Why is songwriting so beneficial to your pupils?
We believe that songwriting and music can transform the lives of young people by helping them find their voice. Young people are growing up in a competitive, fast changing & potentially isolating environment, which can cause various pressures and lead to issues with their mental health. Through songwriting young people can communicate their thoughts and feelings and connect to others. This creative and therapeutic process helps young people discover & develop their identity, overcome challenges, feel empowered by speaking up and advance their creative and social skills.
In this age of technology and social media, generation Z may feel their voice isn’t getting heard. They want to speak up about issues that affect them and the songs they write have the potential to spark debate and shape their future at school and beyond.
Here are some of the transferable skills that songwriting develops in young people:
Number 1 is the skill of being creative, which means perceiving the world in new ways, finding hidden patterns, making connections between seemingly unrelated phenomena, and generating solutions or providing a commentary. Playing with words and music is the perfect vehicle for doing these things, songwriting is like going to the mind-gym and the more you practice the more creative you are!
Number 2 is the skill of communicating powerfully. Our young songwriters practice communicating their thoughts and feelings in an engaging way. The increased confidence and self-belief empowers young people to speak up and share their voice with their friends, their community and the world. It helps them develop their identity and find their place in the world.
Number 3 is the skill of listening, taking on new ideas and thinking from different perspectives. It encourages critical listening and thinking, which is useful in many other areas.
Number 4 is the skill of giving feedback to your peers and taking on board feedback. We encourage the act of sharing constructive feedback, as well as taking feedback and learning how to use it to potentially improve your work or skills.
Number 5 is the skill of collaboration from writing songs with their peers. Building on other people’s ideas and working together to create a song which they are all happy with is a very crucial skill.
Here are some ideas for using music and songwriting in your learning environment to help engagement, motivation and learning! It’s a great way to get to know students and connect with them. A good place to start is asking your students what music they enjoy and creating a playlist, plus sharing the songs you love and why.
To help engagement and memory retention of different subjects, ask your students how they’d deliver the subject content in the style of their favourite songwriter/artist/rapper. Have a battle of the songs or rap battles to revise subjects.
In PHSE/citizenship lessons you can ask your students to think about what’s important to them or to their friends/communities and write a song about it, or have them pick their favourite song and rewrite a section in their own words. Ask them to be an activist for the future they want, and ask what they would like to say about it. Make a song map to get ideas down and use it to create new combinations.
In music lessons, encourage students to study a number of songs in different genres. Ask them to notice the different instrumental parts, song structure, chord progressions, rhythms & melodies. Give them different songwriting briefs to write their own songs using technology like Soundtrap/Garageband to layer up different instruments and sounds.
Remember there is no right or wrong way! Make sure your students know to stay authentic to themselves and tell their own story.
For those pupils who’d like some help developing their songwriting talents, we’ve an exciting programme of online songwriting workshops running in December. Another thing we provide is an excellent song feedback service throughout the year.
Mark the date! We’d love all your creative & musical pupils to enter their original songs into The Young Songwriter 2021 competition. The entry period is 1st February to 31st March 2021. It’s an inspiring opportunity for them to work towards, with a star-studded judging panel including Fraser T Smith, Tom Odell and Imelda May. As well as getting their songs heard by some of the best songwriters and key players in the music industry and connecting to our vibrant community of young songwriters, they have a chance of winning some fantastic prizes. Prizes include a recording studio session with a top producer in London, a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Gen 3 Studio Bundle, Yamaha prize and a signed Tom Odell album!