As my music therapy work has now completely shifted to online, I've found that the online format provides a great opportunity to explore Therapeutic Songwriting activities.
In her hugely influential book Therapeutic Songwriting, Felicity Baker, a registered music therapist outlines the benefits, challenges and range of ways in which therapeutic songwriting can be applied in music therapy.
Therapeutic Songwriting includes a range of activities such as composing music, writing lyrics, adapting existing songs, recording and notating, between a therapist and client as part of a treatment plan.
Songwriting can be used to address a range of goals including:
Exploring and expressing emotions
Address relationship issues
Focus on coping strategies
Developing sense of self and identity
Rehearse social skills
Engage in life review.
Improve focus and attention
Executive functioning tasks such as planning, sequencing, organising.
What Songwriting Means To Me
I have been composing music (or more precisely, randomly playing clusters of notes (What a liberating feeling!)) since I first sat down at a piano as a kid. In the intervening years I have honed my craft, writing music in bands, composing ambient music and delivering songwriting workshops in Australia and abroad. Recently I have embarked on a personal challenge to write and record one song each day (Currently up to Day 52 at time of writing).
I have always loved being able to help others find their voice and express themselves in creative and original ways. I truly believe that any song which comes from a place of sincere self-expression is beautiful and valid, regardless of it's aesthetic merit, or whether it fits neatly into established conventions or genres.
Creative freedom, self expression, having fun... what songwriting is all about!
With my specialist knowledge of music technology I am privileged to be able to use and adapt a range of tools to assist people of all abilities to create (and share!) their own original music. The feeling of pride and accomplishment and wonder which is evident when a person creates music which is an original expression of self is priceless.
In my online music therapy sessions I've been using a range of tools for collaborative songwriting including:
flat.io (online notation for creating a score);
Soundtrap (Collaborative online digital audio workstation); &
Chrome Song Maker (Great for beginners)
Chrome Song Maker is fun, easy and has great built-in features.
In coming weeks I'll be creating a video series exploring how to use each of these tools.
The Songwriting Challenge!
The best way to develop as a songwriter is to do it regularly. With this in mind I have created a Songwriting Challenge with five daily songwriting prompts.
Don't stress if you miss a day - the main thing is to have fun, learn something new and get creative.
Free pdf download of the songwriting challenge can be accessed here: