How Songwriting Can Help Heal a Motherless Child

By Guest Contributor: Sally Writes

Up to 8% of households in the USA are headed by a single father raising at least one minor child. Children who are brought up in motherless homes face a higher risk of isolation due to the fact that they feel uncomfortable and left-out when other children talk about their mothers. There is no disputing that many single fathers do phenomenal jobs raising their children alone but one also can’t deny the damage losing a mother does to a child.

The entire world changes when a child loses their mother, especially during their formative years. Not only do they lose their first friend but also a role-model and confidant. This is one of the most monumental losses that can ever be inflicted upon a child. It shakes their very core and has the potential to alter their entire life-paths. Healing after a loss is never easy and therapy often hard to assign as grief manifests itself in many different forms. One form of treatment for debilitating grief comes in the form of music, and more specifically, songwriting.

Healing through songwriting

Music has always been believed to have healing properties but it is only in recent years that music in its entirety has been granted therapeutic status. Songwriting is fast gaining popularity as a broad-spectrum therapy method that can be utilized across the human life cycle. Writing a song doesn’t only facilitate self-expression but it also allows a grieving individual to tell their story in a non-threatening environment.

By encouraging a grieving young soul to put their emotions to paper they are being presented with an invaluable opportunity to rid themselves of the burden of pain, isolation, fear, transition and perhaps even shame that has been festering inside of them. No two people have the same story to tell which means no two songs will ever be the same. You own your lyrics just like you own the emotions behind them.

A famous song about a special mother

Not many music lovers may know this but Paul McCartney wrote The Beatles’ hit song ‘Let It Be’ about his mother, Mary, who died when he was 14 years old. Although the song was only written 12 years after her death it finally brought the closure he was grappling to find for more than a decade. This is just one of many songs written as an ode to a loved one that found great resonance within the world. ‘Let It Be’ has almost achieved hymn status, especially after the amount of radio-time it received shortly after the 9/11 terror attacks on the USA.

Music is a universal language, one everyone can understand and everyone can relate to. Writing your own song about the loss of your mother can bring much-needed closure and acceptance.  The pain will never fade overnight but it will, in time, ebb until mostly good memories remain.

The Benefits of Listening to Music


By guest contributor: Sally Writes

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent"; so said Victor Hugo.

Music can do what language cannot: it is a powerful healing force which can help you free the demons trapped inside you, so that you may look at them from a safe distance. Music is a way to express creative expression and enhance a variety of skills which children then use in other areas. However, it's not just creating music that has these wonderful benefits; listening to music is just as important.

Music Makes You Happy

Listening to music you love for just 15 minutes makes your brain release dopamine, and this biologically causes you to feel happy and excited. Also, experiencing certain types of music can help relieve anxiety and fight depression, distracting us from stress, relieving pain and helping us calm down. Meditative sounds, classical music and easy slow acoustic tunes are all good choices for anxiety and pain relief.

Music Helps You Sleep Better

Music can be calming and relaxing, and can be a great help for those suffering from insomnia. Depression and insomnia are often closely linked, and listening to calm, relaxing music can help fight both. Listening to classical music just before sleep helps you get a deeper, more refreshing and healing sleep.

Music Makes You Smarter

All genres of music have equal dignity, but some genres may be particularly beneficial; research shows that certain types of music boost cognitive performance, whether it's for a big test at school or an important presentation at work. Music, mainly if classical or meditative, improves productivity on repetitive tasks, generally enhances performance and gives you a motivational jump start on all tasks, especially those requiring creativity. On the other hand, popular music or tunes with lyrics hinders comprehension.

Some research has even shown how your musical taste might correlate to SAT scores; in general, loving classical music apparently helps you ace the SAT. Music tastes usually accompany us throughout our journey, and we rarely step outside our comfort zone, enjoying our favorite "oldies" for years. Just like we choose our favorite genres based on our personalities, these genres also in turn mold our personalities and make us into who we are today.

Progressive rock also correlates to high SAT scores, as its complex time signatures make it ideal for a mathematically inclined individual. Rap can go both ways; it is both complex in its multi-syllabic rhyme scheme and also emotionally shallow in the vocals which generally employ no symbolic communication and expression.

Music Heals

Music helps us heal from trauma; music lifts our spirits and helps us cathartically acknowledge and process our feelings and emotions in a healthy and healing way. Music helps in regaining self-confidence and dealing with loss, helping us cope and process the trauma.

The benefits of listening to music are endless, and anyone can experience them. All you have to do is put on your headphones and press play. 

Veteran's Voices, Spring 2017

This spring we've been working with a wonderful group of veterans in Bedford, MA. 

Below, Danielle Mariglia, working with Robin Lane, putting the music to Wayne's lyrics at the VA administration. Songbird Sings is facilitating this workshop in conjunction with AMPLIFI (Real School Of Music.)


Below, the bridge to a song we're working on.  Each guy gets a verse, and Wayne's was a natural for the bridge.

Soldier On

Written by women veterans of the US Military in a Songbird Sings workshop. To read more about Soldier On Women's Veterans Programs, visit:

Listen to this song written by women Veterans who reside at Soldier On, on the campus at the Veterans Medical Center here in Northampton.  Last week one of the women told us that she was so down she thought about committing herself but then went on a car ride with her friend, and they listened to their song “Soldier On”.  She realized that she had the power and skill to not succumb to her depression, that she could do something about it.  Write it all down with the idea of making a song out of her feelings.  Yes!!!  This is how transformative music and songwriting can be.

This song came out of the first Songbird Sings workshop I facilitated at Soldier on, last fall.  Now we’re at it again this time free flow poetry rap to a cool beat.  We came up with a Chorus to be sung between the raps (poems) “We Walk in the Sunshine” then some other melody about finding ourselves through our steps in the woods.  Their poems are incredibly real and full of pain but there is hope there too so the idea of a positive chorus is vital because that’s what Soldier On is all about. 

Soldier On is key to these women recovering their lives and standing strong.   I am able to do these workshops from a generous donation from the band Pearl Jam’s #Vitalogy Foundation and from individuals like you.

This new residence is for homeless women veterans. The program provides the women with treatment and recovery from drug and alcohol addictions along with medical services.  Women have individual apartments in a bright, sparkling residence as part of a program run by Soldier On, a private nonprofit organization.                                                                                                                        

As I listen to these women’s stories during the workshops, I learn that they are in awe of where they now find themselves. Part of the wonder is that someone cares at all. Most suffered sexual abuse in the military, and all deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.                     

Where most of them have a story of not fitting in anywhere, here at Soldier On they do indeed fit and feel safe.  “This is a safe place to be. They make sure of that,” said one of the women, who became homeless after her husband died and she struggled with drugs and alcohol. “They love you until you can love yourself, and that’s very new to me.”                      

Their home, a brand new building of nearly 9,000 square feet contains 16 individual apartments, four shared kitchens, plus space for activities as varied as group meetings, yoga, and artwork and now Songbird Sings songwriting workshops.  All part of a holistic strategy to meet the mental, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of a vulnerable, traumatized group.

It’s a place designed for women and run by women. Soldier On is one of a limited number of residences for homeless women veterans in the state, but the three-story residence is the latest effort to meet a growing need as more women join the military.  Women come to Soldier On incredibly broken. When the women arrived some did not speak because of their trauma. Others cried for weeks.                                                                        

All of these women experienced trauma before the military — childhood abuse, physical abuse, emotional abuse.   Many of them went into the military to escape trauma and were re-traumatized instead.   Low self-esteem and nagging fear sapped much of their strength. But with mental-health counseling, volunteer work in the community, and opportunities for schooling and employment, those strengths are being rediscovered and nurtured.                                                                      

I feel immensely privileged to be helping these women express themselves through songwriting.  They use their first song to remind them that they are powerful women who have the strength to soldier on even the most dire of circumstances.  

Hidden Heroes

My friend Justin is a big Songbird Sings supporter and is always looking for ways to get the big bucks rolling in for our workshops.  We need the funding because no one has to pay me to facilitate the workshops.  People are in need and I need to help them the only way I encouraging them to turn their stories into song.  But I have no business skills to speak of.  The goal is to hire someone to do the business and I’ll go wherever I can to do the workshops.  So a big donor would be…well I’d probably just sit down and cry from relief, especially because I know how soothing and transformative songwriting can be and how the process of doing it can take people out of the broken places …letting out what’s been squashed down so deep inside you, trapped and tormenting, through no fault of your own, through experiencing abuse as a child, violence in trafficking or in war or from domestic violence.  The songs you write can set you free. At the very least it can be a cathartic jumping off spot for coming out of the darkness and realizing there is light even for you, in this life. 

My friend Justin

My friend Justin

Now getting back to Justin.  When Justin was 2 years old the doctors told his mother that he would never talk and that they should begin teaching him sign language.  His mother said no no no.  She and Justin’s father moved the entire family down to Baltimore, 7 kids, all so that Justin could get special speech therapy at Johns Hopkins.  While there at age 3 or 4 or so, his best friend was Scotti.  Scotti was in the hospital because his parents poured Drano down his throat.  I understand this is not easy to hear, that anyone could do something so monstrous to a child, let alone hear it was his parents.  Makes me want to scream.  But Scotti was brave and Justin was brave.  Justin learned how to talk and now talks all the time…always has questions and always remembers Scotti.  And the thing he wanted me to tell all of you is that there was a nurse who helped the speech therapist.  She ended up adopting Scotti.  That nurse is a hero to Justin.  A white nurse that adopts a black baby who will never speak…a hero because how many people would adopt a baby who would never speak.  Justin wanted this story to be on the hospitals webs site but alas they would have none of that.  Justin sees the work that Songbird Sings does, as somehow heroic; as heroic as this nurse was to Scotti.  I don’t see it that way.  Kind of weird to think of yourself as a hero when you’re just doing what you’re compelled to do by what often seems like a mystical source.

When I was younger, there was nothing that could stop me from writing songs.  I had a deep need to connect and singing my songs for others was a way to do this.  I was obsessed and the writing itself compelled me onward, no matter the multitude of doors that were shut in my face.  Now I am compelled to help those who have been affected by such horrific abuse and violence.  That I told you what happened to is enough for now.  Believe me There are more things in heaven and Earth, Horatio, / Than are dreamt of in your philosophy [science].  In this case you can not dream up the horror that some humans have gone through.  Scotti being one of them. Thank God there was a nurse who cared.  No matter what our political beliefs, wouldn’t we have a wonderful world if we all cared what happened to other human beings who live on the planet?  Love your neighbor as yourself.  It all starts with loving yourself. Think about forgiveness too.  You have to forgive yourself to love yourself.  And you have to love yourself to love others. The only way out is through and the only way through is in.

Sexual Assault is not your fault. You were violated and it’s not right!

Brie Larson, who won 2016 best actress academy award for her performance in “The Room”, a story about a women held in a room and repeatedly raped by her abductor, did not applaud Casey Affleck when he won for best actor this year. Casey was accused in 2010 for sexually assaulting two women who worked on a movie with him.  A deal was settled with these women to not take him to court.  Of course he denies the accusations.  This seems to be the thread among abusers.  I myself have not heard of any man admitting to it.  The person who molested me did not admit it, on the contrary he tried to make me look like the crazy one who would make this all up because…Hey…I was crazy, I’d been in the bin.  Wonder why I was messed up?

Brie Larson is an advocate for sexual assault survivors.  I applaud her for not applauding.  It takes courage to do that when the eyes of the whole world are upon you (Academy Awards)    Musicians, actors, politicians, people in powerful positions are quite often sexually stimulating to fans and because of all that power and ego gratification it can go to their heads blocking any normal moral compass, they think they can get away with it or worse, they think they are not doing anything wrong. 

The list is endless…Bill Cosby, Woody Allen, Roman Polanski, Bill Clinton and now we have a president who once asked if it was wrong to be sexually attracted to Ivanka.  This was reportedly deleted from a Washington Post column.  Whether he asked that or not he’s made innumerable gross comments about women and he has been elected president of these United States.  

Here is a question…when is it all-right for a man to assault a woman, sexually or otherwise.   Trump was elected, and Casey Affleck just won an Oscar. So in truth, not fake news, we are normalizing the type of behavior both men have exhibited…not just these men but now because they win awards and presidencies sexual assault is the new normal. 

I’m just shining one light on what is so NOT NORMAL, but what women have been experiencing for forever.  I hear it in Songbird Sings workshops all the time.  Women think they are somehow responsible.  Not anymore…not anymore.  It is not your fault no matter what.  A NO is a NO. 

In an interview with Brie Larson, Jane Fonda said that she had been raped, sexually abused as a child, and fired because she would not sleep with the boss.  She always thought it was her fault.  I took her a long time to come to feminism but now she’s a strong supporter for women who have survived violence.   Jane says “I know young girls we’ve been raped and didn’t even know it was rape. One of the great things the women’s movement has done is to make us realize that rape and abuse is not our fault. We were violated and “It’s Not Right”

I like that Jane says her life began at 70.  These days 70 is the new 40… Just sayin…

The Need for Creativity

The need for creativity and most important music and music lessons, as a means to finding our voice, our true selves, cannot be underestimated.  Many of our inner city and rural schools have cancelled music and art in the belief they are not as necessary as other academic subjects. But we now know that “Music learning supports all learning.

Music is more than 'just' music. Research has found that learning music facilitates learning other subjects and enhances skills that children inevitably use in other areas.  

All young people need to be exposed to music and have the opportunity to learn creative expression.  The need in most communities to offer programs that encourage growth and self- empowerment are few and far between. 

Then what are the options for survivors of trauma or youth at risk, to find programs that allow them to find their voice and to use it?  

Our need for creative individuals in society is great.  So often the forgotten voices have the most profound things to say (sing). 

Trusting the Seeds of Creativity and Compassion

You must give birth to your images, they are the future waiting to be born.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

The art is the witness. Music and especially songwriting has been the way for me to open my heart spiritually.  Songwriting was the life preserver thrown out to me as a young self-conscious child floundering in the ocean we call life.  Using art and music for social change with kids, with adults and with survivors, we must be mindful of what seeds we are watering them and in ourselves. The songs we write are our seedlings and will show you just how worthy you are to be alive on this planet, how you can overcome bad experiences and how you can turn those experiences into songs (the song as impetus for your own remarkable and unique voice)  that can be used as a means for social change.

Once you've got your seeds the next step is to sow them.

More Questions and Thoughts: 

Ask yourself,  what do you want to achieve before you die?

What does the universe want from me?

The best way I can serve the world and myself in it, is to live a life beyond the expected.  Our happy states are quite often not when we are learning. We all go through dark times.  But it is there in that dark night of the soul where you are being entreated to move to a deeper level…go out and harvest your human potential.  Go with the symptoms don’t try to escape.  Live each day with meaning…be gentle with yourself; it’s challenging to abandon a life of lackluster passivity when we are more comfortable there….There is a new kind of knowing.  Jean Houston, co-founder of The Foundation of for Mind Research and The Human Potential Movement,  thinks we are being prepared by the dark night to come into a higher emergence…    Awakening and quenching the God Seed being born in you…

Tapping into your creativity, can save you.  In the words of the great sculptor Louise Bourgeois, Art Is A Guarantee of Sanity.  I myself say, and this from experience, Art Is A Guarantee of Sanity but you must use the art within you otherwise it will bite you in the ass and you will never know who you really are or who you were meant to be.


It seems like human trafficking never ends - what are we doing about it?


Seems like human trafficking never ends.  But who would have thought it was occurring in our very own back yard in Western MA?  Headlines from a local news report highlight the ongoing problem in our community:

4 Arrested, 10 Victims Found in Western Mass Human Trafficking Investigation

Attorney General Maura Healey’s Office led an extensive multi-state investigation into two human trafficking operations that involved “massage parlors” in western Massachusetts. According to a news release from the Attorney General’s Office, local, state and federal agencies from both Massachusetts and New York worked together to take down the human trafficking operation. Four people were arrested and ten victims were found.
— Joel Martinez,

I have worked with many teenage girls and women into their 20's and 30's, in Boston and beyond, and it’s still difficult to wrap my head around the enormity of the epidemic of sexual exploitation.  It’s right in our back yard and the truth is that young girls are sometimes forced into this by their families or become vulnerable after they are kicked out of their homes or run away.

These young girls, boys too, who become homeless are easily manipulated and can be coerced into prostitution by pimps who give them fake understanding, shelter and a place to lay their head. All too soon they are seduced and controlled with drugs and violence.  

Adding to this is that heroin is an epidemic and is huge in this area of western MA, as well as all over the country. It is easy to procure the drug which helps with the success of the sex trade. These young people get hooked into selling their bodies for somebody else’s profit. The commercial sex industry is big business and it is preying on our vulnerable youth.

I’m writing this to illuminate the problem, to make you aware of what is going on so that you might not just turn away from young people on the streets. They need our help and we need to be on constant surveillance for the perpetrators who are selling them, especially the men who are buying these young, sometimes very underage, victims of sexual exploitation. 

Many people are shedding a light on this blight.  Mayor Marty Walsh of Boston launched Cease Boston, which is part of a national initiative to fight sex trafficking. Organizations I work with such as My Life My Choice, and Roxbury Youth Works Gift Program are on the front lines of helping the survivors.

Need help? United States:
1 (888) 373-7888
National Human Trafficking Resource Center

SMS: 233733 (Text “HELP” or “INFO”)
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days a week
Languages: English, Spanish and 200 more languages

Did you know Robin Lane performs house concerts?


It's true!

Concerts are performed at no cost to the host, while funds are raised by a entry fee or suggested donation for those whose come to enjoy the songs and storytelling.

We have a wonderful time together while raising money for Songbird Sings programming - a win-win* for all. Ready to plan it, or have questions? Email Robin, or keep reading!

How does it work?

  • Choose a place to host the party. An intimate setting such as your living room, church, or a cool venue like an art space. In warm weather, outside spaces can be nice too.
  • We'll create a poster for you to share the details of the event.
  • Invite your amazing friends. They love music, you love music, everyone loves a party! 
  • Collect an entry fee or have a suggested donation - all proceeds are donated to the Songbird Sings organization to support programs for the year. 

What are house concerts like? 

A performance by Robin will include Robin Lane and the Chartbusters songs, as well as music from Songbird Sings programs. Robin will also tell stories of Neil Young, Timothy Leary, the Sunset Strip in the 60’s, surviving Charles Manson, staying alive as a musician at a time when there was only one woman artist per record company, and how having a child stopped her career dead in its tracks.

Our fans say:
"We recently had a house concert in our back yard with Robin Lane (ex of Robin Lane & The Chartbusters) and forty of our friends. I am amazed at how great of a show she puts on. Robin read from her memoirs about her early life living in LA back in the 60’s. Her memories of hanging with Danny Whitten, Neil Young, and Steven Stills had everyone listening. She has a wealth of stories and talent and seems to really love performing for a crowd, all of it was done for her charity.” 

Be in touch, let's plan something beautiful!

*A win-win for all she says? Studies show that listening to music can make us happy and that charitable giving increases happiness. Your friends will thank you! 


Songbird Sings and My Life My Choice are Fighting Back

My Life My Choice organization helps young women who have been exploited by the commercial sex industry. Songs were written in two songwriting workshops facilitated at MYMC. These girls are brave beautiful souls who are telling their stories and singing out loud for all to hear. The pain they’ve been through is being turned into advocacy to expose this unspeakable crime and help others girls just like them.

We are fighting back by harnessing the strength of survivors of this egregious form of child abuse to empower youth to defend themselves and stand up for a society that does not tolerate the buying and selling of children.  My Life My Choice uses the collective strength and power in the collective voices of survivors of trafficking.  These are the angels of change for their own lives with the intention of putting an end to commercial sexual exploitation of children.

The commercial sex industry is big business that preys on vulnerable youth, and Songbird Sings and My Life My Choice are fighting back.

We will not tolerate the buying and selling of children.  

Note:   The songs, My Life My Choice and Power Hope & Faith were recorded in the span of 2 hours, not very much time to get things right…this is why some girls voices are softer, some louder on “Power Hope & Faith, and the music compensating for that.  

Pearl Jam Donates to Songbird Sings

Robin Lane's Songbird Sings organization is honored to be one of four non-profit organizations awarded funding through Pearl Jam's Vitalogy Foundation

"As rock bands will do, Eddie Vedder and the boys in Pearl Jam made a whole lot of noise at their two sold-out shows at Fenway Park earlier this month. But the band was silent about its sizable donation to Songbird Sings, a group founded by Bay State songwriter Robin Lane that helps people heal from trauma through songwriting." Click to read full story.'s Entertainment blog Under the Radar featured an article on Pearl Jam's aims to help veterans through their donation as did Mass Live. We are so grateful for the support and coverage for our cause. 

We welcome all donations to help our veterans heal through music, visit our donation page here. 


Healing from Trauma and a Call to Share

Songbird Sings programs are about helping people who have experienced trauma find the key to their own healing through songwriting.  

With this in mind and for the purpose of connection does anyone want to share their own healing story with Songbird Sings? What made you stronger and able to meet challenges and overcome abuse? What type of coping strategies have you used or what training did you go through? Did it take you time to learn how to take care of and protect yourself? Are things that happened to you in the past still challenging you today or holding you back from going forward in your life? 

Life is really hard, no doubt about it, even for those who have been blessed with love and affection in childhood and beyond. But for those who have survived trauma it can be a never-ending battle. We know there are ways to find the key to our own healing. 

If you feel comfortable with this, please share what you have learned through the process of your own healing (using the 'comment' link below). I know this is going out into the world but perhaps we can begin a dialogue on how to rise above the crap and perhaps help someone else.

Healing with Others

It is so important that participants feel safe when they do the songwriting workshops. These workshops are not about me or anyone else who teaches them. Those that have lived through traumatic experiences need to realize their own potential for growth and change to occur and that healing transformation is possible.

I say especially through writing your story or even part of your story in song. I never knew my own songwriting was what kept me alive through a painful childhood that I didn't even realize was painful. I internalized everything but put all that into my songs. These memories only come to the surface later in my life. I kept them well hidden from myself until I was way into my 40's, even 50's. Only through working with these survivors did I come to a deeper understanding of my own issues and truly begin to heal.

I'm not saying I'm healed yet but peer-to-peer programs such as mine do wonders as there is no judgment, we have all been to those dark places, the holes that suck us in and threaten to extinguish any life we may be grasping to hold on to. The sheer joy in music and song is responsible for my survival. Songbird Sings programs are an opportunity to be validated for what you have gone through by others in the workshops who say, "me too." This community that builds over time allows for healing and change to occur.

Turning Tragedies into Diamond Jewels

In the words of a woman who was in one of my woman's voice programs..."We are turning our tragedies into diamond jewels."

To be the alchemist of your own life: how do you do that when you're in the gutter? Just look up a little bit...the stars are shining...truly. I believe there is a life force in dwelling in all of us. It is larger than the "I". We can tap into that life source because honestly it is part of us. There will never be another you and if you don't find the way to express what is in your mind, in your heart, your soul, there will never be another like you that can, and what you would put into the world in some creative fashion, will be lost forever.

I know this takes a lot sometimes. Sometimes it hurts too much, but seriously what else are you going to do. It will eat you alive if you don't get it out, if you don't become the alchemist of your own life. I know this on such a profound level. I know that if I can pick myself up from being squashed in the dirt that it is possible for any of you to do it too.


There have been several times in my life when I was on the very, very bottom with no light shining. What did I do here? How did I survive this dark hole? It was a struggle believe me. I read and read and read every self-help book. Found groups where I learned skills and tools to help me when I was in the low place. I could relate to the struggles of others in these group experiences...all of us finding a way out of the darkness...illuminating the darkness.

Phew...long road. Western MA is good for this. Many groups on recovering a sense of self if you have lost or are lost. Long road to now. So many have helped along the way. You can't climb out all by yourself, you do need help and there is help somewhere nearby for you. Who am I writing to I don't know, maybe someone can hear this and feel better, at least know they are not alone.

Love you and love is here right now, it really is.

Launching Our New Website

Here we are, launching this website out into the world so that all of you good people will learn about these amazing songwriting healing programs that are helping so many trauma survivors put into song what quite often they can't even talk about. The process of songwriting helps survivors sing their story to the world; they can look at it from a safe distance within the song and be validated for doing it, especially in the group experience.

“Owning one’s voice is owning one’s authority and ends a cycle of victimization. Much of this comes from within the group. The group is more powerful than individual, because you’ve got a shared experienced you’re not being silenced, you're being believed.  Everyone in the group is bearing witness to your story.  It’s huge."  Dr. Diane Austin: Music and Healing.

"Creating songs, music etc. offers a wide range of socially acceptable ways of expressing negative feelings, or closeness, any of which can reduce the need for expression in more overt, unacceptable forms. The movement from random expression to organized, meaningful expression is the goal.  Music and in particular songwriting provides a range of emotional expressions, expressions not otherwise permitted are acceptable in music and song."  Jaap Orth.

“This residue of unresolved, undischarged energy gets trapped in the nervous system and creates the debilitating symptoms associated with trauma. Songwriting and singing yout own songs, can enable the traumatized client to reconnect with his or her essential nature by providing access to, and an outlet for, intense feelings" Dr. Diane Austin: Music and Healing.

In Songbird Sings songwriting workshops, trauma survivors have a safe place to express their feelings.  We let them know that some of what happens in the workshops may be difficult; that music, writing and singing, helps us access what we may be keeping buried in silence.  They can choose if they want to participate.  Mainly I give support without judgment as they find solace in the songs that are written and support from the group.

Allowing Beauty, Love, and Truth into Our Lives

Remembering a songwriting program I facilitated with young girls who were transitioning out of McLean Hospital.  Some very beautiful songs were written.  McLean is a good hospital, well respected but I’m not sure if it’s not just a way to suck money from people who care so much about their children.  On the other hand what do you do for young people who are having serious trouble adapting to the world.

It’s not easy…no, not easy to be in this world.  We all have to develop a thick skin but still be open and willing to let beauty, love and truth in.  We all walk a fine line.  We learn as we grow.  For some it is harder than others and sometimes the reason for that is hard to find.  If trauma happened to you at a very early age often you can’t get back to it to process what it was and to hopefully heal from it.   I’m beginning to believe that so much is chemical.  We’re made of chemicals after all.  Some of us are probably born with more serotonin and endorphins in our body…The rest of us need to make sure we laugh enough and of course write our stories.  Songwriting has always been key for me.  Kept me sane (most of the time).

The Power is in the Song

Clearly music can do things which language can not. Music has unique powers, something very primal is at work.* Music is such a healing force, but adding your story to a melody, singing that song or having someone else sing it for you, is powerful for those who have been silenced by trauma. The power is in the song. Your truth in a poem or lyrics put to music can transport what may have been stuck or trapped inside, out to where you can look at and feel it from a safe distance

These songs have the ability to reach where regular talk therapy can not always go. After 30 years as a songwriter and recording artist, I began to teach songwriting to survivors of trauma.Inspired by studies that showed the power of healing through music, and witnessing the profound healing and recovery of women in my groups, I founded my non-profit Songbird Sings. In my programs survivors break the silence that hides abuse by finding their own voice through songwriting and singing.

As Carl Jung said, “The reason for evil in the world is that people aren’t allowed to tell their stories.”

paraphrased from Oliver Sachs. 

November Update and Happenings

House Concert in November. This was fun and I raised 400 for Songbird Sings Picture of me in the red living room playing a song.

Thanksgiving was a real treat at Tim Jackson's house. Tim is the director of A Woman's Voice film, the story of my life in context of being a woman, a mother, an artist, taking part in two major cultural periods of time, surviving, transformation, founding Songbird Sings to help others heal through writing their own songs. So it's not just me me me. I think it's going to be a very interesting film, hopefully it will be done in 2012. Tim and his wife Suzanne Boucher are good friends. Tim was the drummer in my band Robin lane and the Chartbusters. There were at least 40 people eating yummy food. We are blessed.

Wednesday's and Thursday's I'm still facilitating Songbird Sings "Giving Youth A Voice" program at Home For Little Wanderers. So far they've come up with 5 songs. We're going to start a new one this coming Thursday and Erica Nazarro who runs YARN program at the Home will be there to help as will Dawn Carroll who has been extremely supportive, teaching me things about Facebook that I did not know. Check out her own foundation "Over My Shoulder Foundation" which is all about mentoring young people.

The youth from Home For Little Wanderers will be performing with me at the next Red Sox, Hot Stove Cool Music event January 14 at The Paradise in Boston. Susan Tedeshi, The Remains, Kay Hanley, Peter Gammons, the great sports writer, Bill Janovitz from Buffalo Tom, Mike Gent from the Figgs, Seth Justman from J.Giles and many more come out to play to raise money... for all the organizations Red Sox support. Home For Little Wanderers being one of them. Hope to see you all there. Can't wait till you see how music really does help us use our voices in a very profound way. These kids have written some wonderful songs which speak to the very sad conditions they have come from and are still in but learning to have enough faith in their own abilities to rise above what they have gone through at the same time getting it out in song. Getting it out is the only way we can heal. This event is about music giving back.