For three days, I had the chance to work with sixth, seventh, and eighth graders in Albemarle County, VA. We explored how to get ideas for songs and specific strategies for songwriting such as structure, metaphor, rhythm, rhyme, and prosody. We applied the same techniques for revising that poets and fiction writers use.
Each class collaborated to create one original song. We created characters and backstories for these songs and imagined that the songs were coming from each character’s point of view. Although we were focusing on process, our goal was to finish the song in just three periods. Check out the songs below.
Thanks to the Bama Works Fund of Dave Matthews Band c/o the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation for the financial support. I’m also grateful to Bobbi Snow, visionary founder/director and project grant administrator; to Bliss Webel, the wise and wonderful Language Arts teacher for all the classroom support; and to Busy Graham and Carpe Diem Arts for making the connection. Finally, thanks to the students, who I enjoyed meeting, for their enthusiasm and energy.
Topics for songs were brainstormed by each group and chosen by democratic vote. We used the “voice memo” app on the iPhone to record our songs.
Recordings to come soon!