“It’s wonderful to hear what people come up with and how you put music to it. You take a stone, and make it a diamond.”
“Who would’ve thought I would actually wind up with a song?”
In the StorySongs experience we take your stories, individually and as a community, help turn your poems or prose into lyrics, and then add music to create a song, sometimes even a parody! Cathy leads this process, helping you choose the tempo, rhythm patterns, chord structures, major or minor key – all the components of composing a song. The experience inspires your creativity and broadens your understanding of the songwriting process. Selected songs are recorded and a few of them are listed on this page.
In this program, learning the songwriting process is the goal. These recordings illustrate the demonstration phase of creating a song – not the final production.
StorySongs at the Senior Recreation Center is a community outreach program for UF Health/Shands Arts in Medicine. These ongoing workshops are taught by Cathy DeWitt, International Award-winning Songwriter, Musician in Residence for UF Health/Shands Arts in Medicine, and former host of the Across the Prairie and Healing Journeys Through Music radio programs. Cathy now teaches songwriting online, in groups or as individual sessions. Sign up your group by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cathy is also available to create, record and/or perform a custom song for your loved one’s special occasion, wedding, corporate event, or just to enhance a moment in someone’s life.
UF Health/Senior Recreation Center
After we did the demo for this song (see below) we went into the studio and recorded a more final version of this cheerful, jazzy little song. Enjoy!
Welcome to “The New Normal!” I love how this song expresses the way a lot of us are feeling during this pandemic, which does appear to be our “new normal” until some time in the unforeseeable future. This is the completed version of the demo we recorded in class, shown below.
Peter (who wrote the lyrics) is a rocker, and I knew it needed to be a rock song, so my husband Rob Rothschild and I got our friend Nancy Luca, the rockin’ Gator in L.A., to record it with her awesome electric guitars and fabulous lead vocal! Rob and Nancy both worked on the audio recording/mixing, and Rob did all the video editing. I’m so grateful to my long-time pal David Ottenberg for playing bass and singing on this.
These rhythmic rhyming complaints from Peter about the “new normal” could only be accompanied by a rockin’ beat. Though it has a fun-loving groove, Peter’s words also brilliantly describe the longing many of us feel for the “good old days” that were actually only a few months ago. A great demonstration of Internal Rhyme.
This cheerful, jazzy little song was a collaboration with my StorySongs songwriting students. The prompt was “What do you think of when you think of Spring, what does it mean to you?” Most people just responded with words or phrases, but John started by saying, “When I Think of Spring,” which became both the title and the “hook” for our song.
This beautiful, wistful piece is a collaboration between Cathy and Virginia, a student in the StorySongs group and a wonderful poet. The two have an amazing sympatico connection and have created many songs together using Virginia’s words and Cathy’s music.
This is a collaboration with Henry, 78, who has an authentic R & B voice and always writes with a groove in mind. He says songs come to him whole, “in my head” and Cathy listens to his ideas and figures out the chord progression and the beat.
These words written by John sounded like a lazy dog singing a laid back blues, so that’s what we have here. The songwriting tool used here is Personification: giving human qualities or voice to a non-human object or creature.
Franklin’s Promise Coalition
Several songwriters came together in this online class to describe their favorites scene or dream location, based on a sense of place and a feeling of home. Turns out, most everyone likes it where they are! Or, where they can get to from time to time. This song is the result of two sessions in Franklin’s Promise Coalition’s Arts for Recovery and Resilience program.
UF Health/Senior Recreation Center
This evocative piece was a collaboration with a group of students from the University of Florida, expressing their thoughts and feelings brought on by a bout of Florida rain. Many individual ideas, including the suggestion for a melody, contributed to the finished product. Harmony vocals overdubbed by Cathy.
A lovely descriptive piece that tells the story of Lana’s grandmother and her home with poignancy and nostalgia. Visually rich and musically moving. Fond Memories.
These lovely words by Brenda Fedrigon lent themselves to this simple melody, a song of praise and gratitude for both God and flowers on a window sill.