What is Songwriting for Wellness?
Songwriting for Wellness offers an opportunity for individuals to work through thoughts and feelings in a supportive songwriting workshop. Guided by Murray Foster, an award-winning songwriter, and supported by a registered social worker at each workshop, Songwriting for Wellness promotes renewed inspiration and self-care.
Our signature Songwriting for Wellness workshop supports those who support their community including healthcare staff, frontline support services, and emergency service workers. These group workshops are designed to foster resilience and reduce work-related stress.
Songwriting for Healing gives those who have experienced loss or trauma the opportunity to process their feelings with guidance and support. It allows participants to express themselves and share new understandings and insights they have gained through their life experience.
Visit our Workshops page for more information on our programs. All of our workshops are appropriate for beginners. No musical background or ability to play an instrument is required.
We are happy to tailor our workshops to your individual needs. Contact us for more information.
How does songwriting support wellness?
Our classes and workshops invite participants to develop new tools for self-expression, while providing the opportunity to share their stories and a sense of community. Studies have shown that expressive writing increases resilience and reduces symptoms of depression, perceived stress, and rumination. They have also shown that shared musical experiences help participants regain confidence and strengthen bonds with others also experiencing loss.
What happens in a Songwriting for Wellness workshop?
Our workshops are designed for participants of any level. No music background, experience with an instrument, or ability to sing is needed. In each workshop, Murray Foster will lead the group through instruction on basic songwriting techniques that they can use in their own writing. Each participant will receive a Songwriting for Wellness workbook to help guide their songwriting efforts. Every Songwriting for Wellness workshop has a social worker available to connect participants with additional resources and support.
How did Songwriting for Wellness begin?
For over a decade, Murray Foster performed in the popular Newfoundland band Great Big Sea. When the band retired in 2014, he founded Toronto Songwriting School to share his experience and songwriting knowledge with developing songwriters. Toronto Songwriting School has built a thriving community of songwriters across Canada and beyond who attend classes, workshops, and songwriter getaways.
As part of his mission to share the tools of songwriting, Murray also began working with Massey Hall & Roy Thompson Hall’s Lullaby Project, helping new mothers write songs for their children, and their Lyrics & Legacies Project, helping seniors, including residents with dementia, turn their life story into a song.
Across Toronto Songwriting School workshops and in these programs with more vulnerable members of the community, it was evident that songwriting was a powerful tool in processing life experiences, grief, and trauma.
Maureen Pollard reached out to Toronto Songwriting School in 2019 for guidance on a song she wanted to write for World Suicide Prevention Day. That song, “I Hope You Stay,” was the beginning of many collaborative songwriting experiences.
Maureen has over 30 years of experience as a social worker, supporting people as they adjust to the experience of grief and trauma, as well as supporting first responders and frontline professionals with resilience recovery through education, critical incident support, and wellness programming. She began inviting Murray to present songwriting workshops to some of the communities she works with including those grieving the loss of a loved one and frontline professionals in a community that had experienced a number of traumatic losses.
These programs were so successful that we began to develop additional supportive programming and Songwriting for Wellness was born.