Readers, I can’t believe the week is almost over. Our writers have created some amazing fiction, poetry, and songs and had a ton of fun in the process. As we move closer to the end of our workshop, our young writers have thought more and more about Friday’s reading. While they are working hard to prepare for tomorrow’s reading, truly our main goal at the Young Writers’ Workshop is to cultivate our participants’ love of creative writing. We want our writers to take the skills they’ve developed and honed over the course of this workshop and keep writing, revising, and sharing their work in their future endeavors.
Today, songwriter Ann Zimmerman visited our young writers. Ann has won multiple national song contests including the Wildflower! Festival, Great American Song, and the Just Plain Folks. She gives about 100 performances a year across Kansas and across the country and has four independent recordings of her music. Ann’s outgoing personality and engaging songwriting techniques helped our writers create lasting impressions with their songs.
Ann and the young writers sing her song, “Meadowlark.”
Ann preformed a few of her original songs for the young writers.
How do you make a lasting impression when writing songs? Ann discussed that it is important for the lyrics in a song to create a “picture” for the listener. She compared songwriting to painters, the difference being that songwriters paint a picture inside the listener’s mind rather than on a canvas. To further discuss this tactic, the young writers sang “Froggie Went a Courtin’” and discussed the images created by these lyrics. Then, the writers worked in groups to create a new song to the same tune. These songs were very enjoyable and definitely created a mental image for me!
Riggs, Aiden, and Giovanni’s song was about birds.
Hannah, Julianna, and Sierra’s song was about a snake.
After the young writers had the hang of this whole songwriting thing, Ann had them create their own songs to any tune they chose.
Some young writers chose to put new lyrics to old tunes.
Malea, Sahana, and Ava wrote and preformed “Fluffy the Bunny” to the tune of “Frosty the Snowman.”
And others created original lyrics with their own melody.
Sydney sings, “I don’t need a saving grace/I just need some time to waste”
Keeping Ann’s advice about songwriting in mind, our young writers spent the afternoon creating poetry and songs that used rich imagery to make a lasting impression for listeners. The young writers ventured into the gallery to find a total of twenty words to use for inspiration for a poem.
Once they picked their twenty words, the writers then chose at least ten of those words to incorporate into a poem about themselves. After sharing these poems, they were tasked to use those same ten words in a new poem about something they love. And to top it off, they had to include one simile, one alliteration, and three concrete images. Though this task sounds difficult, they persevered and created beautiful poetry.
For the remainder of the day, the young writers worked together in their small groups to create an original song and perform it for their peers.
“Our pens will conquer the world”
“Hey now/There’s a blank page/Grab a pencil/Go write”
“Once I lost my eye/Now I just sit here/I forgot to cry”
To see a video of each of the songs being performed, check out our Facebook page. I’m sure you will see all three of these songs on Billboard’s Top 100 very soon.
We hope to see you tomorrow at 2:30pm in the Beach Museum’s UMB Theater for the young writers’ reading. We will be taking photos to share in our last blog post for this year’s workshop.