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Songwriters working in schools (USA)

Dave Ruch 20 Jun 16 - 10:41 AM
cnd 21 Jun 16 - 08:12 AM
Dave Ruch 21 Jun 16 - 02:23 PM
GUEST,Anne Neilson 21 Jun 16 - 05:49 PM
Dave Ruch 22 Jun 16 - 08:08 AM
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Subject: Songwriters working in schools (USA)
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 20 Jun 16 - 10:41 AM

I published a lengthy post on my blog today about the work of writing songs with kids in schools. I've been doing these gigs for 20 years now, so I'm sharing what I know for any others who'd like to try it.

More importantly though, I interviewed a half-dozen other professional songwriters and musicians to see how they're doing it.

You can find the article here:
Songwriting in Schools: The Teachers Need You (and you could use the income)


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Subject: RE: Songwriters working in schools (USA)
From: cnd
Date: 21 Jun 16 - 08:12 AM

Nice article to read, Dave. I had a music teacher once who wrote his own songs, but he was a pretty strange fellow and got fired after he drove everyone out of choir.


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Subject: RE: Songwriters working in schools (USA)
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 21 Jun 16 - 02:23 PM

Musicians can be strange, eh? Thanks for the good words cnd.


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Subject: RE: Songwriters working in schools (USA)
From: GUEST,Anne Neilson
Date: 21 Jun 16 - 05:49 PM

Very interesting links to fascinating projects.

I've done some similar work here in UK with primary school pupils and found that a great way in was to start from a cheeky, formulaic kids' song (Three crows sat upon a wall x 3, On a cold and frosty morning). Pupils happily engaged with adding to the number of crows and their subsequent problems -- the original has verses like 'The first crow couldnae flee/fly at a/all', On a cold and frosty morning'.

But I also had a great experience -- over an 8 week period (including dancing session) -- of constructing a song with a group of 10 year-olds -- based on the story of Mary, Queen of Scots and her sad demise. This was included in a script (put together by the class teacher) which we eventually performed in Stirling Castle, together with authentic dances from the period which had been taught by an accredited teacher.
The whole project was supported by funds made available to The Traditional Music and Song Association of Scotland (TMSA) by the Scottish Arts Council.

Bottom line is that children love singing and inventing, and that anyone who can access funding from government sources should be applauded.

All success to those involved!


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Subject: RE: Songwriters working in schools (USA)
From: Dave Ruch
Date: 22 Jun 16 - 08:08 AM

Two great sounding projects, Anne. I too have found lots of success with primary school students in embellishing, expanding on, and/or rewriting existing songs.

It's a bit maddening, given all the current research on the role of the arts in student learning and engagement, that schools everywhere aren't using approaches like these. I do see a small shift though, at least here in the US, with many schools adopting an "arts integration" approach. We can only hope that it picks up more momentum.


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