Songwriting for Wellness Programs

We are in the middle of a mental health crisis. As a nation we are just beginning to understand the magnitude of the problem, but are struggling to find ways to address it. Songwriting is a tool we can provide for people right now to help them cope. They can develop a vocabulary and process to articulate what’s going on inside them. They can share their thoughts and feelings with peers, parents, teachers, and advocate for their needs by communicating critical messages in a safe and healthy way.

It’s not an intervention that requires a diagnosis. It’s a tool for self expression that EVERY student can benefit from.
It’s fun. It’s a healthy way to express yourself. It helps you feel better…and it’s highly effective.

 There is a high degree of personal choice in how the musical ideas are expressed. 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. Ages 13-18 is an important time in every person’s development where, for good or ill, many of the lifelong 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.

Songwriting Course

The program teaches basic music theory and lyric writing concepts then allows students to explore different ways of expressing themselves musically. Students are encouraged through instruction and mentorship to process their thoughts and feelings, verbalize them, and use their own voice to share their stories with others. The results are astounding. 82 percent of students rated their songwriting experience as “very highly” or “highly satisfied.”

Statements gathered in exit surveys and follow-up interviews demonstrate the deep level of impact songwriting had on their wellness. They have self-reported benefits like: increased confidence, mental clarity, social awareness, anxiety and anger management, catharsis, self-awareness, personal development, compassion, empathy, general well being, emotional control, and gratitude for having learned healthy tools to express themselves.  Delivering these programs over six years and in multiple school districts has yielded consistently positive results.

After students write the songs there is an option to go into a recording studio with professional musicians and make a high quality recording of their song. 

“Music has given me a voice. It has given me access to expression and energy like nothing else. Without music I would be eaten alive and swallowed by my emotions.”
– Middle School Student, 3 years after participation in the program

This course has a flexible design to fit the needs of the school/program. There are 12 core modules which can be delivered several ways. In the past, schools have:

  • Used songwriting as a normal class during the day, every day, all year. The course is built on the MN state standards framework and students can earn arts credit for completion.
  • Had songwriting as an option for after school programs
  • Used songwriting for credit recovery and/or as a summer school option
  • Incorporated songwriting into existing music programs, Discover Music would come once a month and the classroom teacher would facilitate ongoing learning between sessions with provided materials
  • Held a mini-retreat where students would engage deeply in songwriting over a period of 2-4 days
  • Run concurrent, multi-year, programs with student cohorts starting in 6th grade and ending in 8th

Pricing: Each module is $250, $3000 for all 12 sessions. Schools may choose to bundle sessions with multiple cohorts and will receive discounted rates. Cohorts are generally between 10-20 students. A capstone project is also available for cohorts to record their songs in studio with professional musicians. Though pricing varies with class size, the estimated cost is $300/student.
If extended programs are desired, the base rate is calculated at $50/ instructional hour. 

Songwriting Workshop

Our Executive Director, and author of the book Songwriting for Wellness: Using Music to Heal the Mind, leads a seminar style workshop that focuses on songwriting basics and how to use them as part of a daily practice of wellness. This program can be delivered directly to students, teaching them the importance of self care and empowering them with tools to make their own music, or it can be delivered to groups of educators/counselors interested in incorporating songwriting into their work.

The end result is a group inspired to conquer their challenges and help others using music as a vehicle for their expression.

Each workshop includes 25 free copies of Songwriting for Wellness
An optional concert can be included that demonstrates the power of songwriting as a healing tool through story and original songs.
Pricing: The workshop is $1500 per day, plus travel expenses, and the concert is an additional $500

One Day Music Programs

Harmonica Workshop

Grades: 6-8
Description: A one day whirlwind of musical excitement. Students learn the history of blues music, how to play blues changes and jam on the harmonica. Each student gets their own harmonica to keep, along with resources for continued learning. The day ends with a performance and Q&A session by our Artist
Deliverables: Harmonicas for students, performance
Cost: $300/class (3 class min.) + $200/performance (multiple classes may attend performance)

Artist in Residence

Grades: 6-12
Description: An a la carte option for teachers to enhance their classes and reinforce their learning targets with the help of seasoned professionals from bands like: the Honeydogs, Prince, Semisonic, Badfinger, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Paul Revere and the Raiders, Chuck Berry and more.
Cost: $300/class