Sunday, October 11, 2009

Song Camp – Next Generation Songwriters

I have the pleasure to assist Walt Lofstrom and Mary Morrissey in Song-Camp, a program that writes songs with 9 to11 year old kids. Each week, we have two groups of around 15 kids, each writing a song in one hour.

Last week was great example of the success of the program. There was a boy, who from his body language, looked like a bomb ready to explode. Another boy said something to him and he said that he’ll “see him outside later.” When we asked the group for a word about some activity at school, he said “fighting.”

At the start of the songwriting process, he held back. Then he proposed a first line and suggested that we do the song as a rap. Everyone quickly agreed. Lyrics flowed quickly and when it came time for a melody, he drummed a complex rhythm using his hand and magic marker on the table. No question, it was perfect for the rap. The group circled around him and mini-studio to record the new song. At the end, accolades flowed and a smile emerged. When asked if he was a drummer, he said "no, this was his first time.” To that Walt responded, “You are a drummer now.”

These kids with no formal training continue to amaze and inspire me. They’re not crippled yet by judgment. They let ideas flow and are willing to try new things. They are all songwriters!

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