with David Wilcox,
Peppino D'Agostino, James Taylor and Alison Burns
Benicia, California
August 25-27, 2017
Learn songwriting, guitar and creativity at this immersive three day retreat.

Songwriters, music lovers and creatives of all types and styles are welcome at the Global Songwriting Retreat in sunny California, USA. Whether you’ve been writing songs for years, or want to get started, you'll be able to immerse yourself in learning songwriting and creativity at this three day retreat with one of the world's leading singer-songwriters;
David Wilcox!

From finding your creative voice to crafting you songs and more, David Wilcox will give you the inspiration and exercises, to build your creative confidence and turn your ideas into finished songs. The retreat is designed to gather songwriters, music lovers and creatives of all types from around the globe with a common goal - learning, playing, eating and sleeping music.

This is the first time The Global Songwriting Retreat has been held in the USA. Don’t miss this chance to spend a week-end in the Golden State of California, home of some of the world's best music. What could be better than a musical holiday where you really learn something and have a great time with like-minded people?

The Global Songwriting Retreat will take place in Benicia in Northern California, just outside San Francisco on August 25th, 26th and 27th, 2017. 

During the day you'll learn directly from David and his guest teachers and every evening you can sit back with a California wine or local handcrafted beer and take part in intimate, once-in-a-lifetime jam sessions. Just bring your creativity, get ready to learn, write, jam, make friends and have fun!

What Is The Global Songwriting Retreat About?
The Global Songwriting Retreats are all about unlocking your creativity and emotional range as a songwriter. This retreat is about helping you FIND YOUR UNIQUE CREATIVE VOICE and having fun in the process.
Improved Technique
Improved technique and a new level of confidence as a songwriter.
Multiple Styles
You'll be exposed to learning to write in different styles to develop your songwriting.
Spend three days getting inspiration and making new friends. 
Songwriting Exercises
You'll learn plenty of new exercises to continue to progress your songwriting.
Crafting Your Own Songs
During the Retreat you'll learn to take your ideas and craft them into a finished song.
Live Performances
Opportunity to perform onstage with David Wilcox and your fellow creatives.
The Daily Schedule

Friday 25th August 2017
2:00 - 3:00 pm Students Arrive
3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Retreat Welcome & Introductions
4:00 – 5:30 Opening Session
5:30 - 6:30 Workshop I
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm Dinner
9:00 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jams

Saturday 26th August 2017
9:30 am – 10:30 am Workshop II
11:00 - 12:30 pm Workshop  III
12:30 pm - 1:45 pm Lunch
2:00 pm – 3:30 Workshop IV
​3:30 pm - 4:00 pm Coffee Break
4:00 - 5:30 pm  Workshop V 
7:00 - 8:30 pm Dinner
8:30 pm - 11:00 pm Evening Jams

Sunday 27th August 2017
9:30 am – 11:00 Workshop VI
11:30 am - 1:00 pm Workshop VII
1:00 pm – 2:15 pm Lunch
2:15 pm – 3:30 pm Workshop VIII
3:30pm - 4:00pm - Coffee Break
4:00 pm - 5:30 Workshop IX
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm Performance at Local Venue (optional)

The Location
With a population of 28,000, Benicia is a small waterfront town in the Bay Area less than an hour from Oakland or San Francisco and twenty minutes from the Napa Valley. This charming hamlet gives visitors a chance to relax as they stroll the compact downtown's boutiques, antiques stores, and restaurants. This one-time state capital (1853-54) and location of the first Army post on the West Coast is dotted with historic sites and is a haven for the creative set — about 500 artists make Benicia their home.

Wilcox released an independent album in 1987, was a winner of the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival New Folk award in 1988, and by 1989 he had signed with A&M Records. His first release on the label, How Did You Find Me Here, sold over 100,000 copies the first year largely by word of mouth.

Considered a 'songwriter's songwriter', his songs have been covered by artists such as k.d. lang and many others.  In addition to his writing prowess, his skills as a performer and storyteller are unmatched.  He holds audiences rapt with nothing more than a single guitar, thoroughly written songs, a fearless ability to mine the depths of human emotions of joy, sorrow and everything in between, and all tempered by a quick and wry wit.

Reflecting on well over 20 years of record-making and touring extensively around the US and world, Wilcox says, “Music still stretches out before me like the head-lights of a car into the night.  It’s way beyond where I am, but it shows where I’m going.  I used to think that my goal was to catch up, but now I’m grateful that the music is always going to be way out in front to inspire me.”

“David Wilcox’s ongoing musical journey is compelling and richly deserving of a listen.” - Rolling Stone Magazine 

Guitar Teacher

D'Agostino, a native of Italy, has been hailed as “a guitarist's guitarist” by Acoustic Guitar magazine as well as “a giant of the acoustic guitar” (San Diego Reader), and holds many top guitar awards - even his Peppino D'Agostino Seagull Signature Guitar model was ranked in June 2014 as one of the 10 best signature guitars by Guitar Player Magazine.

D’Agostino has performed in more than 31 countries; been featured at prestigious international music festivals, and frequently plays with prominent artists around the world, including Tommy Emmanuel, Leo Kottke, Martin Taylor, and Eric Johnson. His 18 recordings include releases on Favored Nations, Mesa/Bluemoon, Acoustic Music Records, and other labels.

When not performing D’Agostino also enjoys teaching. He has made various teaching videos, has individual students, and through the years has been a guest instructor at various guitar programs such as Creative Vacances in La Moreau, France, Acoustic Alaska Guitar Camp, Swannanoa Gathering, and Guitar Workshop Plus. Truefire, an online instruction company, has released two courses in which D’Agostino explains his influential guitar techniques and approach to composition. One thing is true – Peppino is always thinking guitar.

Creativity Coach
James Taylor M.B.A. F.R.S.A. is a speaker, author, coach and internationally recognized leader in creativity and the music business. For over 20 years, he has been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, writers and musicians how to maximize, monetize and market their creativity. As the founder of C.SCHOOL™ and host of The Creative Life Podcast and TV Show, he’s taught thousands of individuals in over 120 countries through his online courses, books, videos and keynote speeches.

His corporate clients have included Apple, Yamaha, Sony, Bertelsmann and Johnson & Johnson as well as high profile 1-on-1 coaching clients. As an in-demand creativity expert, he has been featured in countless media outlets and was the subject of a 30 minute BBC documentary about his life and work.

Recognized as a leading authority on creativity, innovation and marketing, James is the recipient of The Modern ONTRApreneur Award, the S.D. Southern Award and also holds a Masters in Business Administration (M.B.A.). He is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (F.R.S.A.) whose Fellows have included Benjamin Franklin, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Bob Dylan, Adam Smith, Nelson Mandela and Professor Stephen Hawking.

Vocal Coach
Alison Burns is an award-winning singer and vocal coach who has performed and run singing workshops in the USA, Europe and Asia.

A lifelong love of music started at home, with an early education in the Great American Songbook from a father who played guitar and a mother who would carry the guitar case into his gigs! As a young girl in Dundee, an industrial city on the east coast of Scotland, the dreams were of singing and acting in Hollywood and the soundtrack was Peggy Lee, Lena Horne, and Bessie Smith among many others. 

Her debut album, Kissing Bug was received with universal acclaim and became the first album by a Scottish jazz singer to reach the Jazz Top 10. So far she has packed her bag to perform in far-flung destinations such as Tokyo, New York, Nashville, Cannes, Italy and Shanghai.

The International Association for Jazz Education has awarded her for Outstanding Service to Jazz Education and in 2013 she received the Brand Personality Award by the Asia Pacific Brands Foundation, previous recipients of this award include Aretha Franklin and Steve Jobs.
"Thank you for all of your efforts, attention to detail, and hard work to make the guitar retreat such a success. It was an extraordinary experience for me. The teaching was inspiring and the camaraderie was wonderful. There was great playing by teachers and students alike." 
- Duncan
"Peppino D'Agostino has impacted my guitar playing like no one else. His passion for the guitar is contagious. The breadth of skills and techniques that he brings to his students seems endless. And his ability to make the learning experience valuable, rewarding and fun to an entire group of students with mixed backgrounds and skill levels is second to none. Whether in historic Benicia, California or the Amalfi coast in Italy, every retreat with Peppino strengthens my playing in ways I couldn't have imagined."
- Miles
"If I had realized I wanted proof that souls are knowable, that poetry can break a heart open, that David Wilcox shares a rare gift of encouragement through his music... 
- David


Finding your voice as a songwriter 
Crafting a song - what to do after the initial idea?
Songwriting exercises
Guitar skills to accompany yourself
Becoming a better singer
Unleashing your creative potential & overcoming blocks
The Gold Package includes accommodation at either The Shorelight Inn, Inn at Benicia Bay, Union Hotel, or Heritage Inn. The three main lodging options are within walking distance of each other and close to some of the workshop activities and the small Benicia downtown area.  Built at the turn of the century, the Shorelight Inn was once known as The Anderson Hotel and also referred to as the Pink Palace.  This beautiful, historic building was moved a half block to its current location on the Benicia waterfront and lovingly restored.   Each suite is tastefully decorated and welcoming to guests. Waking up near the water or sitting on the relaxing porch will surely add to your week-end's inspiration.  The Inn at Benicia Bay has beautiful rooms to relax the soul and mixes a rich history with modern amenities. This 1854 Victorian is located in downtown Benicia, just half way between the charming main street and Benicia’s Marina/Yacht Club. Like a European retreat, the garden oasis combines that old world feeling with a sense of privacy. Without being too far away, The Inn at Benicia Bay lets you get away from it all. The comfortable décor of the Union Hotel is reminiscent of California's past. In the middle of the nineteenth century, this cream colored hotel welcomed guests from all over the world with warm hospitality. The tradition continues today. Each guestroom although older in its decor is spacious.  You will be able to imagine Benicia of the past while at the Union Hotel.  The Heritage Inn is a modern hotel, convenient to the freeway and downtown Benicia. The guest rooms are spacious and comfortable.  On site is a jacuzzi and swimming pool that you can enjoy for a little rest or exercise before or after the workshop.
Shorelight Inn Front Porch

Shorelight Inn Bedrooms

Shorelight Inn Water Views

The Inn at Benicia Bay

Historic Union Hotel

Heritage Inn

Silver Package
  • All Workshops (over 13hrs of instruction)
  • Welcome goodie bag
  • Sunday night performance (optional)
  • 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners
  • Wine/beer at Dinners
  • Evening jam sessions & instructor performances!
Gold Package
Most Popular
  • All Workshops (over 13hrs of instruction)
  • Welcome goodie bag
  • Sunday night performance (optional)
  • 2 Lunches & 2 Dinners
  • Wine/beer at Dinners
  • Evening jam sessions and instructor performances!
  • Friday & Saturday Accommodation in Benicia
** Bonus Online Course ** 
Bonus Online Course
The first 15 people to register for the retreat will also receive access to James Taylor's online course on the creative process (value $297).

This online home-study course from James Taylor's C.SCHOOL™ includes over 40 HD videos, pdf worksheets, and audio files on understanding your creative process and breaking down creative blocks.
Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When does the retreat take place.

A. The retreat classes run from the Friday afternoon until Sunday evening.

Q. Where does the retreat take place.

A.The retreat classes will take place in downtown Benicia close to the three main lodging spots.

Q. Can my partner attend even though they won't participate in the classes.

A. Absolutely, non-participating partners are very welcome and the price per non-participating partner (sharing room) is $295 which can be purchased HERE. Partners may also sit in on a workshop session or two as long as there is adequate space in the room.

Q. What is your cancellation policy?

A. You can receive a full refund minus any credit card/hotel booking fees within the first 30 days of booking. Please consider getting travel insurance to cover unexpected occurrences.

Q. What about accommodation?

A.The Shorelight Inn, ​​​​​​The Inn at Benicia Bay, and Union Hotel are in the center of the small downtown area of Benicia and a five minute walk from each other.  The Heritage Inn, is about a mile away.  The Heritage Inn also has an exercise room, outdoor pool, and spa. If you would like to request a specific hotel, check out their websites and send your request and any other accommodation questions to Donna Wapner at dwapner@sbcglobal.net .  Priority for the downtown accommodations will go to participants who attend with a partner (when possible).

Q. Can I book extra nights of accommodation?

A. Yes. Once you know the hotel room that you are assigned, you can contact the hotel directly to book extra nights.

Q. Who can I contact if I have other questions related to the retreat?

A. Please email dwapner@sbcglobal.net

Q. Can you accommodate those with dietary issues?

A. We are happy to cater for people with diet issues. Vegetarian, vegans and basic diet requirements are included in the price.

Q. Is the venue and accommodation suitable for those with mobility issues?

A. We are not able to accommodate anyone with severe mobility problems. Please get in touch with dwapner@sbcglobal.net to discuss your particular needs.

Q. How do I get there?

A. You can travel to Benicia either by air or road.

By air: Benicia is 45minutes from Oakland International Airport and an hour from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).

Public transportation to Benicia from the airports include: BART (to Pleasant Hill) - www.bart.gov - and Evans Airporter to Vallejo - www.evanstransportation.com.


The Premier Music Retreat Experiences
This will be the first Global Songwriting Retreat in beautiful Benicia. James Taylor's C.SCHOOL™ also produces music  and creativity retreats for Martin Taylor, Mike Marshall & Peppino D'Agostino in the same location. Our Benicia team is focused on giving you the very best experience in which to learn songwriting.

Other C.SCHOOL™  retreats take place in London, New York, Italy, Scotland, France and Asia. We are honored to work with David Wilcox for our first Global Songwriting Retreat in California. We hope you decided to join us for three day days of eating, sleeping, learning and playing music.