Fun Times Songwriting in School

By Liz Buchanan

This week, I’m launching an eight week song-writing process with first graders at a public school in Boston.  Through a residency sponsored by VSA (Very Special Arts) of Massachusetts I’ll be meeting with each of five different Grade 1 classrooms for thirty-five minutes a week.  The experience of analyzing songs with various structures and musical styles, and then writing original songs as a class will provide great reading and writing practice for the students, and will be enriching for me as a songwriter as well!  The lessons will address MA curriculum frameworks in English Language Arts as well as potentially in social studies or science.  But the more important thing is that while learning, we’ll also be singing and having some serious fun in school!  What a concept, in this era of meeting the standards and teaching to the test.  I repeat, we’ll have FUN – in school!!!

I plan to blog regularly as this process continues.  For now, here’s a video about some other CMN colleagues who regularly go into schools and write songs with students, David and Jenny Heitler-Klevans, aka Two of a Kind.

Liz Buchanan is President of The Children’s Music Network.


  1. Thanks for sharing Liz. I teach 1-2nd grade and sing with the k-2nd graders weekly!
    I look forward to hearing about your songwriting adventures! I love the Two of a Kind video clip!

  2. In the midst of a songwriting project myself right now. First graders writing songs about the Rainforest. So far we have, “The Toucan Can,” “Kapok Tree” (inspired by the book), “Four Layers,” “What Can Rainforest Animals Do?” and possibly “The Slow Sloth Slide.”

  3. This is a fantastic video of the songwriting process with young children. David and Jenny have a keen way of getting right to the heart of what works when helping students in the creative songwriting process. I loved watching this video and especially loved the song that the children composed. Great job!!!

  4. I recently did an afterschool songwriting workshop at a library. (Unbeknownst to me, the workshop was targeted to the Elementary students who “should be” but are not yet reading.) It was a one hour workshop. I was a tad worried when we started; it was like pulling teeth to get them to come into the room where the workshop was held. We worked through all the steps, rather quickly, and came up with a pretty awful song. BUT! The children were engaged!They were excited about the process of writing! They were PROUD of their song. They didn’t want to quit writing when time was up. They took home a copy of THEIR song. And they had a BLAST!
    I can imagine what you’ll accomplish in 8 weeks!

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