Consultation & Critiques

It’s important to work hard, but even more important to work smart. Barbara is a long-time member of the Nashville music community who understands both the craft and business of songwriting and her insights can cut years off your learning curve. She has a razor-sharp ability to hone in on anything that keeps a song from  having maximum impact and a clear understanding of how songs get cut. She’ll give it to you straight, but always in a kind, respectful manner.

By the hours

CONSULTATION – by the hour

At a typical consultation, Barbara will begin by asking a bit about your music background and your current goals. Then, after listening to songs, she will offer whatever feedback and advice she thinks will be most helpful to you, plus answer any questions you have.

You can meet with Barbara in person, by phone or through a video call. The fee is $125 per hour, $65 for a half-hour. Barbara has no trouble critiquing a song as soon as she has heard it, but if you prefer that she listen to songs and make notes before the consultation session, there is an additional charge of $15 per song.

By the song

CRITIQUES – by the song

This option is for writers who are specifically looking for feedback on the craft and commercial potential of their songs. Barbara will study your songs and share her thoughts either through a recorded mp3 or through a phone or video call.

You can submit any type of recordings, from polished demos to work tapes made on your phone. The best time to get a critique is before you spend time and money on a polished demo so you can apply any changes you want to make in advance. Barbara can hear a great song in its roughest form, and a great demo won’t improve the quality of the writing. You can also submit lyrics only.

The fee is $45 per song or $35 per song for three or more.

Six-Month Mentoring Program

Success in any field requires organization, discipline and consistency. For right-brained, creative songwriters and artists, that can often be a challenge, especially if you have to do it all on your own. This program is designed to give you support and help you stay focused as you learn and grow.

Meetings can take place in person, over the phone or with video calls. You can start the mentoring process at any time.

There are four components to this program:

1. Initial consultation

You and Barbara will begin the first session by discussing what your ultimate goals are for your music – in other words, what you would be doing if all your dreams came true. Then Barbara will listen to some songs and give you feedback on their craft and commercial potential. Based on your level of development and what you’d like to accomplish, you’ll establish an action plan with specific long-term and short-term goals designed to fit your life and the way you like to work.

2. Continuing consultation

After the first meeting there will be a monthly meeting to review your progress. In addition, you can contact Barbara as needed. This feature is what makes the mentoring package differ from just booking consultation time. It gives you regular access to Barbara for guidance and advice. If you’d like some input on a song you’re working on, have a question about the music business, an issue with a co-writer or just need a pep talk, you can contact her up to for a brief conversation. This gives you immediate help with whatever you’re dealing with, and it keeps you from feeling like you’re in this all alone.

3. Coach-writing session

Bring an idea and Barbara will co-write it with you, in person, by phone or by video call. You’ll learn song craft in the process of building a song the way pro-writers do. Feedback helps you see what you did wrong, but this show you ways to do it right. Up to five hours is allotted for completion of the song. Additional time can be purchased at $90/hour. Barbara will be considered a 50% co-writer of the song.

4. Play for Publishers Workshop

These workshops are held 3 times a year and they are a way to learn about the demands of the market from successful professionals who regularly pitch to the top artists, producers and labels. Writers are invited to apply and 16 are selected to present their songs. Writers who are not selected are welcome to audit the workshop and they participate in every way except presenting their songs to the publishers. Your mentoring package includes attendance as an auditor at one workshop of your choosing. (If you would like to be considered for a spot as a presenter there is no charge to apply but you have to pay the workshop fee if selected.)

Cost $ 1200

If you are interested in a six month mentorship, please use the contact page to let Barbara know.

Client Comments

{I ask Barbara to listen and comment on 4 of my songs for pitching. Yes, I was hoping for her to say OMG get this to someone, its a hit, but the reality is that Barbara explained to me in a very understandable way why I have a hit song yet. It is not uncommon to be rejected when pitched but it is rare that anyone takes the time to help you understand why. that is what I wanted from Barbara’s review of my work, and that is exactly what I got. Coming from a person who has reviewed countless songs, it was refreshing to hear the pros and cons of my work, especially in a helpful, honest, and non critical way. I feel I have a hit in me. With support and help like Barbara offers, I can work toward making that a reality. Play On!
JJ Calicott
{Having insight into my own songwriting tendencies from an outsider to my world is invaluable. Very helpful in maturing my songs appeal. Much appreciated Barbara!
Jason Williams
{Barbara gave me thoughtful and insightful feedback on my lyrics. She knows so much! And she generously shared her ideas for possible improvements to my work as well as the things she truly liked about it. I had a very enjoyable experience with this knowledgeable music woman!
Kathy O'Rourke
{I recently sent a couple of songs to Barb for her review and spoke to her just today. Not only does she have a very pleasant persona, she also gave me some wonderful insight as an experienced artist and reviewer. She offered some great suggestions on some of my lyrics which served to better present what I was trying to say. The revisions are things I did not see myself but as she explained them, they made a lot of sense and I am working to incorporate these ideas in my songs.. Thanks Barb…
Peter Laiosa
{Excellent feedback from an artist who understands songwriting and the Nashville music scene. She took a good song and helped me make it better. Listen to what she says. She knows what she’s talking about!
Jeffrey Benedict
{I sent Barbara a lyric sheet of my song, she gave me a great overview of how she thought it all went together. Then sense checked every line with me, explaining how small changes could improve the story and focus more on the characters. Speaking to Barbara you get a realistic, honest assessment from someone so experienced from working within the industry, and she still takes the time to help the next generation along. Her insights are invaluable.
Kevin O'Brien
{I recently got a critique from Barbara and I really enjoyed hearing her insight. She gave me some helpful tips, and told me what she thought I was doing well. It was really energizing to hear her words, and gave me a confidence boost to keep going with my songwriting.
Rachel McIntyre Smith
{I have had songs critiqued in the past, and I say without reservation that the feedback from Barbara was some of the most valuable I have received to date. She provides targeted suggestions that make it easy to focus in on specific issues within a song. I have often heard to show, not tell a story, but she offered detailed ways of doing so. Barbara took her time in critiquing and offered her feedback in a way that was straightforward and honest but also kind. ???? Everyone feels vulnerable when having their art scrutinized, but I never felt intimidated when speaking with Barbara. She is very clearly an expert in her craft and loves what she does. I left our session feeling positive and inspired. Thank you, Barbara!
Jenny Bollom
{Barbara critiqued five of my songs last week and I feel like I have had a very helpful dose of supportive and straightforward feedback. She packs a lot into her critiquing sessions and it is a pleasure to work with her. Thanks Barbara!
Robin Firth
{Barbara gave me great feedback on three songs. It is so helpful to have someone with both experience and a critical ear review your work. Especially when that person is both personable and easy to talk to! I’ve had time to work on integrating the feedback into one of the songs (hey we just talked last week…give me some time to get to the others!). It’s already much better. Snappier. More direct. Less ponderous. Gave the chorus a small but important chord change and a higher melody. Added a bridge. Dolby On video here:
Bill Enright
{Hi Barbara, The comments were very helpful. Barbara gave me some great pointers and helpful tips to hone and perfect my songwriting She also praised the good parts. If I put into practice her advice I will become a better composer and lyric writer
Peter Melhuish
{Barbara’s song critiques are some of the best in town. They are always thoughtful, honest, candid, and thorough, which is exactly what I’m looking for in a song critique. I have only used the .mp3 feedback option and have always been satisfied with this format.
Scott Voelkerding
{You work hard on a song you don’t really want someone to critique it and tell you all the things you have done wrong. In all fairness Barbara will also tell you what you have done right. One thing for sure is when she does a review she has listened to your song and given her thoughts on how to make your material better. Aside from her comprehensive reviews another nice touch is the choice she gives you to have your review in written form, via phone or by MP3. We chose the MP3 and it’s nice to listen rather than read IMO.
Rob Tambuscio
{I sent Barbara 3 songs that I wrote many years ago and although they were new to her she knew they were dated. How great that is! Not only that, her feedback was full of stimulating ideas to improve them and make them more current. The unvarnished truth about a song is hard to find and Barbara gave me that in a very professional and constructive way. Thanks Barbara.
Tony D'Arco
{Barbara Cloyd gave a good detailed analysis of two very different songs that I sent her for critique. She went into specific detail about parts she liked and didn’t like and her reasons why. I very much appreciate her honesty and detailed critique.
Richard Aberdeen
{Ralph Murphy would be very proud of Barbara’s efforts. Great insight into what the Song has and lacks. See you at the honky tonk Barbara.
Dennis Callahan
{Barbara offers great insight for writers into what works and doesn’t work based on her years of experience in the industry. The feedback is constructive and to the point pointing out both strengths and weaknesses in the writer’s material. This is so helpful and important as it encourages and strengthens good habits that are producing results, and points out areas to improve or just refine and put some extra effort. It’s so nice having a voice like Barbara’s when developing as a songwriter!
Wade Kilgore
{As someone not connected in Nashville, it was invaluable for me to hear Barbara’s advice, grounded in experience. It is so hard to get honest critique from those who know and love you. As an attorney (my paying gig), I crave honest evaluation of my strengths and weaknesses as a songwriter, and available pathways for success. This is a tough business and Barbara helps you peek behind the curtains and understand the landscape. Very appreciative.
Mike M

To receive notices about Play for Publisher workshops and Bluebird auditions,