Sunday, April 17, 2011

Songwriting for Kids

The first wave of students will arrive at my house this afternoon. Today it will be the younger group -- three kids who range in age from about six to nine. A couple Sundays from now, five eighth graders will knock on my door.

Each group is coming over to talk about music. The focus of our meetings will be songwriting. The kids and I plan to meet regularly during the spring and summer, and by the end of the program, each group of kids will have written and recorded an original song.

As part of that process, the kids will have the opportunity to consult -- via Skype -- with my compadre Alan Elliott, a Hollywood composer and arranger (who also makes it a point to work with young musicians in L.A. schools).

Lord knows I don't have Alan's musical talent or training. He scores movies and TV shows; I write and record occasional "odes" to elected officials in the Land of Lincoln. But I'm confident I can still teach these kids something useful.

This whole adventure came about on a lark. Last month, I decided to offer up my services in a silent auction to raise some money for my youngest daughter's public school. To my surprise, a couple of folks were willing to write checks to help out the school (while encouraging the budding Leibers and Stollers in their own homes).

I'm looking forward to working with the kids. I'll do my best to ensure they have a blast. It may be the first time some of them get to hear (and discuss) music by folks like Roger Miller, Smokey Robinson, Cole Porter, Jimmy Webb, and Woody Guthrie.

Who knows? Down the road, they may even allow me to post their finished works on this site. Stay tuned.