Songwriting is an exciting way to simulate reading, improve comprehension and develop writing skills. Songwriting like any art involves examining our inner and outer lives and their relationship with each other. This includes using imagination and communication skills to create one’s own personal truths.
Further more, songwriting requires sharing one’s dreams and vision with a community and letting them become a part of that community’s culture. The social empowerment that results when the writer becomes a leader and a spokesperson for the community is indescribable. Emotional empowerment is achieved through a job well done and finishing a project on a time table with a deadline. Rhyme, melody, harmony and rhythm use different parts of the brain to bypass emotional resistance. Linguistic empowerment happens when the students study the classics and then write their own song using form, metaphor, allusion and rhyme to discover how images mean more than swear words. Using editing techniques, students learn to find the most effective way of getting their message across with clarity and power, a skill one needs throughout life.
Songwriting honors and values students’ lives by giving their inner most feelings a substantive outlet. It demands mutual respect and compassion for each other’s work and from the audience. It calls attention to what works and builds on the strength of those ideas. Whether the song has some ethical or moral truth that is expressed or a fictitious story that gives the writer privacy and freedom, the students explore they own lives without fully exposing themselves. Songs are powerful in allowing the writer to be given another voice.
Songwriting is also a shared ritual within a community, providing insight and entertainment. It archives what life is like for a particular person or community, in a particular place and time. It tackles issues of the day and puts them in a context of the past and future. It gives us more a more human way of surviving the future. It displays values such as social responsibility and encourages respecting them in a connected way.