Connect to Nature through Music
Do you love nature and music? Do you write nature-inspired songs or want to learn how? This program gives you a chance to generate song ideas, lyrics, and melodies, with support from local songwriting mentors.
Songs for Nature (S4N) is an RSM program that helps established or aspiring musicians connect with nature and hone their songwriting skills. The program also contributes to ongoing research about creativity, nature connection, and wellbeing.
Facilitated by RSM Curator of Human Ecology Glenn Sutter, S4N camps have been run at least once per year since 2016 with support from Environment and Climate Change Canada, Parks Canada, and other funders. To date, camps have been held at several locations around Last Mountain Lake, in Moose Mountain Provincial Park, and in Prince Albert National Park.
S4N camps are multi-day affairs, usually starting on a Thursday evening and winding up after lunch that Sunday. For a modest fee that helps to cover expenses, each camp includes free lodging and meals, guided hikes, yoga, True Nature Writing sessions, campfire jams, discussions about songwriting tips and tricks, and group songwriting. Participants are also invited to showcase their songs at a public show several weeks after the camp.
All of the group songs from S4N camps are available as lyric videos on this YouTube playlist, and some are featured in the RSM’s “Home” gallery. The tracks can also be downloaded from bandcamp, with all proceeds going to the Friends of the RSM.
To date, our S4N mentors have included:
The RSM is working on plans for a Youth Camp that will add an exciting new dimension to the S4N program. Instead of a retreat, the Youth Camp will involve weekend workshops at the RSM for young artists (18 to 25 years old) who are keen on using nature as a basis for songwriting. Watch this page for details.
S4N camps have shown how our connections to nature and other aspects of wellbeing are affected by creative pursuits like songwriting. These findings have been reported in a number of peer-reviewed papers:
Arbuthnott, K. D., G. C. Sutter, J. Belcher, and S. Stewart (2022). There’s nothing like the real thing: Nature connection and emotion in outdoor and online Songs for Nature workshops. Environmental Education Research. https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2022.2074377
Arbuthnott, K. D. and G. C. Sutter. 2019. Songwriting for nature: Increasing nature connection and well-being through musical creativity. Environmental Education Research https://doi.org/10.1080/13504622.2019.1608425
When’s the Next One?
The S4N team is busy planning camps for 2023 and beyond. Check our Facebook page, or back here for details!