“It All Starts With A Song” retreat

It all starts with a song. As a songwriter, your songs are your business cards. Your voice, melody and lyrics need to tell your story.

Judy Stakee knows what it takes to tell your stories through song, pitch your music, and build your songwriting career in today’s music industry. An esteemed music publisher, author, speaker, and artist mentor, she spent 20 years as Sr. VP of Creative Warner/Chappell Music - where she signed and worked closely with many of today’s most acclaimed artists and songwriters: Sheryl Crow, Katy Perry, Michelle Branch, Gavin DeGraw, Jewel, Joy Williams, John Shanks, Julian Bunetta.

Judy runs her songwriting retreats to provide talented artists and songwriters with exclusive insight into what it really takes to make it in the music business. Judy’s holistic approach to nurturing the mind, body and soul will help you tap into your creative potential, while her seminars and insights will help you develop a concrete strategy to position yourself as the artist or songwriter you want to be. Through workshops, Q&A sessions, co-writes and song critiques, you’ll learn what it really takes to write a winning song in 2019 and beyond.



On the retreat, you’ll make new friends and professional connections that can help you take your songwriting career farther than you can on your own. After the retreat, you’ll be plugged into our alumni network of 500+ songwriters and artists from around the world, giving you songwriting connections wherever you go.


Most hit songs have 3+ cowriters on it. That’s why each day, Judy assigns you to a group of songwriters. You’ll be challenged to work with your fellow retreaters to write for radio and film/TV, pushing you to grow as a co-writer. You’ll own split rights to all your songs, and walk away with live performance demos of each co-write.


Judy’s workshops encourage reflection and exploration of who you are at a core level, pushing you out of your comfort zone. You’ll leave feeling empowered to take on personal and professional goals you only dreamt of before: losing 60+ pounds, winning awards for your creative work, writing 100+ songs…

the RETREAT Experience


  • Check-In

  • Songwriter Introductions

  • Writer’s Round


  • Yoga

  • Breakfast

  • Workshops/Q&A

  • Industry Seminar


  • Lunch

  • Co-writing

  • Song Critiques


  • Dinner

  • Live Performances

  • Socializing

  • Unwind


The retreat spans a 4 night/5 day stay. The address and details of the retreat center will be provided to you upon acceptance.

You will be assigned a shared room or cabin based on your gender. You'll have your own bed with fresh linens and a shared bathroom. Single occupancy rooms are available by request for an additional fee.

All meals will be catered by an on-site chef that prepares each meal using fresh, organic, locally-sourced produce.



August 2019


September 2019


October 2019


Total Cost of the Retreat:

The Growth You Experience as a Songwriter and Human-Being:


How old do I have to be to attend?

We accept songwriters, ages 14-65. If you are under 18, your parent or guardian must provide written permission for you to attend.

Will I need to bring my own instrument?

It's recommended that you bring your own instrument. If you do not play an instrument, please note that in your application and we will assign you to co-writes accordingly.

Is travel included in the price?

No, you will need to cover your own travel to and from the retreat. However, we do provide travel and carpool assistance by helping you coordinate with your fellow retreaters. Each retreat center is very easy to get to, no matter where you're traveling from.

I really want to come, but I can't afford it. What are my options?

By applying early, you'll be able to take advantage of one of our financial plans. A down payment is required to secure your spot, but you can pay the rest in installments to break up the payments. Past retreaters have also had success fundraising, finding local scholarships granted to music and arts education, or having their attendance sponsored. We are happy to fill out forms for any grants you’re applying for after you have been accepted.

I heard you offer scholarships. How can I get one?

Where did you hear that from? Scholarships are limited to 1 songwriter per retreat. You must apply through our ReverbNation contest for the retreat of your choosing to be eligible.

How will I know if I've been accepted or not?

Judy personally reviews all applications before acceptance letters get sent. Whether you are accepted or not, someone from her team will send you an email to let you know.

I was already accepted, but I couldn’t attend for some reason. Do I need to reapply?

Once you’ve been accepted, you’ve been accepted to all future retreats. Please send an email to dia@judystakee.com, and we’ll send you an acceptance letter to the retreat you’d like to attend.


We’re happy to talk with you about the retreats. Apply to the retreat you are interested in attending, and either Judy or one of her songwriting liaisons will follow up accordingly.