These workshops/master classes are often combined with JUST GETTING GOOD performances. 

The Creative Life: Creating Opportunities Everywhere

(A class for all independent creatives, not just musicians)   

Valerie traces her artistic and life journey—from classical violinist, Army lieutenant, indie rocker and hired gun for arena tours (Cyndi Lauper, Joe Jackson, Trans-Siberian Orchestra) to musical theatre writer/actor, Disney songwriter and live-looping artist—by focusing on how to create opportunities instead of waiting for them. Val connects with each group based on their interests and experience, reinforcing the values of authenticity, joyful discipline, and cultivating a direct artist-audience relationship through everything from Kickstarter to social media. Being an artist today means huge responsibility, but also unprecedented freedom and opportunity if handled well; Val shares her secrets and struggles, and answers all questions.  

Loop This!

(A Live Looping Master Class - No experience necessary)   

Combining classical training, pop music songwriting/performance and cutting-edge tech, Valerie breaks down the elements of her live-looping technique, showing how she multiplies her electric violin to symphonic proportions with the “looping” application Ableton Live. Valerie demonstrates the art of recording and layering, stacking and triggering repeating loops to form a musical mosaic in real time. Students will learn to build loops themselves and participate in creating the music. This class is perfect for those excited about enhancing traditional techniques by uniting them with technology to make music more accessible to everyone.  

Making a Modern Musical

As a prolific songwriter for Disney films and Off-Broadway shows, Val discusses her approach to writing musicals for stage and screen that reach new and old audiences alike. From the intricacies of her songwriting process to negotiating collaborations with book writers, directors and producers, Val pulls the curtain back on how musicals actually get made today and how playing it safe doesn’t get you anywhere. 

“Val lit up our classroom with tales from her career… offering incisive and much appreciated feedback. The students seemed mesmerized by her and the visit was nothing less than inspirational.”   

—Michael Wartofsky, Professor, Berklee College of Music   

“Her insight into both the business and art of crafting a creative life are invaluable.”   

—Christine Larson, Professor, Stanford University   

Val is terrific in the classroom. Her ability to convey with passion and clarity what it takes to make it as an artist out in the world is an invaluable contribution... [She is] the ideal guest artist.    

—Polly Carl, PhD, Associate Vice President, Emerson College