Workshops with Neal Hagberg

The Minneapolis Star Tribune called Neal Hagberg’s lyrics “inspired.” “Clearly masters the art of saying more with less,” wrote The Washington Post. And according to folk legend Tom Paxton, his compositions may well be future classics.

This recipient of the prestigious McKnight Foundation Composition Fellowship combines his decades of experience in music, writing, and performance with his academic training (Master of Divinity, Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota) to effectively encourage groups and foster change.

He offers workshops on a variety of topics — ones that can be tailored to specific needs — and he uses his songwriting as a starting point.


It’s Not As Simple As It Seems

This is Neal’s signature workshop, the one that sets him apart from other facilitators.

Through songs from his It’s Not As Simple As It Seems CD, he does something unique in the world of music and/or workshops: He combines the two to form a powerful way of entering one’s own experience and entering into the experience of others.

The rules: Participants leave their religious and political opinions at the door, using only their own perceptions of the songs. This way, sessions are filled with people of different backgrounds and belief systems. And even in our increasingly polarized world, an atmosphere of respect and openness is maintained.

Neal goes unflinchingly to the center of today’s most contentious issues, dealing with everything from religious fundamentalism to gay relationships to immigration, poverty, abortion, and even forgiveness.

The power of these workshops is in the transformation that takes place in people’s lives when — using art as the entry point of dialogue — they listen to their own and others’ experiences, and find the ability to understand even their supposed “enemies” on a new level.

Attendees leave with the knowledge that, despite perceptions, it is never as simple as it seems.


Classroom Visits

Neal has visited hundreds of classrooms to present songs and lead dialogue around his CD It’s Not As Simple As It Seems. He has participated in classes in ethics, theater, English, music, religion, philosophy, even biochemistry (“… no one knows the chemistry that turns us into haters” — from Hagberg’s song “The Noose”).

He offers ways that students can use their chosen discipline to make a difference in the world. During these classroom sessions, he also discusses the creative road we each must find, the risks we are called to take, both individually and collectively.


Individual Sessions

Neal is also available to meet individually with students or faculty about anything that has come up in one of his sessions that is particularly disturbing, challenging, or just elicits a desire for further discussion.


Other workshops

Neal has developed many workshops – strengthening relationships, songwriting, using sports as a vehicle for personal and group change, and other pertinent topics. He is also available for public speaking engagements on these topics. Contact him to plan one for your group.