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Audio Story: on the Water

Audio Story: on the Water

Do you remember that favorite childhood swimming hole, ocean, or stream that called you to explore and peaked your sense of discovery? Is there a view of the water that brings you peace or stirs a melody in your memory’s ear?
For elders at Life Care Center of Port Townsend, all of whom had moderate to advancing memory loss, the view of Kah Tai lagoon was a daily inspiration. Its gentle waters and the voices of seagulls brought to mind memories of life in Port Townsend and other seaport towns. Participants shared stories and gave all the images and much of the melody for the original song “Out on the Water,” which they composed in collaboration with SW’s Judith-Kate Friedman.

It all happened in two hours one summer afternoon on the kind of day that beckons a soul to go out and enjoy the air and nature’s simple pleasures.

“This song was literally a watershed project (no pun intended!), as it set a new standard for service in the Songwriting Works process,” SW director Judith-Kate notes. “Prior to this session, SW workshops–whether with people living with Alzheimer’s or with any group–had been shorter: usually 45 to 60 minutes. When Arts to Elders asked for a two hour session we discovered that two hours gave everyone room for more creativity and, as we soon learned, cognitive magic!”

Of the nine people in the group only a few had verbally participated for the first full hour. Then, in the second hour, even the two who had appeared entirely unengaged, joined in. Soon single words and images began sparking between all in the group. Spoken phrases became longer and conversation really got rolling.

“We even had to resolve a narrative conflict as one person’s preference for boating with the radio turned up met another’s need for peace and quiet!” Friedman remembers. Fortunately, lyric writing allows all opinions to be part of the bigger story and both stories were incorporating into the song’s second verse.

Two-hour sessions are now SW’s standard with all populations, for people with and without memory loss, to find their way into the musical adventure of collaborative songwriting. “Brain researchers have commented that those with impaired cognition may need twice as long to process what is happening” says Friedman. “We sell people short when we don’t give each other, our brains, and our creativity the amount of time and space necessary for meaningful expression to emerge.”

“Out on the Water” was written as part of a month-long Arts to Elders songwriting project with support from Northwind Arts Center.  Thanks to the National Endowment for the Arts and all Life’s a Song kickstarter supporters for making the recording possible.

“Out on the Water”

Out on the water
Cool, clear water
‘Round about this time
Seagulls are gathering for dinner

 

Out on the water
Cool, clear water
I’m happy
To see the seagulls fly

 

On the water, water            Cool, clear water
Water, water                       Cool, clear water

 

Out on the water
Cool, clear water
In my sailboat
With the radio on

 

Out on the water
Cool, clear water
Peaceful and soothing
We enjoy the quiet

 

On the water, water   Cool, clear water
On the water, water   Cool, clear water

(repeat chorus)

© 2007, 2013 (p), 2016 Composing Together Works and Judith-Kate Friedman (BMI)

Words and music by elders of Life Care Center (formerly Kai Tai) in Port Townsend, WA with Judith-Kate Friedman (facilitator).
All rights reserved. One of 13 songs on the forthcoming album, “Life’s a Song.”

Credits
Lead vocals: Judith-Kate Friedman and Keeth Monta Apgar
Harmony vocals: Matt Sircely, Anke Summerhill
Guitars: Judith-Kate Friedman, Keeth Monta Apgar
Mandolin: Matt Sircely
Dobro: Orville Johnson
Producer: Orville Johnson

Audio Story: All the Time

Audio Story: All the Time

In Spring 2008, elders at Luther Manor in Wauwatosa, WI found a common theme for their first original community song: LOVE. NPR-affiliate Wisconsin Public Radio sent Lake Effect’s Sara Prince to interview SW Founder Judith-Kate Friedman and capture the story of how a love song was brought to life in an hour-long workshop.

Listen to the segment below as Judith-Kate asks participants “What does love do (for you)?” Della, one of the elders, chimes in saying “It means a song in your heart that cries out: help me, Lord, help me!” Shared and contrasting sentiments quickly give way to more reflections as the group’s words soon become lyrics. Della and others set the melody and Edwin, artist-in-resident percussionist matches their rhythm on the conga. “All The Time,” the song that results, celebrates the ever-recurring, ever-changing, and ever-mysterious topic of love in a classic blend of gospel and blues over a sensual latin groove.

Here’s a tip for celebrating love and creativity: Next time you’re with someone you care about, ask about them to share a memory of love. Listen closely for the rhythms of the words and any melody they evoke. Then experiment by humming or singing a note or two of that melody, setting words or a phrase to music. See what pleases you both. If you’ve never tried it – this is one way that great composers start songwriting. When we create music and memories with loved ones, we give love new meaning!

Songwriting Works workshop made possible with support from Ann Basting and the UWM Center for Age and Community with thanks to Beth Meyer-Arnold, Director of Adult Day Services at Luther Manor and Sara Prince of Wisconsin Public Radio’s Lake Effect.

To hear more of our music, follow us on Soundcloud.

 

SONG TEAM previews “Life’s a Song” at global IAGG Conference

SONG TEAM previews “Life’s a Song” at global IAGG Conference

In their mission to restore joy, hope, health and community through song, Songwriting Works’ “Life’s a Song” trio of award-winning singer-songwriters launched their inaugural concert tour July 24, 2017 at the International Association of Gerontology & Geriatrics global convention at San Francisco’s Moscone Center.  The trio–Judith-Kate Friedman, Keeth Apgar and Ash Devine–took listeners on a multi-media journey into family life, heritage, WWII service, the Big Band era, and more. Audiences experienced how Songwriting Works combines ancient Oral Tradition practices of collective music-making blended with breakthrough insights from neuroscience, biology, and social engagement research.  Theresa Allison, MD, PhD, medical ethnomusicologist and physician, moderated.   JoAnn Mar of KALW-FM San Francisco interviewed Judith-Kate Friedman for a piece on the impact of music and original music-making for those nearing end of life (one of the many populations with whom SW’s team composes songs).  “Life’s a Song”–the tour and forthcoming album–celebrate the artistry, stories, and voices of rural elders and friends, ages 12 to 103, in Washington State. Watch this page for dates for both the radio feature and the “Life’s a Song” release!

“Life’s a Song” Artist in Residencies – Now Booking for 2018+2019

“Life’s a Song” Artist in Residencies – Now Booking for 2018+2019

What can happen when professional songwriters bring their skills to elders, youth, and families in service to restoring joy, hope, health and community through song?  
In 2018+19,  award-winning musicians Judith-Kate Friedman, Keeth Monta Apgar and Ashleigh “Ash” Devine will bring Songwriting Works on tour to collaborate with performance venues, media producers, health, social service and housing providers and a rural school district.  Contact us to learn more about bringing an artist-in-residency–collective songwriting project, concert, master classes, keynote or trainings for musicians, providers and family care partners–to your community or conference.  

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.