Month: April 2017

5/17 SW´s Judith-Kate Friedman at the Washington State Nonprofit Conference!

5/17 SW´s Judith-Kate Friedman at the Washington State Nonprofit Conference!

On Tuesday, May 17th, SW’s Judith-Kate Friedman was honored to be among a distinguished set of presenters at the annual Washington State Nonprofits Conference where over 700 nonprofit and community leaders will come together to listen, learn, and explore ways that “human centered design can connect, transform programs, and advance causes.”

One of 21 other workshops, aimed at sparking creativity and enhancing skills at the conference, Judith-Kate’s Music as Innovation, Participation as Leadership, explored what the arts, improvisation, and neuroscience can teach us about restoration, empowerment, healing and collective transformation.

In an effort to help non-profit organizations solve social problems and enhance well-being for individuals, families, and entire neighborhoods, this workshop went beyond considering music’s common uses to address how community leaders can:

  1. Apply lessons from the field of creativity and cognition to achieve organizational missions and visions
  2. Integrate and use music more intentionally to support successful outcomes

Attendees were introduced to Songwriting Works’ 8 Principles of Creative Engagement – access, inclusion, originality, authenticity, respect, reciprocity, restoration and celebration – and be invited to explore hands-on the application of these principles to their real life situations and goals as non-profit leaders. Judith-Kate shared case studies and results from projects based upon the premise that all individuals – and the collective – are inherently intelligent, creative and musical. Facilitation methods that integrate consensus process, creative inquiry, improvisation, story sharing and participant leadership were also explored.

To learn more about the conference, click here.

Q&A Interview with SW Founder Judith-Kate

Q&A Interview with SW Founder Judith-Kate

We’re kicking off our new Q&A series with a nod to National Poetry Month as SW’s founder/director Judith-Kate Friedman and Community Relations Coordinator Sam Robinson discuss the intersection of poetry, spontaneous group creation, and SW’s Signature Songwriting Workshops!

Sam: A poem is the distillation of an individual’s memories, artistic influences, current mood, and intention. An SW-workshop composed song consists of a similar distillation, except it emanates from the group, rather than the individual. Could you comment on the similarities and differences between these two creative environments?

JK: SW’s song process is a grand improvisation that moves from conversation and inquiry….(“What should we write about today?”) to the crafting of lyric, poetry, rhythm and melody. As participant’s thoughts are captured verbatim on the easel sheets the group sees as well as hears their individual – and soon collective – natural rhythm, cadences, rhymes, off-rhymes and alliteration that show up.

Sam: What role does that facilitator play in helping crystallize the thoughts, emotions, melodies, and mood of the participants?

JK: SW’s facilitators bring their love of the musicality within words and their experience crafting lyrics and poetic forms from random phrases to teach and illustrate what the group is bringing forth. They use repetition and call and response to help the group entrain to the rhythms of keeper lines (though this also happens very organically with no prompting from a professional!). Participants focus on elements of speech, image and emotion as facilitators read from the easel sheets and recap what’s been said in the group. As words, images and lines are circled and phrases are spoken out loud to feel their rhythm, melodies may pop out or be invited for a great line (“Who has a melody for that?”). Poetic aspects are addressed and learned about in the process – not so much intellectually as literally and viscerally. This way, participants in all cognitive situations and of all levels of experience are equally in-the-moment of creativity together.

Sam: Are there any poems or poets in particular that infuse your approach to workshops?

JK: While there isn’t a particular poem or poet that has influenced the Songwriting Works™ process or my approach to facilitating, poetry itself informs me all the time. The SW approach to listening involves creating a relaxed environment in which people are truly themselves, talking the way they really talk about things they care about or dream about. As they share their stories, the facilitator’s job is to show the group the beauty in the poetry of their own speech as we select “keeper lines” and build upon their images to make the lyric and find the music of the song.

See that process in action through this clip:


“True Colors” Weekend April 22&23 Explores and Celebrates Intersections of Culture

“True Colors” Weekend April 22&23 Explores and Celebrates Intersections of Culture
True Colors Weekend ~ April 22nd and 23rd
Exploring and Celebrating Intersections of Culture, Identity, Ethnicity,
Race and Class through Music, Poetry, Improvisation

Quanita Louise of Nzuzu and Judith-Kate Friedman of Songwriting Works join in creative collaboration for two-related community building events.

Saturday April 22 at 7pm to 9pm: True Colors – An Interactive Concert
Physical Location
: Madrona Mindbody Institute
310 Fort Worden Way, Ft. Worden State Park, Port Townsend, WA 98368
Streaming live on the web: Concert Window  (Click here for live streaming tickets and details!)

Sunday April 23 at 3pm to 5pm: Being Curious Together About Race: A Time for Learning and Connection
Location: The Cotton Building
607 Water Street, Downtown Port Townsend, WA 98368  Fully ADA accessible.
All events are offered on a sliding scale “pay as you wish” basis with support of the Port Townsend Arts Commission

For more info, reservations by phone, or to volunteer, contact: Songwriting Works 360.385.1160 or

 Internationally acclaimed teacher, healer, singer and ritualist Quanita Louise of Nzuzu and Port Townsend-based singer, songwriter and community music-maker Judith-Kate Friedman of Songwriting Works will offer two distinct, yet related, in-depth experiences intended to engage, delight, and catalyze community on the weekend of April 22 and 23rd, 2017 in Port Townsend.

On April 22nd at 7pm, an evening concert – “True Colors” – will give an all ages audience an opportunity to participate as well as listen. The artists will share poetry, song, conversation and improvisation with each other and engage all who are present in the spontaneous creation of poems and a song on the theme of “being our full selves with each other in community.” From exploring inner landscapes and stillness, to raising our collective voices in song and exuberant celebration, the evening will open the way for fresh insights, heart-felt exchange, and deepening authenticity.

This experience will expand further on Sunday, April 23rd, at 3pm, as the two artists facilitate a community conversation entitled “Being Curious Together About Race: A Time for Learning and Connection.”

Judith-Kate puts the weekend in context:
“Creating welcoming communities is about affirming culture. As artists, we wish to bring tools to support collective inquiry and uphold freedom to express one’s identity and celebrate our differences–in terms of culture, ethnicity, race, religion and also age, ability, class, sexual orientation, etc. We’re seeing a rise in – and greater awareness of – hatred, fear, and divisiveness between all kinds of people these are all often rooted in confusions that reach back centuries. Together, we can change this. We use the arts to address what’s happening around us.”

Quanita adds: “What has our attention has really deep heart and meaning. All these can be used as portals to knowing ourselves and each other.”

Both artists create supportive environments for authentic expression, inclusion, inquiry, and social transformation. They will engage participants in a new kind of conversation: One that rises from deep-heartedness and supports individuals and communities to move from judgment to curiosity and from isolation to real connection. As stated on the event flyer: Join us to “discover what happens when we are curious together. We’ll build understanding and trust, allow fear, despair, and grief to be catalyzed in healing, and find new levels of honesty, courage, freedom and connection with each other.”

The True Colors Concert and the Being Curious Community Event are presented with support from the Port Townsend Arts Commission. Admission is open to the public and all ages are welcome. Tickets are available on a “Pay As You Wish” basis in advance (as noted on ticket links above) or at the door. Reservations are suggested.  All revenues will support event costs and the local work of Songwriting Works Educational Foundation. Volunteers are invited to help with outreach and on the days of event.  Contact: Songwriting Works at or call 360.385.1160


Quanita Louise M.A. is an international spiritual teacher, speaker, author, life coach and a personal and professional development resource dedicated to addressing embedded trauma through healing workshops, retreats, and rituals. In 2016, she presented at the NAACP National Convention on Community/Police Relations and served as the Keynote Speaker for The National Diversity Conference in Brazil. She holds a master’s degree in Organizational Management and Development with a concentration in Integral Theory. Quanita is a keeper of ancient indigenous wisdom from the Dagara Tribe of Burkina Faso, West Africa. As a water spirit, she brings the gifts of forgiveness and reconciliation—serving as a peacemaker and bridge builder to communities around the world.


Judith-Kate Friedman is a songwriter, vocalist, improviser, producer, speaker, and music catalyst. As founder of Songwriting Works™ Educational Foundation, she is internationally recognized as an innovator in music education and community building through song. On stage and off, Judith-Kate creates contexts in which people of all ages raise their unique voices together. Working in the Oral Tradition, her collaborations connect those diverse in culture, physical and cognitive health, education and economic circumstances. To date, she has co-written more than 320 original songs in collaboration with 3,400 elders, youth, and families, ages 4 to 106.

An independent 501c3 educational foundation based in Port Townsend, WA, Songwriting Works Educational Foundation (SW) is internationally recognized as an innovator in intergenerational education, creative aging, arts and wellness, and cultural equity and restoration. SW fulfills its mission to restore joy, hope, health and community by engaging neighbors across the continuum of health, age, and musical background in collectively composing and performing their own original songs. Originally founded as an artist-in-residence project in California in 1990, SW began serving North Olympic Peninsula and Salish Sea/Puget Sound communities in 2009, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts.