I always say that music and songwriting has saved my life time and time again. As a teen, it was my best friend and the thing that made the most sense to me. My first songs were full of sadness and angst, but the process of letting those things out was healing and helped me to find peace within. As I grew into my artist self and dove more deeply into the craft of songwriting, it became my outlet for expressing my views of the world, of my relationships, my dreams, struggles, and triumphs. Writing songs was the anchor that continued to propel me forward in my career as an artist and solidify my commitment to the craft.
We’ve all had those experiences of hearing a song in a moment and forever that song will conjure up those memories. Writing songs takes this to whole other level as it allows for participation in the action of music creation: which in itself can be transformative and enlightening. As an artist, there’s nothing like knowing someone really connects with an original song. One of my favorite aspects of being a vocal and songwriting coach is seeing and experiencing firsthand a moment of revelation. When someone is able to tap into their own creative source and find inspiration and greater understanding of the self and their personal story, it’s pure magic.
Over the last handful of years, I’ve explored various ways of bringing people together to share musical experiences. Some were geared toward musicians, others, to allow non-musicians an experience of music or being in a band. I’ve worked one on one and in group settings guiding others through the songwriting process. It wasn’t until I began writing songs in prison that I felt I’d honed in on a process that could really open the way for a profound experience of songwriting for people from all walks of life. I’ve been facilitating rehabilitative songwriting workshops for Jail Guitar Doors with groups of inmates at Donovan State Prison since July of 2018. Most of them have very little (if any) music/songwriting experience, but everyone shows up ready to dive in. We cover the tough stuff…childhood trauma, judgement, resentment, responsibility, etc. I am continually blown away by their willingness to share, participate, and allow for perception shifting and processing of challenging emotions. To watch a hardened man who lives in this community, away from the world, find truth in the songwriting process and so clearly display a physical and mental experience of transformation is one of the most humbling experiences I’ve had. One day, as I was driving out of the prison, I had an overwhelmingly powerful feeling come over me. I started to cry uncontrollably and I heard this booming voice that said, “Astra, you need to take this outside of these walls.”
So I got right to it and started pulling the pieces together to be able to offer that experience to others….non-musicians and musicians alike. In my own life, I am moving through a transition from an unrealized vision of the past to a “right now” based on trust that will propel me into the future. Over time, I have come to know music as being of service more so than sitting in ego. Performing has become like plugging in and the process of songwriting has become healing and all encompassing. I am more than ready to share this with you and to expand upon this crazy career as an artist. We are so excited to begin offering the soulsong.life workshop in San Diego and beyond. Click here to register for fall 2019 workshops.
“A great song is one that tells the stories of the writer(s) and allows others to see their own.”
Blessings to you and yours,
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