Powerfull Voice of Kids - Digital & Media Literacy Education

  • Songwriting


Support students' creativity through songwriting




Songwriting is a powerful way to draw out students' creativity and self-expression. Songwriting in popular forms, including pop, rock, and hip-hop, can help students think of new ways to express themselves through lyrics, production, and remix. Even teachers without songwriting ability can always participate in creating remixes, in which an original beat or melody is repurposed for new lyrics. 


1. Start with Experience. Select a song from Karaoake Online and watch it. You can sing along if you like. After listening and singing, discuss:


  • How did this music make you feel?
  • What are some of the main ideas in this music?
  • Who created it? What information is provided about the authors?
  • Why do you think it was created? Is it to inform, to persuade or to entertain?
  • How was this song created?
  • Why do people like singing karaoke?


2. Explore Examples to Consider Adaptation to Learners and Contexts. View the short video, Composing Lyrics, Stop the Violence.  Then listen to the finished student production, Stop the Violence. See if you can identify these elements of the finished student-produced song:

Verse: the main part of a song, roughly corresponding with a poetic stanza, where the "story" or narrative occurs 

Chorus: the part of the song that repeats, both musically and lyrically, and often conveys the main message or theme of the song

Bridge: the section of a song which has a different melody from the rest of the song

Hook: the most memorable element of the song for listeners. 


3. Compare and Contrast. Then look at another classroom by viewing the video, Students Create Bootlegged. Watch a video, Writing a Bridge, where a student discusses and brainstorms ideas for the bridge, part of the structure of a song. which is a brief description of the teacher's reflection about the process she used in helping students to create a non-fiction comic. Finally, look at the students' finished product, Bootlegged Final Project, Grade 6. 


Discuss: What did you notice about the topics and issues children addressed in their songs? What did you notice about how children worked together? What did you notice about the teachers managed the process? What are the characteristics of a classroom where children are being creative? 


4. Compose, Create and Take Action.  Develop a songwriting project where you and your students create a song about a social issue or a topic or issue that you are exploring in class. 



  • What do you notice about the ways that different motivations from both students and instructors might inform the way songwriting and music are used in the classroom?
  • What opportunities or challenges can you see to doing this kind of highly creative but often messy work in different classroom environments?
  • What are some ways you can think of to do songwriting in the classroom, either alone or in collaboration with an art or music teacher?


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Composing Lyrics, Stop the Violence

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