Songwriting is a Vehicle for Learning

Almost 20 years of experience introducing songwriting in K-5 classrooms gives Martin the innate ability to engage young students immediately and enthusiastically in songwriting games, mnemonic creation, and insight into the tools and processes involved in writing original songs. In arts residencies, Martin becomes a 'Pied Piper' modeling inclusion, respect, patience and humor as students work together and individually to express their own original ideas in the song. 

Carol Marcotte, Principal, River View Community School states: 
"I was delighted to see how kindergarten students became enthusiastic as they integrate learnings of phonological keys with a class song. The third graders were so pleased when they used their vocabulary words to design their song about weather. I watched my first graders become confident as they brainstormed and then problem solved which words were best for their song....this was all because of Martin Swinger's expertise...Thank you for helping our children build their self-esteem, gain new knowledge and be successful." 

Martin also offers highly rated Continuing Education workshops for teachers on how to facilitate songwriting in their own classrooms. 

Debby Garrett, repeat visitor at Kerrville Folk Festival Continuing Education workshops gushes, "Your workshops always make me laugh. You always have wonderful input. You certainly are a great listener and answer questions. I feel that each time I attend your workshops, I'm taking a refresher course + learning new things... connecting with new people. You are also a fabulous role model in the way you respond/reply to ideas/thoughts. You don't shut anything down. You are kind about it. You genuinely care about your fellow people/musicians."

                                   Here are some possibilities for a Residency; 

Songwriting in 1st-6th Grade  Martin introduces songwriting with clever games that are adaptable to any skill level or curriculum subject. A residency can be arranged according to your time and budget with flexible, interchangeable lesson plans for up to 3 workshops per classroom and a concert for the school or community. You may propose a budget and time-frame and Martin will work with you to develop a plan that offers the most exposure per student possible and leave the school with concrete portfolio examples, or you may pick-and-choose lesson activities for a one-time, drop-in visit which is great for after-school or ‘special’ day events. (Travel and housing may be negotiated.) 

Lesson One: 1st and 2nd Grade classes enjoy creating a mischievous lullaby for a critter of their choice and experience the fun of illustrating their own booklet of their song. 

Lesson One: 3rd Grade and older classes enjoy group-writing simple limerick songs, then try their own hands at creating a limerick song which is then shared with the class for constructive peer critique about the use of Meter, Rhyme, and Follow-Through on their song. 

Lesson Two:  All Grades may choose ANY curriculum to be the subject as students brainstorm information, pick a song they all know and construct their very own mnemonic to make remembering the facts as simple as singing their ‘A, B, C’s’! When was the last time your students demanded to review (sing) their lesson again before class ended? 

Lesson Three: 3rd Grade and up students are introduced to 4 song types (Story, List, Descriptive and Persuasive) and offered simple and familiar examples to reinforce the concepts. Detail and the use of 5 Senses in story-telling are discussed then Martin shares a few of his astonishingly engaging and sophisticated original songs illustrating those principals followed by an honest and informative Q&A. 

A School Concert is the perfect culmination of a residency where Martin shares more original songs, fun sing-alongs and features student-written songs for all to enjoy! 

An Evening Family Concert brings the general public together to celebrate the student’s songwriting creations, more of Martin’s fun original songs, and Americana participatory songs that engage, heal and build community. The Evening Concert may be coupled with a fundraiser spaghetti supper to benefit more arts programming at the school! 

Continuing Education: Martin is skilled at demonstrating simple ways to create and incorporate musical mnemonics into the daily routine. Teachers are shown basic skills, grouped according to grade level and challenged under Martin’s gentle supervision, to write a mnemonic song they can use immediately!