Songs can be written from the curriculum, everyday life and – of course – flights of fancy and make believe. The class is involved in writing the songs right from the initial concept. A typical workshop would proceed as follows; collecting topics and ideas: the class suggests various topics that the’d like to write about. Selecting topics: we collectively edit the topics/ideas to a manageable number. Group work: if time permits, the class splits into groups, each group takes several topics and comes back with an action or descriptive phrases about the topic. Otherwise we do it as a class. Framing the song (lyrics): the class starts putting the lyrical song structure together using the “phrases” they came up with. Framing the song (genre): we discuss what kind of song it is: rap, rock, R & B, country… and adjust our lyrical, rhythmical and melodic structures accordingly. Presto – instant song! We did it!
|Maximum Class Size||Class size|
|Time Required||1-11/2 hr|
|Language of Instruction||English|
|Availability||October to January, mid-April to June|
Steve Slade is a long time Yukoner who has been working in the (mostly) rural community schools for almost 3 decades. He pioneered the ‘songwriting in the classroom’ here in the Yukon and the NWT’s Mackenzie Delta. Songs that he has written with students have won awards, prizes, and resulted in two CD’s with involvement from 5 Yukon schools.
He has worked in schools coast to coast to coast. A song he wrote with a Grade 1 class in Langley BC was read into the national record of Parliament (Hansard) in Ottawa (2008). But, more importantly, the songs have impacted on the students involved and he regularly gets young students (now young adults) coming up to him in the grocery stores, gas stations and venues to greet him and sing a few lyrics together.
For the last decade he has been traveling to schools with 20 ukuleles, various guitars, basses, bangers, shakers and sundry musical instruments. Steve and the class will write a song together, and then he will teach the instruments and arrange the class and songs for a performance at their Christmas or end of school year concert. The students accompany themselves in concert. It’s a blast!