“Alternating between inspiring jamming and talking about intimate psychology… I am glad that I embarked on this unique adventure. It is strange and powerful to have a song that perfectly represents an emotional period of my life, a personal experience, but also feels and sounds like ‘me’. This was definitely one of my most interesting experiences ever, thank you.” Sacha De Keizer, Hoeilaart, Belgium
“I didn’t really know what to expect in the beginning but after writing my own song with Malcolm and Melodi I really want to recommend it to everyone! It is such an interesting and wonderful experience to be part of this process! And Malcolm and Melodi, two great musicians, made me feel so comfortable talking about my story,- it was great! I hope to be part of it again and write many more “life-songs.” Noura Safar, Karbala, Iraq
“I am proud of the final result because I thought the song would have been sad in the beginning. It was the total opposite.” Malika Bakayoko, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
“The process of turning the words of a heartfelt story into a song was honestly fun and almost therapeutic. To not only share a story to but to convert it into something artistic, Malcolm and Melodi have transformed my memories into a little gem that glows beautifully! Thank you both so much for helping me appreciate these memories even more!” Camila Solis Torrez, Cochabamba, Bolivia
“I left each session we had together feeling so happy, feeling so light and joyful, feeling lighter than I started the process. I really believe in this process, I think it’s so important for folks to have the space to share their stories, to grapple with their own emotions, grapple with their own self to become better, to move forward, to be a better human being.” Khalid Taylor, Oberlin, Ohio

“It feels like such a natural way to make music that has real meaning.” Zach Arfa, Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts

“It is a fascinating process to see one of my very personal stories transformed into a song. For my refrain, every time I sing it, I become more grateful. Hearing other people sing along with me makes me feel more connected to them.” Meiyue Liu, Camden, Maine

““Singing a story actually feels even more emotional than just saying it. The feeling afterwards is so much better though. It is really nice sometimes to open up to people.” Daniel Snider, Camden, Maine

“Starting with a blank piece of paper putting some words on it and then watching you grow into a beautiful moving song – it’s just like candy for me, I love it, I love that kind of creating, and I think the stories that can be told are very powerful and moving.” Caleb Edwards, Camden, Maine

“How beautiful to feel so fully listened to. I had not realized how rare that feeling is, and moreover, how much listening can feel like love. Working with Malcolm and Chloë has been wonderfully rejuvenating, renewing my desire to weave creativity into my life and to remember, always, to celebrate the numerous moments, however kind, ugly or mundane, that make us human.” Caroline Rex-Waller, Bethlehem, New Hampshire

“It was only after going through the process that I fully realised the benefit to my emotional well being. I told the story of an armed robbery that I was a victim of, a story that happened many years ago and was definitely buried under many layers of my mind. After being able to share the experience, make music while expressing my core emotions, I feel emotionally stronger and true to myself.” Jonathan Westhorp, Manchester, UK

“It’s such an amazing gift to watch someone’s personal experiences be turned into something memorable, beautiful, and shareable, and the process is almost magical. It actually seems like magic.” Eliza Cuevas, Los Angeles, California

“Documentary songwriting is a meaningful modern continuation of the oral traditions that have been practiced by marginalized cultures throughout history.” An Anonymous Donor, 2018

“It was so incredible watching the magic of songwriting develop in front of me! Loved every moment of observing this process!” Calvin Cameron, Camden, Maine

“For me, the story-to-song process is very gratifying, both musically and mentally. It is a special form of communication that translates a memory into a sequence of notes and rhythms that can be experienced by anyone.” Jillian Galloway, Hope, Maine

judas-the-cat“I’m so grateful to you and your songwriting process for giving me the chance to express myself in such a different form than I’m familiar with, especially as I’m not confident in my musical ability and have really never sang in any serious capacity before! As a token of my gratitude, I’ve attached my favorite picture of my cat, Judas.” Ariane Curtin-Bowen, Quincy, Massachusetts

“It felt as if the music took hold of everyone in the room. As the observer, I was struck by how the three musicians worked together tacitly to create a beautiful piece of music that kept evolving throughout the session. I found myself rocking and swaying along with them.” Emma Trapani, Rockport, Maine

“The process of having her simply talk…and this drawing out a song where she would not be able to draw one…was a beautiful and non-intrusive way to work.” Nicole Apelian, Portland, Oregon

“I was awestruck by the intimacy, power and sheer humanity of the process, and very impressed with the actual results as a musical piece as well.” Mary Whitney, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

“This songwriting process yields the most honest, true-to-life lyrics I have ever encountered. As a musician and songwriter, documentary songwriting has allowed me to uncover a world of musical and lyrical ideas that feel both new and familiar at the same time.” Alex Wilder, Oberlin, Ohio

“This is a fresh and stimulating way to write a song. You can turn an event in your life into a piece of music that will underline and add to your understanding of that event. Malcolm is committed to helping each student make their song a success.” Kal Winer, Appleton, Maine

“I learned that I could write a song!”

“I learned to never doubt myself about the words that I write.”

“I learned that everyone, even me, can create music.”

– From three High school students in Littleton, New Hampshire

“It was a glimpse into real human experience and emotion, unfettered by script and censorship. It was one of the precious moments in life that I truly felt I was witnessing (and a part of) something real.” Rich Lewis, Prescott, Arizona

“As a writer who works predominantly with thick prose and long form essays and reporting, to see my experiences and words come together, distilled down into their essential components, is magical. To work with individuals who have mastered the art of essence is truly rewarding — and is making me a stronger writer.” Abby Norman, Camden, Maine

“Your class has helped my daughter express feelings that most probably would have otherwise gone unspoken. Like a precious card or love letter, now they can be listened to or read over and over through the years. Her emotions are touching hearts and inspiring others–thanks to you. You not only taught your students how easy the process can be, you helped them open up. You’ve taught them another form of communication and in life, that is so important. Now they see not only the hidden feelings, but also the talent that lies within each of them.” Donna Vix, Camden, Maine

“Incredible opportunity for community creativity.” Lisa Satchfield, Islesboro, Maine

“Malcolm and Melodi created a rich and safe environment in our sessions. Together we created a song that was both surprising and difficult, through tears and laughter we found the universal connection to a deeply personal story. Thank you, Malcolm and Melodi, for the opportunity to find my voice and share with courage.” Lindsay Pinchbeck, Hope, Maine

“This process was one of healing…healing through the telling of a story, through bearing witness to that story and sharing it with others and giving it shape in the form of song. …If every person could be so deeply honored through their education in this way…dreams would start taking shape everywhere.” Rosemary Logan, Flagstaff, Arizona

“It was transformational for both the participant, but most surprisingly, it was transformational for the audience. It is my belief that more so than the actual story/song that was being composed, the actual process was most meaningful and impressive to me. In addition, I observed that others were crying, chuckling (quietly) and completely “in the moment.” Faith Neilson, Durango, Colorado

“I always thought that to write songs you had to have something deeply profound or brilliant to say. Story-to-Song has allowed me to share stories and feelings that I often don’t even know I have. I’m always amazed by what I create when I let myself go through this process.” Chloë Isis, Belfast, Maine

“Professionals from academia and fields as diverse as psychology and anthropology to musicology and performance art could take away new and valuable insights and techniques to benefit their work.” Richard Pritzlaff, Boulder, Colorado

“This was an opportunity to explore part of myself that I didn’t even know I existed – stepping out of the ordinary and stepping into the extraordinary through musical collaboration and discovery of a unique creative process of story telling. It is like taking a raw stone, slowly buff and polish it, which will eventually have a gem shine through.” Kristina DiSciullo, Rockland, Maine

“Malcolm provides an extremely nonjudgmental space for the person he is working with. This calm pool of acceptance allows a person to re-find parts of themselves long buried.” Gilda Joffe, Camden, Maine

“Being able to document a story through song is a unique experience. With Malcolm and Rohan, I was able to relay a story, and we created an emotional focus for the forthcoming song. Being able to share a story through song gives me the strength to relay my thoughts and emotions about a moment, knowing that they aren’t right or wrong but simply are.” Tori Arau, Wenham, Massachusetts

“I had a feeling that I would like writing songs, but until working with Malcolm, I did not have the confidence to start. As the story-to-song method begins with simply telling a story, it’s so easy to start without being intimidated! Once I had a couple of songs, I began to see the power in working on and performing music about incidents that happened in my own life — singing about an experience is more magical and cathartic than I ever imagined! I also found that the song-story method forced me to confront how I actually felt about certain situations. It forced me to confront sometimes difficult feelings that I otherwise would have been able to bypass. For these reasons, the method is far more than just a tool that produces beautiful lyrics — it has become a way for me to fully understand certain aspects of my life.” Nora Willauer, Eugene, Oregon

“When I first explored the idea of writing music, I found myself continuously intimidated by trying to write lyrics line-by-line, expecting that to be the process of song writing. I didn’t think I was cut out to be an artist or musician. When I was introduced to Malcolm Brooks’s Documentary Songwriting Theory, it sparked that flame within me again, to express creatively through my passion for music. Documentary Songwriting allows me to express my stories, emotions, and creative mind in the most raw form. My lyrics and my songs embrace my phrasing, emotions, and melodies that flow through my mind daily.” Will Foote, Canton, New York

“The transformation of my stories into songs has been an incredible process in every way. I’ve learned that my ideas can flourish when put to music and eventually capture all of my feelings- verse by verse, chorus by chorus. Both this method and Malcolm are truly inspiring.” Hazel Delehey, Camden, Maine

“It was great to watch music emerge from the group effort. A whole new perspective on song writing.” Bill & Carrie Thomas, Islesboro, Maine

“We need 10 or 100 of Malcolm Brooks traveling around inviting others to tell their stories in this manner. This would not only have a profound effect on this population in individual terms but also offer the community ways to connect to the commonalities among their stories.” Rick Medrick, Boulder, Colorado
“Thank you for a great songwriting experience.” Michael McFarland, Islesboro, Maine
“Malcolm’s songwriting process spoke to me on a number of levels. From the beginning, I was rewarded by listening to the intimacies of personal narrative, in passively gaining insight into another’s life. As I began to understand and involve myself in the method, I appreciated the opportunity to provide my creative opinion on other’s work. As a songwriting guide, I was able to develop a trusting relationship with the storyteller in directing the process by asking leading questions about their story to further the emotional value and message of the song to come. As a storyteller, I valued the chance to think about my personal experience as a story with a distinct purpose and unique perspective. Within the environment of Malcolm’s home, my story became just as important to the audience as it was to me. In this space, trust was key.” Rohan Edwards, Bennington, Vermont