Songwriting Works™ restores joy, hope, health, and community through story and song.
• We've engaged thousands of neighbors in communities across the U.S. since 1990.
• We craft unique, inclusive musical experiences and events that meet the acute human need for connection, creativity and collective transformation.
• We also keep the storytelling, songmaking and teaching legacy of mythsinger Daniel "3D" Deardorff alive.
Creative song-making workshops, concerts, radio broadcasts and publications are at the heart of our programs. SW's team of professional songwriters, trained in 8 Principles of Creative Engagement, facilitate hands-on sessions. Their love for music and story, devotion to service and research-based creative approaches combine to maximize positive results for elders, youth, families. Workshops take place at community centers, classrooms and care settings. Songs are performed in-house, at local venues, festivals, conferences on health and aging, family celebrations, worship services and even at international film festivals.
In an SW event, every moment is an opportunity to lift spirits and spark imagination and brain power. Liberating musical adventures in a "failure free zone" melt stigmas and shine a spotlight on the importance of every voice. Music and story-sharing bridges gaps between participants diverse in age, cultural roots, economic situations and physical, cognitive and emotional health.
Everyone is welcome. Through deep, respectful listening and skilled facilitation, songwriting together bridges differences and catalyzes insights and understanding. Within minutes, ease, laughter, recognition, respect, camaraderie, and creative synergy begin to build and strengthen relationships. Memories and humor bubble up catalyzing therapeutic health benefits as well as lasting meaning and friendships. The resulting song is a fully original one. Lyrics and melodies are composed by participants including those with no prior music or singing experience. For those who are living with memory loss and other isolating conditions, and for their loved ones, SW's level of full inclusion and improvisation can open new doors of communication.
In 2018, National Endowment for the Arts funded researcher LinChiat Chang, Ph.D studied the impacts of SW’s method blended with Vital Involvement theory. SW's SongTeam facilitated the series of workshops with participants age 60+ who lived in low-income (HUD) senior housing communities in 5 states (TX, MN, CT, IN, AL). The elders composed folk, country, blues, Tex-Mex and pop songs in collaboration with SW's songwriter-facilitators. Dr. Chang found that participants experienced significant, sustained positive health outcomes including: reduced hopelessness, anxiety, depression and chronic pain, increased word recall and more frequent engagement in physical exercise. (Read the NEA study here).
During the Covid-19 pandemic Songwriting Works is developing online programs to support daily music-making for wellness at home in collaboration with University of Cincinnati and other partners.
Learn more about the Songwriting Works™ process and sample the songs:
• Participants often create songs that are full of love and history.
• Poignant, funny, surprising and "greater than the sum of their parts," participants, families and audiences have called the experience: "Game-changing!" "Transformational." "Powerful." "Uplifting."
• A daughter said: "I didn't think this was possible for any of us!"
• An elder in a care residence: "Better than pills!"
Songwriting together has led families to re-unite and naysayers to begin to sing.
Here's what happened when families joined their loved ones at a memory care workshop and composed a song about living through WWII:
Discover how you can add your voice and experience the joy by donating, volunteering, hiring or training with us! Join us in turning loneliness into connection, depression into happiness, and illness into health.
We look forward to hearing from and creating with you soon!
With warmth, gratitude, story and song,
and the Songwriting Works community