Our Mission is to inspire and empower children to work together to become creators of their own music and to rekindle creativity as a core value in education.
We do this through our group songwriting workshops, in schools and camps nationwide. Kid Pan Alley programs provide a unique creative opportunity to children in a collaborative environment. This program keeps children intensely engaged as they work together to write their own song – both music and lyrics. When the week ends, their pride is evident as they perform their compositions in a concert for their school and community. Whether it’s a weeklong songwriter in residence workshop or a single day Character Development Assembly program, Kid Pan Alley’s artistic staff will empower your students to stretch their creative muscles as they work together to create their own song. They’ll explore rhythm, rhyme, melody and form, all the while polishing their creative writing skills. Our single day assembly program focuses on respect; for self, each other, the community and world, presented in spoken word and Kid Pan Alley songs written by children in previous residencies.
Program Goals & Objectives:
Kid Pan Alley programs are designed to help to promote teamwork, inspire creative thinking and expression, hone performance skills and self confidence, build vocabulary, encourage respect for intellectual property and help children tie personal experience to what’s happening in the world around them. We do this by keeping them engaged and giving them the power to create something unique, lasting and completely their own. Some of the specific program benefits include:
Kid Pan Alley started with a brilliant but obvious discovery—kids make the greatest song co-writers—especially when you are writing songs for kids. Paul Reisler, songwriter, composer, master songwriting teacher and founder of Trapezoid, learned this during an elementary school songwriting residency project in rural Rappahannock County, VA. There, he co-wrote over 50 songs with all 600 children in the county. The songs were funny, touching, goofy, gross—and completely enchanting. They turned out to be so good that Reisler asked a number of the county’s professional musicians—many of them nationally and internationally known—to record one song each in their own style. The album, Tidal Wave of Song, became an expression of the whole community—and of the power of song to inspire the spirit of community.
Since that first three-week residency in 1999, Kid Pan Alley has inspired a creative tidal wave of more than 2,000 original songs written and performed with over 30,000 children from Vermont to Hawai’i. Two more professional CDs – Kid Pan Alley Nashville, created in partnership with the Nashville Chamber Orchestra, and I Used to Know the Names of All the Stars – feature such artists as Amy Grant, Sissy Spacek, Delbert McClinton, Kix Brooks, Cracker, The Nashville Chamber Orchestra and many others. The albums have won numerous awards including a Washington Area Music Association WAMMIE, Parents’ Choice Gold and Silver honors, and a NAPPA Gold Award, as well as a Grammy nomination.
Kids love music. With their unfettered imaginations, they make great co-writers. Imagine how different life will be for the children who get the chance to see themselves as creators. That can make all the difference.
Upcoming concerts from our Wonder & Reflection–Songs of the Shenandoah National Park project:
September 23, 7 pm • Washington, VA • Rappahannock Elementary with Kid Pan Alley’s Paul Reisler, Sahffi Lynne, Marshall Keys and children from Rappahannock Elementary, Hearthstone and CCLC. Co-sponsored by RAAC
September 30, 7 pm • Waynesboro, VA • Wayne Theatre • Paul Reisler, Cheryl Toth and students from Westwood Hills Elementary.
In celebration of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Arts has awarded Kid Pan Alley a $10,000 grant for a collaborative songwriting project with the Shenandoah National Park, the Shenandoah Park Trust, and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. This project is designed to bring children to the Park to experience its beauty, majesty, and importance to our natural and national history and to write songs inspired by that experience. Read more
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“Kid Pan Alley is the quintessential program for helping kids to experience their creative power, their voice, and their own self-expression. This is the kind of experience that changes lives.”