About Us

The songwriting process in an incredibly powerful method of exploring, articulating and communicating ones thoughts, experiences and emotions.

The Swan Song Project gives people facing end of life and those surrounding them the opportunity to write and record their own original song. A professional songwriter provides support to guide each person, through finding the initial idea to the completed recording. No previous musical experience or abilities are required. Everyone has a unique way of expressing themselves and this is what makes great songs. With the right support everyone can do it.

The Project began at the Marie Curie Hospice in Bradford in 2017 and has since written songs with people all over the country and in a wide range of circumstances surrounding end of life and bereavment. From early stages of a terminal diagnosis to peoples final days, immediatley following a bereavement to several years after.

Participants have reported:

  • How proud they are of their songs,

  • How happy they are to have a permanent recorded message to their loved ones,

  • How it has helped them come to terms with their situation

  • How it has helped them articulate and communicates their feelings in a way they may not have otherwise done.

  • And how much fun they had during the process.

Every session is facilitated in a relaxed and flexible way providing an enjoyable and rewarding artistic experience for everyone involved. Sessions can be done in person or virtually (During the Corona virus pandemic we are only offering our virtual service).

Every participant receives their song on a cd and has the option of sharing them with the wider public through The Swan Song Project Website.

In 2020 we also launched The Swan Song Project Podcast. Each episode features a different songwriter and they:

  • Share on of their songs and discuss how they wrote it,

  • Share a songwriting tip,

  • Share a song that is meaningful to them relating to bereavement.

All episodes can be found in the Podcast section of this site or from most podcast sites.

 

The Swan Song Project Singing Group takes place on a Thursday evening on Zoom. These sessions are a space for people to relaxe, connect and share the joy of singing.

Jess Baker leads these sessions and teaches a range of beautiful harmony songs. The group is all muted (Due to latency issues with Zoom) so Jess uses a loop pedal to teach the different parts and you can then sing along with whichever part you like the most. These sessions are a realy joy and a great chance to develop your singing if you are nervous about singing in front of others.

They are free to attend and you can register via the eventbrite link on our events page.

Interested in writing a song with us?

We can support anyone facing end of life and bereavement to write and record their own original song.
Please visit the "Writing A Song With Us" Page and submit the short form if you are interested in celebrating life in a song.

The Swan Song Project Values

The following values are the foundations on which The Swan Song Project is built on and inform all of the work we do. It is important that all staff, Trustees and volunteers understand and embody them in all aspects of their role at The Swan Song Project.

Optimistic 

“Life is not always a matter of holding good cards but sometimes playing a poor hand well”

The Swan Song Project is an optimistic organisation. We believe there are always opportunities to make situations a little bit better and we work towards these opportunities. We are positive in our mindset towards what can be achieved both by ourselves and by the people we work with. We believe a certain amount of hardship is unavoidable in life (such as the death of a loved one) but that hardship shouldn’t be made any worse than it needs to be. Efforts should be made to add joy and see light in all challenges. We encourage people to believe in the best of themselves and help support them towards that. 

For a lot of the people we work with the future looks bleak, scary and uncertain. We are here to help them cultivate a more positive view of that future, helping to create things for the person to look forward to and reasons to celebrate.

We do not ignore or undermine the difficulties people face and our optimism isn’t naive or simplistic. It is a belief in, and a commitment to the value of moments of joy, no matter how small. We believe people are capable of dealing with incredible challenges and hardship. People show great courage and bravery in how they manage life challenges and sharing their experiences with others is an act of great generosity and kindness.

“When it rains, look for rainbows, when it’s dark, look for stars”

Creative 

“Creativity doesn’t wait for that perfect moment, it fashions its own perfect moments out of ordinary ones”

The Swan Song Project is a creative organisation and approaches all of its work with a creative and open mind. We look for creative solutions to problems and are unafraid to try new methods. We believe creativity is implicit in everyone and there is great benefit in people accessing their creativity. These benefits can be for the individual taking part in the creative activity for their own wellbeing and also for any receivers of the creative output. Seeing or hearing someone express themselves inspires others to do the same and gives people more understanding of human experiences. It is a privilege for us to help people express themselves and we believe there is great value in everyones creative output.

We believe nobody’s creative output is inherently more valuable than anyone else’s. Everyone has unique experiences and unique ways of expressing and communicating those experiences. You never know who might benefit from anyones experience and how much benefit they may receive from it. Even if a song is only heard by one person it is still incredibly valuable and can have a huge impact on that persons life.

Trustworthy

The Swan Song Project is a trustworthy organisation. We do what we say we will do and communicate honestly. We are reliable and can be trusted to work with peoples best interests at heart. We respect peoples privacy and wishes and never act in a way to compromise that. We deliver what we say we will and stick to time scales we give. When there are delays or problems affecting our ability to meet out commitments we are honest and up front about them.

The people we work with are often living with a lot of uncertainty and we do not want to add to that. We appreciate that trust needs to be built and maintained, this informs everything we do from face to face interactions to our social media and marketing.

Compassionate 

“A sympathetic consciousness of others distress with a desire to alleviate it”

The Swan Song Project treats everyone with compassion. We do not judge, we accept people where they are, listen to their experiences and offer our support to try and make things better in whatever ways we can. We treat people with warmth, patience and kindness. We respect the complexity of individual peoples lives and situations, we never claim to know more about someones situation than they do and we always listen with the aim to understand rather than simply respond.

Authentic

“Be so completely yourself that everyone else feels safe to be themselves too”

The Swan Song Project is an authentic organisation. We operate in ways that are true to our values and our individual experiences. We are professional but also real people who make genuine connections with the people we work with. We do not claim to be perfect, are open to admitting our mistakes and learning from them. We are happy to share our own challenges and our sincere in our conversations with others. We aim to be free of hypocrisy and “Walk our talk”.We are asking the people we work with to be their honest and authentic selves when writing a song with us. We cannot ask them to do this whilst not being authentic ourselves.

“When you show up authentic you create the space for others to do the same”

“It's absolutely amazing, we all love it to bits and pieces!! It's the most amazing memento to keep and treasure always. Ready now for when the worst time of my life happens, giving me such peace of mind. It means so much, it really does.”

“Its given a different perspective to saying goodbye”

"The first time I heard the song I was so beautifully overwhelmed. I always feel my Dad around me but having the song being sang to me just felt like he was really there, giving me a big hug and I just cannot describe the feeling"

"In those difficult days, she told us that the journey of telling her story through music was a liberating experience that helped her accept her diagnosis."

Latest Swan Song News

Swan Song bench unveiled in Meanwood Park

Swan Song bench unveiled in Meanwood Park

Leeds musician recording memories for bereaved families is recognised by National Lottery We are absolutley thrilled to announce the arrival of a bespoke bench in honour of Swan Song founder Ben Buddy Slack. The bench is 1 of 13 across the country dedicated to people...

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