Writing a song with us
Thank you for your interest in writing a song with The Swan Song Project.
We hope this section answers any questions you have about our service and can help you decide if you would like to start writing your song with us. If there is anything else you would like to know please contact us via the form below.
The Swan Song Project believes that everyone has a song and that those songs deserve to be sung.
It gives us great pleasure to support people in writing their songs, especially as these are often in challenging times. The process can be deeply therapeutic as well as being a lot of fun. We believe a song can live for ever, carrying precious memories and providing comfort and joy to listeners.
We understand that the idea of writing a song with no previous experience can be a daunting one and we pride ourselves on making our songwriting sessions comfortable, relaxed and enjoyable. Our team can help with every stage of the songwriting process from finding initial ideas to finishing a recording. Below are some of the frequently asked questions about our service.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Who is The Swan Song Project for?
The Swan Song Project will support anyone facing end of life or dealing with a bereavement. We appreciate that these time periods are often uncertain and we want to be able to support whenever we are needed. We work with people at all stages of terminal illness as well as people preparing for the end of their life from other circumstances.
We also support loved ones through the grieving process, before or after a bereavement. This process is different for everyone, some may wish to write a song immediatley following a loss, others it may be years later. If you are interested in writing a song with us but unsure if it is the right time for you feel free to contact us and we will be happy to discuss with you.
How long does it take?
It varies a lot. Some people know exactly what they want to say and can communicate it very quickly, others it may take a while to find the ideas and put them into lyrics. We aim to support as needed, if you need time to reflect on your ideas that is fine, if you want us to give you a bit of a push and and make more suggestions we can do that too. We tend to work in sessions of about 1 hour in length. Some songs have been completed in 2/3 sessions, some have taken much longer. If you would like your song completed by a certain date please let us know at the start and we will do our best to make that happen.
How does the process work?
If you wish to write a song with us we will send you a document with some prompts that may help with generating ideas for your song and will give us an understanding of what we are aiming for. You can take as long as you like filling this out. Once your return it to us, one of our team will review it and arrange a time to discuss ideas with you either by phone or over Zoom. From this session we will try and clarify some ideas about the song and maybe get some lyrics written. We will discuss other songs that you like and how you would like this song to sound. We may then assign an Affiliate Artist to your song who will help with the composition. One of the team here will work with you through the whole process and ideas can be sent between yourselves and the affiliate artist until we have a completed song everyone is happy with. More information about the process can be found in the PDF available to download in the “Interested in Writing A Song?” section below.
What If I don’t know what to write about?
This is very common with our sessions and our team are skilled at helping you find a topic for your song that is meaningful to you. This sometimes happens quickly and sometimes it takes a bit longer, we will explore ideas with you and make suggestions of routes you could take.
I’m not musical, does that matter?
No, the majority of people we have worked with have had no previous musical experience. We can support with all aspects of creating the music and you are under no pressure to perform on the recording of the song. If you would like to perform on the song we will support you to do this also.
You are almost certainly more musical than you might think though and your ears are the most important part of this process, you know what music you like and you can decide if the song sounds the way you would like it to sound. You have tastes in music, thoughts and experiences and have a unique way of expressing them, our team work with these to create a song unique to you.
What if my song isn’t good enough?
It is very common for people to worry about their song being good enough but there is really no need to worry. We always like to start with what the aim of the song is and we then work to achieve that aim. Our team will help you to develop your lyrics and your ideas and ways of expressing them are just as good as anyone elses. There is no objective scale for assessing songs (Or anything creative really) as they can impact people in such different ways. If you feel your song expresses what you want it to and sounds how you want it to, then it is good enough and there is no need to worry.
Can you help me record myself singing another song I like?
Unfortunately not. Our service is dedicated to writing songs with people and we cannot dedicate a lot of time to recording people singing other songs. If we have written a song together and during the recording process you wish you sing another song, this can usually be arranged but we cannot arrange to simply record other peoples songs. If you wish to do this, you would be best contacting some local recording studios and asking them to assist you.
How much does it cost?
The Swan Song Project relies on the generosity of our supporters and funders and aims to keep the service free for the people who access it. There is no charge for our helping writing your song. Howerever if you would like to donate to support more people writing their songs it would be most appreciated.
I work for an end of life care provider/hospital/care home/funeral director etc. Can we offer The Swan Song Project to our service users?
If you are interested in becoming a partner organisation of The Swan Song Project we would love to hear from you. Please contact us via the form below and we will be in touch to discuss in more detail.
If you have any other questions, please do contact us via the form below and we will respond to you as soon as we can.
My mum, Lydia Nicoll, received palliative care at St. Gemma’s Hospice in Leeds from October to December 2018. One thing that kept her going during her final weeks was The Swan Song Project. I’m not sure how she came upon the flier about the project but I remember...
Stephanie Ingham shares her experience of writing a song virtually with The Swan Song Project.