This week it is #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, hosted by @mentalhealthfoundation. The theme this year is connecting with nature, so we’ve decided to create a Spotify playlist of songs about nature that may help you think about the world around us and see the benefits of nature when it comes to mental health. We are also huge believers that songwriting can help young creators express themselves and has a direct, positive affect on mental health, so why not combine the two and write a song about nature or the world around us?
In today’s world, feeling relaxed and being creative isn’t easy. There are so many technological distractions which can easily cut young people off from the real world and encourage them to live in a disconnected social media world, plus big events like COVID-19 and climate change have created fear and uncertainty in our daily lives as well as uncertainty about the future. Imagine a young person had something they wanted to share but didn’t know how to express it, or they were afraid that their creativity would be laughed at or frowned upon, or they feel isolated and that no one believes in them. Maybe they are starting a new school and have worries but feel embarrassed or unable to talk about them directly, or perhaps they’ve lost someone close or argued with a friend and don’t know how to express their emotions.
This is where songwriting can help. Music and especially songwriting is a powerful tool that allows people to express emotions, as well as relate to the emotions of others. Songs are written from the heart, mind and soul – whether joyful or sorrowful – and the very act of composing and writing lyrics and melodies can be very cathartic. The Ancient Greeks believed if you had sorrow and you wrote it down in a song for Apollo he would take away the pain! Many musicians and therapists believe that songwriting is a great way to discover and process feelings of all kinds – hope, fear, joy, sorrow, excitement, anxiety – which can all be uncovered as children learn to play with words and melodies. The physical act of writing down what they are feeling can help children deal with their worries and fears as well as express wishes, hopes and dreams.
Music therapist Barbara Dunn said that ‘songwriting is a way to give voice to the essence of who we are, to understand and express ourselves and, to some extent, our relationship to the community and world that surrounds us’. If we can get more young people engaging with their feelings and thoughts, and transforming them into a song with a message that is personal or universal, then maybe they’ll grow up to believe, as John Lennon once penned, ‘there’s nothing you can do that can’t be done, nothing you can sing that can’t be sung’. Everything is possible.
Song Academy is dedicated to the wellbeing of young people and the future of music. Through our songwriting programmes and The Young Songwriter competition we enable young people to express themselves and be heard. From writing their first song to developing their first album, we nurture young writers, artists, musicians, producers & creative thinkers, empowering young people at a formative time of their life.
Have a listen to our Spotify playlist of songs about nature. Click here to listen to the playlist on Spotify.
What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong. Earth Song by Michael Jackson. Sun is Shining by Bob Marley & The Wailers. Go To The Woods by Dar Williams. One World by John Martyn. (Nothing But) Flowers by Talking Heads. Truth to Power by OneRepublic. Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell. Eyes Wide Open by Gotye. Pass It On Down by Alabama. Rocky Mountain High by John Denver. Going Up The Country by Canned Heat.
For those young people who’d like some help developing their songwriting talents or writing their first song, we have an exciting programme of online songwriting workshops running this Half-Term & in the Summer holidays. Another opportunity we provide is an excellent song feedback service throughout the year.