Mission

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:

  • Promoting self-awareness and self-confidence by attaching value to the students’ creative impulses;
  • Helping children experience creative expression as a means of embracing diversity, teamwork, and collaboration;
  • Improving critical thinking and problem-solving skills;
  • Helping children learn and increase their ability to learn. Kid Pan Alley addresses national learning standards in the areas of creativity, music, English, performance, and connects to other areas of learning including History, Civics, Science, and Health. We think this is one of the most important outcomes of our program;
  • Promoting community awareness of the arts as essential elements of instruction in the lives of children;
  • fostering collaboration between students, teachers, administrators, artists, and the community through working together in a creative process; and
  • Teaching respect for intellectual property. Children who have written their own songs have a first-hand understanding of the negative effects of “pirating” on creators and their communities.

History

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.

Learn more about all our programs

From songwriter-in-residence to programs focused on art, literacy and special-needs students and character-development assembly programs, click on the button to see what might work best in your community or school.