Mather LifeWays Inspires Community through Songwriting

Judith-Kate with two participants at the songwriting workshop

In March, 2013 I had the opportunity to work with Mather LifeWays in Chicago and Evanston, Illinois and Judith-Kate Friedman, Founder and Director of Songwriting Works. Mather LifeWays, who were winners of the NCCA-MetLife Foundation Technical Assistance Grant, developed a plan to begin songwriting classes in their cafes for people 55+. Through the grant, they were able to bring Judith-Kate, winner of the NCCA-MetLife Foundation Leadership Award, all the way from Port Townsend, Washington to chilly Chicago to help teaching artists learn how to work with older adults using songwriting. Over two days we trained local songwriters, writers, and musicians on the Songwriting Works methodology. Mather's LifeWays has since launched a free songwriting program in their cafe for older adults in the community. Below is a lovely post written by one of the attendees, Samuel.  

With a song in my heart

I start my day with a word of thanks to the Maker. Being a senior, I remind myself this is the only time I have; the here and now, so I will enjoy this moment/this day. I vow to use my creativity in a constructive way. It is a blessing to be seen, not viewed.
Next, I run the hot water for my bath; I throw in two cups of Epson salt and the scent of lavender into the water. I turn on the classical music station and listen to the music while soaking. I slid into the tub; my mind body and spirit are in harmony. Oh, what a relaxing bath it is. I’m in a world of peace and tranquility. Bring on the day.

I’m looking forward to this day because I’m sign up for a FREE songwriting class; our instructor is Dean Milano, who is a singer songwriter. Dean has been writing songs for more than 40 years and has performed all over Chicago. I hope to make my songwriting dreams come true. The workshop has been developed with funds from the National Center for Aging—Met Life Foundation Technical Assistance Grant. A special thanks to these People and Organization; your workshop will challenge me and my senior classmate’s minds. You give us a reason for being and creating music.

Thank you Mather’s Cafe for helping us senior age gracefully.

It is truly wonderful to see the arts and aging programs popping up across the country and we are thankful to MetLife Foundation for allowing us to continue this inspiring work. We will be launching another round of technical assistance grants in August. Keep an eye out for the opening of applications! 

- Katie Fitzgerald, Director of Communications


It certainly was a wonderful experience teaching the art of songwriting to Sam, Joe and all the other students last year. And the good news is- we're doing it again this year. Our 6 week course started on March 7th, 2014 and we will be meeting every Friday from this point on. You can still join us if you like, so hope to see ya there!

Thank you, Dean!

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