The Songwriting Charity #CharityTuesday

Let me introduce you to a wonderful concept, The Songwriting Charity! Music is known as the universal language and I absolutely love the idea of children working together to produce music in a way that helps them with their difficulties. I can’t describe it any better than the very passionate John Quinn does, so I’ll hand you over to him now:

Passionate about the art and craft of songwriting, music production and always committed to delivering the highest quality teaching, Nathan Timothy, a successful singer, songwriter, producer, and a member of BASCA and Association of Independent Music took the bold step of starting up his own charity, Nathan Timothy Foundation, the Songwriting Charity, back in July 2011. Even though the country was (and still is) in midst of the deepest and most enduring recession of modern times, Nathan and his small team decided there’s no time like the present, so they went about getting their ducks in a row! Joining Nathan were former colleagues from another charity where they previously all worked together called Beatbullying. Ben O’Sullivan, John Quinn and Christine Napper form the nucleus of the Songwriting Charity.

The work of the Songwriting Charity addresses the emotional health and wellbeing of children and young people using songwriting and music technology.

Our unique, one-day workshops present opportunities to sing, write lyrics, create and manipulate digital sounds and/composition, perform, record and play music, offering creative enterprise opportunities and bridging between traditional learning styles and music through songwriting. Recorded material is then available for schools to stream online for presentations, in-school promotions or for use out in the wider community, or to download via the charity’s SoundCloud music platform.

We work closely with participating schools and groups so that we can tailor the workshops to the needs of the students and the school. Working in partnership with schools, students, the whole school community, is important to us.

We are the Number 1 charity in the world dedicated to the empowerment of youth through the art and craft of songwriting.

Whilst based at its HQ in Central London, the Songwriting Charity also has regional presence in Cambridgeshire, Kent and Gloucestershire and is building a partnership base with schools and local authorities in these areas, ready to roll out its programmes from September 2012 onwards.

The Songwriting Charity’s workshops help children to explore their emotions, feelings, understanding, fragilities, relationships, stresses and joys, through songwriting and musical expression. It’s magical. The journey starts with warm ups and vocal exercises, then settles down to exploring everything from our feelings associated with a certain subject matter, or their experiences. It’s all about creating new music and songs, opening up creative opportunities for children who have no access to this level of support or creativity, helping them to achieve and feel valued. We give children the time to be creative.

Since September 2011 the Songwriting Charity has worked with over 1300 children and young people. We now have over 120 active school partners and some exciting partnerships on the boil. Evaluation continues to show the effectiveness of our work with 100% of teachers to date rating our work excellent, happily recommending us to colleagues and other schools.

In only eight months, our SoundCloud has seen nearly 30,000 plays, with children and parents logging on, commenting and downloading their songs. 95% of children have rated their workshops as excellent, finding them to be enjoyable experiences, ones they want to repeat over and over again. Teachers regularly come back to tell us that their children are so proud of their work, and that they still talk about their workshops many months later.

We maintain a close connection with our partners, whether they are schools or community groups. Legacy is important to us. The big consideration is always funding and finding the resources to acquire new music tech and kit that helps us ensure our beneficiaries get their hands on some of the best and most innovative music tech and apps out there.

This is what people say about us:

“I think it is a fantastic opportunity for children to explore issues from a new direction. I believe they have grown in confidence and developed considerable self esteem as school council reps.” John Baker, Headteacher, Knockhall Community Primary School

“The feedback from the children was great. A statemented child in the class had a very high level of input and his musical ability/talent was acknowledged. The Songwriting Charity have worked with us many times, and never fail to deliver! The experience of a day with Nathan and his team is invaluable, and one the children will remember.” Vicki Cuff, Inclusion Leader, Invicta Primary School, Greenwich

“It was a real privilege having the opportunity to witness at first hand the fantastic way the guys from the Song Writing Charity were able to get engage with the young people from Downsview, making sure that every pupil regardless of their additional needs meaningfully contributed to the material that will eventually turn in to the anthem of the Hackney Schools’ Sports Championships. I was really impressed by the way the three of you came across as really being focused on ensuring that each pupil took part in a way which was really meaningful and not slightest bit patronising or tokenistic. The way in which you differentiated the task to work with the range of needs was really good to see.” Aneurin Wood, Principal Equalities & Disabilities Inclusion Officer, The Learning Trust

We’re going to celebrate our first birthday in July this year, and are determined to ensure that children and young people everywhere, are able to experience the magical process of songwriting. Like all charities, we need funding and support. Being asked to write a piece for a blog like this is great for us. All we ask is after reading this, you have a look at our website and follow our social links to the SoundCloud and our YouTube Channel.

Listen to the amazing songs that children have written; covering everything from the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, to creating awareness of bullying and how it affects their peers. If you would like to support us, then please consider making a donation towards our work. Every penny and pound gets through to the frontline. Text NTSC11 and any amount up to £10 to 70070. Thank you so much for supporting us.