels, from 1 through 12, with a focus on on-the-spot songwriting, quick and easy music improv secrets, and the 3 elements used to create a song.

The two week camp, held each summer, culminates in a student showcase of techniques and projects worked on during camp. Unlike traditional theater camps, STAGES is a skills-based camp and not a recital-based camp. The focus is on students cultivating marketable skills necessary for careers in the theater industry.




Ukulele Quick Start for Beginners

Suz Smiley Uke Graphic

Photo by DaveWalton

An 2-hour workshop by Suz designed to cover all the basics (and special tips and tricks) for those first learning ukulele.

Includes: Tuning; parts of the uke; 7 most common (and cool) strumming patterns; Visual comparison of chord diagrams versus tablature; Easy songs with 1, 2, and 3 chords; Easy Songs with faster chords changes and strums; Cool songs (with 4 to 5 chords, minor chords, and a bit of tablature).

Ukulele Quick Start graphicAlso covered are tips and tricks for simplifying chords on the fly, playing partial chords, hand positioning, and lots more (including the top-secret “X” chord that you can play anytime — especially helpful if at a jam where you don’t know the song, or where the chords may be a bit too challenging).

This workshop is built on Suz’s experience over the years playing in Uke bands, presenting workshops at Uke festivals (Tunes in the Dunes, Uketoberfest, the Ukulele Convergence & others) and co-hosting/ co-teaching at the Corvallis Ukulele Cabaret Singalong


Ukulele Festival Workshops

Uke workshop Mya MoeSuz has performed at and led ukulele, singing, and songwriting workshops at numerous ukulele festivals over the years, including: UketoberFest in Eugene, OR (“Transposing/ Vocal Ranges/ Keys” – 2018; “Singing Harmony” – 2012;   “Making money with music” – 2011), Tunes in the Dunes in Westwind, OR (“How to Run a Successful Uke Group” – 2014; “Songwriting 101 & 102;” “Boomwhack Your Way to Singing Harmonies” – 2013;” “How to Run a Successful (and fun) Uke Group;” “TV & Movie Theme Songs on Uke;” 2012: “How to Uke a Group – Uke Club 101;” “1960s Songs”), Ukulele Convergence in Corvallis, OR (2015: “Ukulele Quickstart” and leading a kids singalong), Mya Moe Ukulele Picnic in Hood River, OR, Alohafest, Lebanon, OR.


workshops with vicki hannah lein

  • Seaside workshop flierSinging and speaking Without Fear
    2010 , Adventures in Life Long Learning, Corvallis, Oregon. An interactive two- hour workshop about recognizing and releasing the blocks we hold to expressing our authentic voices, whether in singing or speaking.
  • Singing Without Terror
    Unitarian Universalist Women’s Reatreat. A fun small group experience with Suz and Vicki Hannah Lein at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s Woman’s retreat at Triangle Lake, Oregon. Participants explored basics of music, improvisatioSuz and Vicki Workshopnal play, free-toning, and how to create song “styles”.  At the end, participants co-wrote two fantastic songs celebrating the human spirit!
  • Building Communities Block by Block
    Keynote concert and workshop presentation by Suz and Vicki (Feb. 6, 2007, Salem, Oregon)
  • Keynote Concert & post dinner concert
    Kahneetah Lodge in Easter Oregon, November 2002
  • Building Blocks to Learning: Developing Capable Children, Supporting Professional You”
    Retreat by the Lake, June 28-29, 2003 Care Connection, Coos Bay, Oregon
  • Suz All Workshop
  • Seaside Oregon Wellness Retreat
    A week of fun, healing and miscellaneous workshops. Suz gave a workshop on “Fun with Boomwhackers,” and, along with Vicki Hannah Lein, led a workshop on “Singing Without Fear.”
  • Keynote Concert, 2003, Coos Bay, OR
  • Workshop, Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association Conference, Portland, OR, 2014.


Taxi Rally

Taxi Rally panel 2010Nov. 5-8, 2009 Los Angeles, CA USA

Suz sat on a panel called “Writing Songs and Composing Instrumentals for Film & TV”, moderated by Taxi founder Michael Laskow. He interviewed her along with fellow Taxi composers Matt Hirt, Dean Krippaehne, Chuck Schlacter, Ed Hartman, Martin Haene, Vikki Flawith, Dave Walton, Barry French, John Mazzei and Tracey Marino.

Suz Creativity WorkshopOn the closing day of the Rally, Suz co-led a Creativity Workshop along with Vikki Flawith and John Mazzei, in which she invited participants to explore on the spot songwriting and song stylizing.

Ted Brady Bunch TeeParticipant Ted Fox won the Brady Bunch T-Shirt for his punk rock rendition of “The Muffin Man,” and Trent Oliphant Wowed everyone with his Operatic Pizazz!

Yes, that’s right — a Brady Bunch t-shirt — with the entire theme song printed on it. How groovy is that?


Body Wisdom Wealth & Purpose Experience

Piano workshopJuly 13-16, 2009 Crystal Ballroom, Pan Pacific Vancouver Hotel, Vancouver, B.C. Canada

A four day healing workshop for entrepreneurs with Dr. Kirk Prine, Donny Lobree, and David Neagle. Suz provided improvised piano music with viola player Lobree, led specific songs on voice and piano throughout the event, and also led a singalong during one of the evening events. The event was sponsored by The Missing thread, which focuses on an archetypal system of success for activating purpose.


Boomwhacker Fun!

Boomwhacker workshop pix• April 18, 2010, 2009 – Seven Feathers Casino, Canyonville- a two hour play shop using Boomwhackers (tuned percussion tubes), given for 120 women who are members of the Epsilon Sigma Alpha International conference at Seven Feathers Casino, Oregon.

• CD Recording Project: “Boomwhack Attack!”
Calapooia Middle School, Albany, Oregon, Cindy Miller’s class. Suz visited the classroom several times to teach students the fun-damentals of using Boomwhackers, tuned percussion tubes that are waaaaaayyyyy tubular, man! Students learned to play 8 songs, including one that they composed themselves. Then these were recorded and made into CDs — and every student got to have one. Pretty fun!

  • Stages Theatre Camps • Ukulele Festivals • Harmony Workshops • Women’s Retreats • more


Songwriting workshopsWallop Sisters Fun

Suz has led numerous songwriting workshops over the years, at her private music studios, through Gracewinds Music, through the local Olympics of the Mind groups, and through Corvallis Park & Rec and other venues.

She hosted a Songwriting Workshop with John Braheny, author of “The Craft and Business of Songwriting,” in June 2011. In addition, that workshop featured a presentation about different Creative styles in songwriters and actors by JoAnn Braheny, an experienced consultant to people in the arts and entertainment industry.

Suz also is a frequent guest speaker for the Creative Arts Strand at Talmadge Middle School in Independence, Oregon about being a woman composer.


Singing (and speaking) Without Fear

Singing workshopAdventures in Life Long Learning, Corvallis, Oregon. Feb 12, 2008. An interactive 2 hour workshop about recognizing and releasing the blocks we hold to expressing our authentic voices, whether in singing or speaking. Suz and participants explored how to PLAY again — using the voice without fear or judgment. At the same time, Suz demonstrated top secret performance tips, tricks andSuz Workshop techniques to tap into the relaxed, natural voice inside everyone. The workshop ended with participants making up oodles of styles of singing one song (from country to Grand opera), and then Suz demonstrated some of her on-the-spot songwriting. Yahoo!

– photos by Tony Hayden


Easy Improv for the Classical Teacher

April, 2007 A presentation by Suz for the Oregon Music Teachers Association, Corvallis Chapter. Suz led teachers through specifics of how to teach students to improvise and play by ear right away; how to integrate this information into traditional (sight-reading) piano lessons, and how to encourage music play.


Right Brain Fitness

Jean Bonifas, Springboard Speakers Studio. Suzannah has joined Jean numerous times in presenting romps through tapping into one’s inner creativity through movement, storytelling and vocalizing. Jean also played Mrs. Big, the Femme Fatale character in Piano Dreams: The Movie by Lyris Cooper and Suz.


Live Out Your Piano Dreams

Group Classes through Corvallis Parks & Recreation Department and Gracewinds Music,  numerous years from 2001.

Suz led students through the secrets of how songs are made from just 7 notes of a scale, how chords, harmonies, and styles are also made of the same building blocks, and how students can play songs right away using 3 simple chords.


Music Sequencing and software for Teens

Students did hands on sequencing and recording projects using digital keyboards and Roland MT200 sequencer and sound modules at Gracewinds Music. Early 2000s.


CD Recording Project: “Outta Sight”School albums trio

Oregon State School for the Blind, Relan Colley’s Class. Suz visited the class several times, gave concerts, and coached students in playing and singing songs of their choosing. Then they recorded the songs and created a nifty Compact Disc of their own! (P.S. They came up with the album title.)