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Martin Swinger: Program Details

SONGWRITING WITH CHILDREN K-6th GRADE Guiding Principles, Results and Assessment, Maine Learning Results

Martin visits K-6th grade classes and teaches the basic elements of songwriting through hands on experience. Students learn to rhyme, make sense, follow through on the subject, fit meter, and choose colorful and descriptive words by creating fun silly songs and 'lesson' songs they can use as memory tools. ANY subject can be incorporated into the plan: Bullying, Civil Rights, History or Science themes... GUIDING PRINCIPALS: Songwriting develops clear communication, logical and artistic thought and expression, problem solving, information gathering, selecting, analyzing and organizing. It also promotes self confidence, concentration, cooperative working, listening, negotiating, compromise and sharing. It provides the opportunity to reflect cultures and communicate thoughts and feelings providing a more powerful repertoire of self expression. Participation promotes awareness of the variety of careers available in the field of music and helps students understand and demonstrate acceptable rules of behavior when attending performance events. RESULTS AND ASSESSMENT: In their written form, songs provide evidence for assessment in student portfolios and may be evaluated through a variety of standards. Along with the chance to experiment with the art, students learn appropriate vocabulary and song form, understand how songs communicate ideas, feelings and meaning, and recognize how different kinds of songs serve different tasks. Students listen to and participate in creating live music and apply songwriting rules as they create, revise and refine their original works and variations. MAINE LEARNING RESULTS: Martin's songwriting workshops support Maine Learning Results and any other state's learning guidelines through Music, English Language Arts, Visual and Performing Arts and Career Preparation as it provides CROSS-CURRICULUM experience and support through ANY CURRICULUM chosen as song subject matter.


Martin can lead any group through the process of creating original songs based on local history, characters or events, or in creating songs for original plays or pagents. Costs and details to be negotiated according to event requirements.


Martin offers a FUN family concert with something for EVERYONE! Sing-along, audience participation, familiar and new songs, stories and wise-cracks - all with one goal in mind - ENTERTAINING THE WHOLE FAMILY! For schools, festivals, libraries, family reunions, campgrounds (BYO S'MORES) - any event that brings family together. (NO Children's birthday parties or other SUGAR CHARGED events!) Within reason, themed events are welcome!


Martin can compose original school pride songs that can unify the school community, celebrate its strengths, remind students of their goals and aspirations, include school slogans, colors and mascots, core words or ideals, and offer a calming or rallying effect to school assemblies and events. The process of creating YOUR original song involves interviewing teachers and staff about school details, goals and expectations, and requires outside composition time (minimum 2 weeks) to create a totally original song all about your school.

It is also possible to engage students in writing their own verses to the song if the school song is combined with a residency program. References available.


Martin leads a lively, audience participation based school concert which educates as it entertains. Any concert will include songs for fun, songs of history and songs for social change.


Songwriting in the classroom is a vehicle for discussion, for information review, for spelling lessons, encyclopedia and dictionary use, for behavior review and practice, for peer teaching, team-work, constructive criticism and Multiple Intelligences support -- and the students THINK they are just having FUN!! Martin offers a workshop for teachers or program leaders so they can present songwriting activities in the classroom. Participants learn songwriting games and how to present them, how to map out a blank song and how to brainstorm and construct an original song with their students. Lesson plans and assessment rubricks are included in the lesson plan book TIPS FOR PIGGY-BACK SONGWRITING IN THE CLASSROOM.


To arrange a residency contact Jean Butler: Arts Are Essential 

  or  978-263-0108


Martin offers a songwriting lecture/demonstration for older students in a concert setting, which culminates in a Q&A about careers in music. He is also happy to work with a small group (5-10 high school students) who are INTERESTED IN SONGWRITING to develop a couple of songs together over the course of several visits.


To arrange a residency contact Jean Butler: Arts Are Essential 

  or  978-263-0108


My program is flexible and adaptable. Transportation and housing will be negotiated separately as needed. For any residency I can facilitate three one-hour sessions a day -- four if necessary to get all the intended students in. I effectively work with K- 7th grades whereas 3rd through 6th seem to respond the most consistently. They ALL respond enthusiastically and find value in the lessons. For K-6 residencies I LIKE to visit each class 3 times for 60 minutes ; session 1) intro to songwriting game and sharing ; session 2) write a 'lesson information' song ; session 3) demonstrate song types (story, list, persuasion...) & their uses, song construction and inspiration, and finally Q&A about careers in music. I can arrange programs with fewer visits per classroom according to your budget. I also prefer to end a residency with a brief concert for the whole school and general public is welcome to attend. When time, situation or financial constraints make it necessary, I am happy to adjust my lesson plans and develop a project that meets your specific needs to effect the largest number of students in the shortest time possible. School Pride Songs involve a pre-residency visit and interview with teachers and staff, two weeks lead time and a writers fee for time spent composing the tune outside the residency. If you'd like me to develop an entirely original song with your students, please allow 2-3 hours per song, no more than 2 songs in one day.


To arrange a residency contact Jean Butler: Arts Are Essential 

  or  978-263-0108


Digestive System (tune: Yankee Doodle) written w/ Canaan Elementary 4th grade (verse melody) Digestive system is the thing

That gives us our nutrition

We use it every time we eat

Here's it's composition;

(Chorus melody) First the teath chew up and down

Tongue mooves food around

Food get's softened with saliva

Needed to get it down.

(verse melody) Muscles in your esophagus

Push the food down more

To the stomach, where the juices

Really start to pour!

(chorus melody) Small intestine breaks the food down

Turns it into energy,

So blood vessels carry it

All through-out me

(chorus melody) Finally the large entestine

Pushes through the body

Squeezes with it's muscles and -

Waste goes in the potty!


ROSA PARKS (tune: 3 Blind Mice) Merrill School 2nd grade

Rosa Parks. Rosa Parks.

Got on the bus. Got on the bus.

The bus was going around the town.

She got arrested for sitting down

Just because her skin was brown

And that's not fair. Just not FAIR!


SOLAR SYSTEM (tune: Ho, Ho, Ho, Who Wouldn't Go?) Dirigo Middle School 5th Grade

Our Solar System is unique

Mars has the tallest mountain peak.

Earth is where our life comes from.

Solar System has a great big Sun.

(Chorus) Milky Way - Galaxy Milky Way - Galaxy

It is a spiral of great big stars -

Also the name of a candy bar!


Saturn has beautiful rings.

Neptune was named for the ocean king.

Mercury is very hot.

Pluto was a planet, now it's NOT!


Venus has acid rain.

Jupiter has a hurricane.

Uranus is 7th from the Sun.

Now our Solar song is done!

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