“Two of a Kind enriched the students’ understanding of language arts, music, social studies and social skills. It was wonderful to see students take ownership of a cooperative creative process.”
– 3rd Grade Teacher, Lowell Elementary School, Philadelphia, PA
Two of a Kind artist residencies focus on the art and process of songwriting, including both lyrics and music. Two of a Kind residencies are often built around a theme. Through a group creative process students learn about cooperation, creativity, compromise, and accomplishment as well as specific skills and information related to songwriting. Two of a Kind helps children believe that they can make music, and that they can make a difference in the world.
After planning sessions with teachers, the residency begins with introductory performances for all the students in the school. These performances serve to introduce us to the entire school community, to give all participating students an idea of who we are and what we do, and to introduce concepts and materials to which we will refer throughout the residency. The bulk of our residency consists of classroom work with participating students. The residency ends with a culminating assembly, in which participating students present the work which they have done during the residency to the rest of the school. Time is set aside for an assessment following the culminating assembly.
“I learned how powerful songs can be. I learned how to compromise, and listen to other people’s opinions.
– 7th Grade Student, Upper Perkiomen Middle School, PA
Students learn basic skills and techniques related to writing both music and lyrics. Students gain an understanding of musical and lyrical form and structure, rhyme scheme, melodic contour, text-setting, and musical style. The emphasis is on the process of songwriting, including brainstorming, organizing, analyzing, editing and critiquing. We stress an intuitive approach to songwriting, and we teach specific tools which can help students, regardless of experience or amount of formal music training, to learn techniques and improve their skills.
Our goal is for all participating students to gain an increased appreciation for the art of songwriting. In addition, we hope that some of the students will be sufficiently excited about songwriting by the end of the residency, that they would continue to explore this activity individually and/or in groups.
Some themes of past residencies include:
- the environment
- the Constitution
- character values
In addition, we have presented two special types of artist residencies:
- “Story Into Songs” project
- “Oral History Songwriting” project
In the “Story Into Songs” project, all of the songwriting is related to one central story or book. The end result is similar to musical theater, and can be developed into a staged production, or performed in a concert version. The Wind in the Willows is a recent example of this type of residency.
The “Oral History Songwriting” project involves bringing in members of the community to share their life stories, and then using these interviews as the source material for the songwriting project. Depending on the choices of community members, this project can have an additional thematic focus, such as immigration or diversity.
Video showing Songwriting Process:
Sample Student-Written Songs:
- The Wind in the Willows (6-song mini-musical)
- Do You Want To Be Free? (about Harriet Tubman)
- That’s How We Came To Be Free (immigration)
- This Holiday is Halloween
- We The People
- When I Say Stop
- Who Decides? (open space/land development)
Letter from Aliki (Author) related to Two of a Kind artist residency at Candlebrook Elementary School, 2009-2010