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Poetry Contest Songwriting Sessions

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Mar 2, 2015
by Charlotte Payne

Working in the Office of Service-Learning means I am not only more aware of all the opportunities that I can serve in Nashville, but it also means that I get to watch the amazing ways in which others serve the community. This Saturday I hosted the songwriting sessions for the five finalists from the 2015 poetry contest. Seeing these little kids walk into the house it was obvious that they were full of jittery nerves and excitement. As I watched the four songwriters work with the kids I was impressed with how comfortable the kids were around them - but it was easy to see why. The songwriters showed interest in not only the kids' poems but in who they were: their interests, dislikes, plans, and so on. They goofed around with the kids and made sure that they felt free to let their own creativity flow. Though the songwriters were in charge of the music-making process, the kids were not without a voice. I overheard the songwriters asking the kids what kind of artists they liked, what kind of sound they were looking for, and so on. They guided the process in a way that the kids felt free to make changes and recommendations. After the songs were finished, the songwriters and kids performed their masterpieces in front of the parents - and it was incredible. The children had written fantastic poems already - obviously, these were the five of close to 200 contestants that had been selected as finalists! - but coupling the poems with the musical genius of the songwriters had created something even more marvelous. Every song was unique and catchy. It really is going to be a tough vote to make! It was a great experience to get to watch the busy and talented songwriters take time out of their own lives to serve these kids in a priceless way: by supporting and encouraging them to be confident in their creativity.