Professional songwriters engaging with second grade students at Pattie Elementary School

Pattie Elementary School recently hosted a residency program in collaboration with Kid Pan Alley. Professional songwriters spent two days at the school engaging with second grade students to help them compose and craft their own original songs. According to Kid Pan Alley’s mission statement, their goal is to inspire creativity, boost confidence, and foster a sense of community among children of all ages through the collaborative songwriting process.

The program seamlessly combines visual arts and music. Initially, the students visited a local art gallery, where they immersed themselves in paintings, sculptures, and photography created by talented local artists. During this enriching experience, the students had the opportunity to engage with several artists, learning about their unique creative processes.

Following the gallery visit, each second-grade class chose a piece of art to inspire their song. The students needed to think about the story the artist was telling through the art, and how to best tell that story through music and song. Guided by the talented teaching-songwriters from Kid Pan Alley, the classes collaborated over two days, crafting their own unique and original songs.

The students identified the captivating ‘HOOK’ for their song, and subsequently, they crafted the lyrics entirely on their own. This creative process emerged from discussions and brainstorming sessions centered around color, design, emotion, habitats, animals, and boundless imagination, all inspired by their chosen piece of art.

Second grader Shayla said, "When you write a song, it is easiest if you can be inspired and brainstorm about a picture. Think about the animal [in the painting], where it lives, what it is thinking, and its habitat. This will help write the song."

The students then worked with the professional musicians from Kid Pan Alley to create the rhythm and the melody they felt would best go with their lyrics. “This was like watching magic,” shared Amanda Baugham, music specialist at Pattie Elementary.

The students enjoyed the song writing process. "We loved songwriting. It sounded like a poem at first until we added the rhythm and melody" said second grader Carter.

At the end of the residency, each class performed their song for the school and the local artists were invited to attend the performance.