Retreat Teachers and Topics

*******Summer Teachers Will Be Announced Soon! Below are Teachers from Winter********

Robin Jackson (he/him)

Retreat Director and Facilitator

An award-winning songwriter, teacher, activist, and spirited impresario, Jackson has dedicated himself to creating connection through art and music.  He is the founder of the Songwriter Soiree, Director of Joy Now youth program, and performs and records internationally as a musician. In addition to directing the retreat, Robin will be leading a workshop on vocal improv and jamming! “A captivating song-crafter, a true storyteller.” – NPR.

Shireen Amini (she/her)

Co- Facilitator
Music and Songwriting Instructor

Shireen Amini (non-binary using she / her pronouns) is a queer, Puerto Rican-Iranian-American, Earth-loving, musician based in Portland, Oregon whose career as a singer-songwriter, performer, percussionist and teaching artist has spanned over 15 years. For over a decade, she has been the front person for the Latin dance rock band ¡Chiringa! and has spent the last several years returning to her solo singer-songwriter roots, cultivating a repertoire of conscious-themed, singalong-style songs. In 2021, Shireen released a solo album entitled Break Myself Free, a pop-rock record filled with energizing grooves, anthemic choruses, and soulful stories of change. With a BA in Ethnomusicology from UCLA and a certificate in Sound, Voice, and Music Healing from CIIS in San Francisco, Shireen has also come to believe strongly in music as a tool for personal and collective transformation. She offers classes, facilitation, and workshops for her local and virtual communities through her project Shireen Amini Music Medicine.

Dana Hersh (She/Her)

Sound Bath Facilitator and Intuitive Practitioner

Dana is an intuitive, teacher, and healer offering doorways into the wisdom of the Self. She helps people gain clarity, move through blocks, and find self-empowerment through intuitive healing sessions, coaching, sound baths, and retreats. Her work is a unique blend of her clairvoyant gifts, musical background, passion for teaching, and training in a variety of modalities including Aura Reading, Clear Light Healing, Kundalini Yoga, Prana Vinyasa, and current training in the Hakomi Method. Dana deeply values the dedication required to stand in one’s authentic truth, and aspires to remind us how to shine our light brighter each day.

IG @ dana.intuitive

Hannah Sophia (they/them)

Teaching Artist-Singing and Songwriting Instructor

If you’re wondering what a Teaching Artist is, you need to look no further than the name. I am both a teacher and an artist and my work is deeply rooted both in the arts and education.
I live where pedagogy and artistry meet and I use my work as an artist to inform my teaching and vice versa. 

In the eight years since I started my studio I have successfully crowd funded,  recorded and released 5 EP’s. Posted over 50 (and counting) original songs on Patreon and finished a first draft of an autobiographical musical, all while transforming the lives of hundreds of students through the power of music. 

My career has been a gift, and like all of my creative pursuits, I want to make everything I’ve learned as accessible as possible. I’m passionate about creating and holding space for others to tell their stories and find healing, as they connect to their hearts, through music.

Jason “Krivo” Flores (he/they)

Music and Songwriting Instructor

Jason “Krivo” Flores, has been a professional musician for over 25 years and is known for playing upright bass with Taarka, Vagabond Opera, and Climbing Poetree, and has recorded or performed with many well-known artists including Steve Kimock (Grateful Dead), Vince Herman (Leftover Salmon), Hunter Paye, The Everyone Orchestra, and more. He studied Jazz Improvisation and composition at the University of New Mexico and has a degree in Philosophy from Portland State. Krivo has taught musical collaboration at Culture Jam, a non-profit arts and social-justice-based self-empowerment summer camp for teens, since 2016. He has also taught the philosophy of language and presented workshops on healthy relating, consensual non-monogamy, and mental health. He also plays the Mexican guitarron, mandolin, mandola, and cajon.He currently plays bass, mandolin, and mandola in the group DeMarcus and the Deep End.

In addition to performing Jason also builds and designs his artisan pickups for bass and guitar. Check them out at

Jorah LaFleur (she/her)

Spoken Word Poet

Jorah LaFleur is a writer/performer who enjoys wearing many different hats. She finds herself on stage as a spoken word poet, event emcee, actor, and interviewer. Offstage, she works with youth as a teaching artist. Each role engages her relentless curiosity about cultivating connection through creative communication. Jorah is currently serving as the lead Writer in Residence at the 501(c)(3) nonprofit Wordcrafters in Eugene. She is committed to helping others experience the power of being seen/heard, and to promoting the arts as tools of social change, and community building.

For over a decade (2006 to 2019), she ran the Eugene Poetry Slam, which gifted her with a wealth of stage hosting experience, and a front row seat to the recitation of thousands of original poems. She is left forever convinced that: 1) Live performance is, literally, magical. 2) Being vulnerably honest with willing strangers is medicinal for everyone involved. 3) Pain tastes best when it is sprinkled with humor, liberally.

Jorah has been writing and performing for 25 years. Her favorite color is zebra.

Ken Gaines (he/him)

Music and Songwriting Instructor

Performing nationwide and writing songs for over 50 years, Ken has been
teaching the art and craft of songwriting for the over 2 decades. He’s
presented lectures and workshops for Folk Alliance International,
Southwest Regional Folk Alliance, NSAI, the Houston Songwriters
Association, and dozens of independent organizations. He currently
teaches every Wednesday night at Artichoke Music and, every summer for
the past 13 years, travels to Kerrville Texas to teach for the Kerrville
Music Camp for Teens.

Ken was the 2005 Texas Music Awards Singer/Songwriter of the Year. He’s
attended the Kerrville Folk Festival for 35 years with over a dozen official
performances in that time. He also produced and hosted a songwriters in
the round at Houston’s legendary Anderson Fair for 2 1⁄2 decades.
Since moving to Oregon last October Ken has been active locally with
Songwriter Soiree, Artichoke Music, Influence Music Hall, the Portland
Hostel Cafe music series, and is a board member of the Portland
Folkmusic Society.

Lewis Childs (he/him)

Songwriting instructor

Lewis Childs is a songwriter, performer, educator and recording engineer based in Portland, Oregon. Born in Los Angeles, California he started playing electric guitar at the age of 13 and studied musical theater at Cuesta College, and vocal performance at the U of O school of Music. He has performed all over the world and has taught workshops at educational institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest. His artistic collaborations include harmonica virtuoso Joe Powers, Márcio daLari (Brazilian Master of Percussion), Maggie Wheeler (actress and singer known for her work on the popular T.V. show “Friends”), Galen Clark (Trio Subtonic) and Robin Jackson (Singer-Songwriter and musician). You can often find him working at, Groundswell Studios, where he works to produce emerging artists and foster the next generation of talent by offering music instruction for kids and adults.

Matt Meighan (he/him)

Songwriting instructor

Matt Meighan co-founded and directs the Hidden River Songwriting Camp and hosts an annual songwriting retreat in Donegal, Ireland. He has taught Songwriting as Truth-Telling classes in Portland since 2009. Matt’s teaching encourages songwriters to express their own truth in their own authentic musical voice. He studied poetry at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics in Boulder, Colorado, where he earned an MFA in writing and poetics. Matt performs in Portland and around the Pacific Northwest and is currently recording his third album.

Myla Rae Duane, M.S., CF-SLP (she/her)

Speech-Language Pathologist

Myla Rae Duane is a Speech-Language Pathologist with a background in professional singing. Her unique specializations inspired Myla’s dedication to providing evidence-based education on vocal hygiene and fatigue management for professional voice users. Her mission is to empower individuals with the knowledge they need to sustain and optimize their overall vocal health. Through presentations, resources, and interactive demonstrations, Myla strives to help professional voice users improve the strength, clarity, and expressive power of their voices as they navigate the demands of their careers.

Samara Jade (she/her)

Songwriting and Guitar Instructor

A modern folk troubadour, Samara Jade is dedicated to the art of listening deeply and crafting soul-centered songs, inspired greatly by the wild wisdom of nature and the landscape of the human psyche.  Her songs, sometimes whimsical and sometimes dark and deep but always truthful and harmonically rich, ride the crest of the unknown and are medicine for personal and collective transformation.

Sara Tone (she/her)

Drum Instructor

Sara Tone has been teaching and performing music in the Portland area since 2005. She is a graduate of the The Evergreen State College and has taught a variety of classes to both kids and adults including Intro to West African Drumming and Community and Performance Choirs. Sara’s strengths are songs rooted in heartfelt messages about life and social justice. She is a consummate song crafter and expert of West African Drumming. She will be offering workshops on drumming as accompaniment, jamming and voice. Sara’s intention as a teacher is to help build strong foundations in rhythm, voice, hearing and feeling music through awareness, technique, and JOY!!! 

Find out more at