Retreat Teachers and Topics

Teachers for our 2023 Retreat will be updated over the next few months and announced as added. Workshops will continue to be updated as the retreat approaches, so stay tuned!

Robin Jackson

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.

Matt Meighan

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.

Sara Tone

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!!!

Nick Harris

Yoga Instructor

Drummer. Musician. Entrepreneur. Yoga. Inspirational Speaker. Dream Chaser! = Spreader of MUSIC, LOVE & POSITIVITY! P.O.P.

Yoga has been the element of life that allows Nick to harness a multitude of robust experiences into a practice based in gratitude, presence and energetic flow. Through disciplined self-reflection and powerful daily self-improvement practices, Nick will arrive to class equally humbled and excited to share the yoga experience with you.

Nick can be found instructing Yoga classes in Portland, OR, and is currently accepting private & semi-private yoga clients.

Shireen Amini

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.

Avery Hill

Music and Songwriting Instructor (Ukulele)

Avery Hill is a performing artist, songwriter, storyteller, and music teacher. Her singular style of songwriting integrates intricate melodies with insightful, storytelling lyrics. Avery’s voice is at once both wise and curious, direct and searching, telling and investigating. Her latest album is Dreams & Ghosts: A Family Album (2015), featuring the award-winning single Hello & Goodbye. Since 2013, she has been teaching ukulele classes and workshops, leading jams, and instructing at camps and retreats. Whatever the classroom, Avery’s teaching philosophy is encompassed in three goals: to educate everyone’s inner musician, to elevate their self-knowledge and confidence, and to enchant them with insight, presence, and a handful of good jokes. Learn more at

Lewis Childs

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 in 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). Always learning, he is currently studying music production with Martin D. Fowler (composer & multi-instrumentalist who produces music for film, advertisements, & podcasts, and performs with the NYC based Arthur Moon). Lewis Child’s most recent recording is called, “Grace.”He is offering a workshop entitled, “Hey Song, What do you Need?” This workshop looks at how each song can be viewed as an entity that has the power to teach us about ourselves and reach a community of people who can support one another. We will explore concepts of harmony, rhythm, lyric writing and the editorial process and touch on strategies for developing arrangements that serve the song in a variety of environments. “Oh the places you’ll go…” Open to all levels.

Ali Boyce

Singing and Song Instructor

Ali Boyce is a performing artist, voice coach, songwriter, bodyworker,
and community choir leader based out of Portland, Or. She has been
studying the voice for over two decades, and coaches singers to access
and unleash the full potential of their unique singing voice. She is
trained in massage therapy, Biodynamic Craniosacral therapy, yoga, and
Qi Gong, and this training informs her teaching and singing. Ali also has
a background as a musical theater performer, and has performed on
professional and ramshackle stages throughout Canada and the US for
over 15 years. Her songwriting weaves intricate melodies with soulful
vocals, taking the listener on a sensory journey through deep feelings
and empathic storytelling.


Zak Borden

Songwriting and Guitar Instructor

Zak Borden is a multi-instrumentalist, producer and songwriter weaving vast and diverse influences gathered over 25+ years performing and teaching music. He has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and Japan and steeped himself in many styles including Brazilian choro, bluegrass, delta blues and traditional Irish music. He is currently pursuing full accreditation to work as a creativity and transformational life coach. He also deeply loves meditation, yoga and partner dancing.

Samara Jade

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.

Hannah Gabrielsen

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.