STS Bread and Roses Festival Lawrence MassachusettsThe Story-to-Song (STS) method has touched the lives of many people. The following are testimonials form individuals who have experienced this songwriting method in some way: participant, audience member at songwriting demonstration, audience at performance of songs composed in the STS tradition.

“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 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

“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

“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

“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

“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, Annapolis, Maryland

“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

“You know when something happens in your life and you need the perfect song to sing at the top of your lungs or quietly while you cry, or just to express something important in your life, there is never any song that fits You! Your life, your experiences, or the stories of your family. Because no one knows your life and your heritage better than you. But through Story to Song you get exactly that; You get to capture You in a song. It’s amazing how the process happens, one minute you are sitting down chatting, expressing yourself and then without even realizing it everything you are saying gets transformed into lyrics and before you know it you are singing your words adding your inflections and Marieke is playing different notes on her ukulele, you hear a note that speaks to you and she makes it part of your song. Before you know it you are singing something uniquely beautiful to you because it captures whatever you wanted to express. You don’t have to be a poet, make your words rhyme or even know how to sing which I think is the beauty of this wonderful experience. Its fun, cathartic and you get to bring out your inner artist singer-songwriter! Sometimes I find myself humming a song that captures what I am feeling exactly but for the life of me cannot remember where I heard that song and then I realize that it is my song that I helped create through Story to Song. It is not generic but unique to me and I love it. Thanks Marieke!” Rubby Wuabu, Boston, Massachusetts

“My mother-in-law works at a school for mentally challenged kids. She told me that she has a student who’s a selective mute. Susan showed her your podcast, and explained that if she wrote a story they could make it a song. The girl wrote a story about how much she loves the animals on the farm, and they sung it together. It was the most amazing thing, and it turns out the student has a beautiful voice. My mother-in-law thanked me for posting the podcast for everyone to hear, and I thought I’d pass on the thanks to you for your wonderful business idea 🙂 On the business side, it also made me think of applications for what you do, and it would be possible to lend your service to schools (as a consultant, for a fee) so that kids can partake in such a great and cathartic activity. Food for thought. So… thank you 🙂 That girl learned something really valuable about herself that is going to help her throughout her life.” Anonymous, Massachusetts

“Hi. First thing I would like to thank you for sharing your stories through  songs. Your voice is soothing. And easy to paint the pictures of your words in the imagination.  I was using the podcast to show a student a different way to express feeling. High anxiety can be soothed by music and expressing words and feelings through it can help lessen and. Relieve it   Out school does have a music therapist who does a fabulous job. We have varying degrees of disabilities and they participate in different ways. Students love being able to perform in the one thing that we all. Think we can shine in. She wrote a story of a horse she cares for through our work program and she expressed what she does and how she loves him. I hope now to have her sing or at least pick a song to play in the background as she reads it.  She is very excited to listen to another one of your stories this week. We take baby steps for small successes but a satisfied and proud of yourself smile is worth it. Again thank you and you should consider music therapy. For old and young we all have that connection.” Anonymous, Massachusetts

“Marieke!!!! I am a little stunned. The melody goes straight to my heart and the refrain is fantastic. I really did not know what to expect but this is just beautiful!!! And you managed to do this in one day!  Wow! At your mid-pitch someone said you should enter mainstream music – I am going to echo that 🙂 I am super thrilled with this! This was most excellent! Brilliant beyond words!!! Thanks :)” Pradeep Aradhya, Massachusetts

“I feel like I am in another world, like I am in a trance.” BD, Prescott, Arizona

“It’s quite something to have your life sung back to you. I love the song, live it too. Thank you both for your sensitivity and dedication. X” Eleanor Nicolás, Amsterdam

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