Our Mission

To educate, inspire and create opportunities to experience the life-changing power of music
Songwriting for Wellness Programs

We believe strongly in the power of music to transform lives, and so we dedicate ourselves to the task of working in partnership with schools, service providers, and performance venues to show people how to mange their emotions and express themselves through song.

Music can be a refuge and a source of healing. It can help them learn about their inner world and the human condition. It’s something we can do, right now, to help people learn to help themselves. Our Songwriting programs have been a success for 7 years and counting.

Opportunities for Artists

The impact of donated dollars is compounded because in addition to funding the programs, it’s creating day jobs for active, professional local musicians which allow them to continue pursuing their art. Every gift helps artists today and the artists of the future.

Discover Music operates an independent record label to offer recording and distribution services to artists. We help them write and record their music and get it out into the world. A portion of each sale goes back to support the work of the organization.

Using Music to Heal the Mind

Our Board Member’s recently released book, Songwriting for Wellness: Using Music to Heal the Mind, outlines our core philosophies, the scientific research and evidence that serves as the basis for our work, and can teach the reader how to use songwriting to better their own lives. Discover Music contracts with Songwriting for Wellness to provide this meaningful program to partner schools.

Our Programs

Music education for healthy mind, body and spirit.

The Discover Music songwriting program consists of 12 modular sessions. Each session covers an important aspect of the songwriting process, and can be delivered over varied lengths of time to suit the needs of the partner organization and their students/clients. A program may be completed in 12 sessions or can be extended to span an entire academic year. If the course is taught in a school during the day for credit, it follows a curriculum built around the state standards framework.

Session 1: Basic Music Theory - notes, rhythms, counting, scales, musical terminology

Session 2: Song Structure - function of sections, popular formulas, building energy, identification

Session 3: Chordal harmony - Roman numeral analysis, chord progressions, 4 part writing

Session 4: Storytelling - Structure, methods, making meaning, perspective, audience, sequence

Session 5: Writing with Purpose - harnessing inspiration, writing for self and others

Session 6: Poetic Devices - rhythm, rhyme, meter, descriptive writing, purposeful rule breaking

Session 7: Critique - sharing, lyrical effectiveness, giving and receiving criticism, audience perception

Session 8: Production - putting it all together, adding instruments, musical feeling

Session 9: Recording - How to sing, how to record with available tech, basic audio engineering

Session 10: Music Business - interview professionals, articulate purpose and artistic intent

Session 11: Final Project - overcoming fear, performing in front of others, career exploration

Session 12: Writing for Wellness - writing as daily practice, exercises, affirmation, expression.

  • Holistic Approach

    Songwriting has had a profound and positive impact on students that lasts years after they leave the classroom. It’s beneficial that during their formative years they learn the values, skills, and tools that will help them become responsible, caring, authentic, well-rounded human beings.

  • High Student Engagement

    There is a high degree of personal choice in how the musical ideas are expressed, which makes it easily accessible to young people. They can write using the rhythms and phrases of the musical styles they most enjoy. High degrees of student choice leads to high engagement, and this is perhaps the most critical window of opportunity to introduce healthy habits of mind.

  • Powerful Studio Experience

    Middle school students get the chance to write a song with some of MN's top music professionals, but that's not all. They get to have those songs recorded in a REAL recording studio, Essential Sessions, with a professional backup band, producer, audio engineer, and get to sing on the class album. There's something powerful about stepping into the dimly lit booth, putting on the headphones, and singing your heart out into that big microphone that sticks with you...it's a one-of-a-kind experience our students never forget.

  • A Tool for behavioral wellness

    Ages 13-18 is an important time in every person’s development where, for good or ill, many of the life-long beliefs and personality traits are formed. It’s a vulnerable time where we first begin to take risks, explore ourselves, and make lasting relationships. For many it is confusing, overwhelming, harsh and isolating. It is also a time when they are open to new ideas and develop the neural pathways that govern how they react to problems and stressors. It’s the ideal time to introduce them to wellness tools like songwriting. Learning this process empowers them to act as their own healers. Songwriting is a mode of self-administered therapy they can apply whenever and however often they need to. Once they learn how to write songs to promote their own wellness, they have a tool they can carry with them their entire lives.

Our Team

Ken Onstad
Chairman of the Board
President of Sam Goody/Musicland UK President of K-Tel International President of New Folk Records
Tim Cheesebrow
Board Member – Treasurer
Professional Musician and Educator
Brad Matala
Board Member / Studio Director
Owner – Essential Sessions Studios Producer Engineer
Callie Kalogerson
Advisory Committee
Dan Hoverman
Advisory Committee
Former Superintendent Mounds View Public Schools
Joe Filipovitch
Events Manager Teacher
Professional musician Music Educator
Pooja Goswami Pavan
Advisory Committee
Cormac O’Shea
Advisory Committee
Katia Cardenas
Teacher /Guest Artist
Performer Educator
Joni Buffalohead
Advisory Committee
Adam Levy
Guest Artist – Advisory Committee
Dr. A. Pavan
Advisory Committee
Peter Mayer
Guest Artist
Patsy O’Brien
Teacher/ Advisory Commttee
Guest Artist
Mike Arturi
Guest Artist – Advisory Committee
Joe Sullivan
Advisory Committee
Mick Sterling
Advisory Committee

What People are Saying

There are many administrators, teachers, artists and students proud to have been part of Discover Music

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