Overflowing with Songs and Gratitude!!

IMG_4572Five camps, over sixty young songwriters and over a hundred songs and I’m sitting here in a coffeeshop in Oregon City feeling so much gratitude towards every kid, parent, assistant and host who have participated in this project over the last three years. Writing songs with kids has reminded me of the joy that comes from the process of creating with spontaneity and curiosity. The list of benefits that I witness these programs providing continues to grow and instead of learning from what didn’t work, I spend most of my time examining what exactly is making these programs so successful!

The strong connections and empathy that build between campers as they allow themselves to be vulnerable in front of each other is a testament to the true nature of human beings to be compassionate towards one another. Many of our songwriters this summer experience anxiety and a variety of challenges when it comes to reading, writing and focusing for long periods of time. We observed these anxieties alleviated to a high degree as they were given the freedom to use words in whatever way they chose, whether it was nonsensically, as poetry, as improvisation and then set in an artistic framework of melody and rhythm. Campers are also provided a variety of choices as to how they’d like to spend their time whether it be sound engineering, writing lyrics, drawing in their journal, working with a group, playing an instrument, mentoring younger participants and so much more. Songwriting can be a tedious process so we make a point of getting out of our heads with spontaneous dance parties, nature walks, theater games and even meditation.  Parents who swore their child was too shy to perform in front of an audience were delighted to watch them describe the process of songwriting and then perform an original piece in front of a crowd of peers and strangers. Most importantly, we had so much FUN! From swimming in freezing cold rivers, to spying on shoppers in the local supermarket, to long walks in the woods, to using paint and recycled materials to make instruments, to our end of the day listening sessions.. every day ended with smiles and excitement for what the next day would bring.

Thank you again to each and every one of you who has participated in making these camps such a transformative and enjoyable experience for myself and for the young songwriters I’ve been so blessed to work with. I’ll be spending part of the fall in Europe and then back in October to offer home school programs, private and small group sessions and planning next summer. Enjoy these pictures and please reach out to me with testimonials, comments, suggestions and requests for a Young Songwriter program near you! My email is havilahrand@gmail.com or fill out the form..

YOUNG SONGWRITER SUMMER CAMP AUSTIN 2016

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METHOW VALLEY YOUNG SONGWRITER SUMMER CAMP 2016

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YOUNG SONGWRITER SUMMER CAMP SEATTLE 2016

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VASHON ISLAND YOUNG SONGWRITER SUMMER CAMP 2016

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BELLINGHAM YOUNG SONGWRITER SUMMER CAMP 2016

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