"We were smiling at the thought of being free"

For our lyrics-writing workshop, we wanted to show our class that songs can originate from the lyrics first (though one student, Estelle, pointed out that you need the melody to create the lyrics!) Since our goal was for everyone to write freely, we decided to approach the music from a different perspective, and saved the melody writing for later.

Writing lyrics has always been a very mysterious concept to me – Nathaniel writes the majority of lyrics for our songs, and with total ease! His lyrics, gentle and sometimes bittersweet, are a natural part of the melodies that he writes.  Although I often sing the lyrics, I have shied away from writing them myself. But in our second workshop, Dave, Nathaniel and I all joined our class in the creative writing process – we each wrote an original lyric for a song that we shared with our students. In a way, it was like ripping off a Band-Aid: it was scary to say the lyric out loud but once it was over, I was able to share in the joy of sharing something so personal.

Our students were reluctant to share their lyrics at first, and understandably so. But once we had divided the class into four small groups, the words started to flow a bit more easily. The groups each had an assignment to complete over the course of the workshop: First, generate a topic for a song, and second, collaboratively write 2 full verses and one chorus of lyrics. To start the writing off, one member of the group would come up with the very first line. Then the notebook got passed around, each of the girls building upon what had been written.

We want to share some of the beautiful lyrics that came out of this workshop:

Our eyes are lost in the shade/we can’t see the light

 Running and running away from the world/and all their needs/and all their greed/we were smiling from the thought of being free/being free

I try to soar around but it’s only in my dreams…It’s ok to cry/and it’s ok to feel/just remember that it’s not all real

I thought by now everything would be fine…it’s been like this for years/and I think I’ll be alright/it’s been some time of going no where