This past month, I had the pleasure of working with an organization called the GRAMMY Museum Music Revolution Project, in which the organizers of the GRAMMY Museum in LA came down to Kansas City and guided 24 local students in bringing out their inner musicians. These students' musical talents ranged from playing instruments such as the cello, saxophone, guitar, ukulele, trombone, viola, and drums, and we all worked together to write music in many different styles that incorporated our different talents.
At the end of our time together, we had a final concert at the Kauffman Center in downtown Kansas City so that we could showcase the songs we had written. In just 4 short weeks, we had written at least 27 original songs and were able to feature 20 of them in the show. It was an all around incredible experience and really opened my eyes to a whole new side of songwriting.
Our first project was to write a basic 12-bar Blues song in an assigned group. This turned out to be a more exciting task than anyone had expected. We quickly decided on a topic about hitting the road and leaving town and got to work on the lyrics. Once we had a solid foundation for the song, we decided to have even more fun with it and added some pizazz to the piece. The band had originally consisted of basic instruments - vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys, and a viola. Since it was a jazz piece, we added in 2 saxophones and a trombone to give it a cool sound. Once we had added in an electric guitar solo and some back-up vocals, our song included most of the musicians from the Music Revolution Project group! It was really amazing to watch the song transform from a simple Blues piece into a Big Band onstage party! Here's a link to the video of Alright! from our final showcase at the Kauffman Center:
One of our other projects was to write a song in a group as if a famous artist had called us up, asking for help writing one last song for their album. My group was assigned to write a song in the style of Adele. After studying the different aspects of her music and coming up with a piano melody to set the tone of the song, we went out into the Power and Light district to wander around and look for some abstract ideas to incorporate into the lyrics. Pretty soon, we had a killer Adele ballad on our hands. We had so much fun putting this piece together, from late night lyric writing sessions to finally recording it in the studio. Here's the video of Wandering Love from our final showcase:
Finally, we were asked to write some original music on our own. This proved to be the most fruitful project of the month! Among the 20 songs that were in the final showcase, at least half of them were solo songs! I had so much fun with this assignment because there were limitless possibilities. I started out by writing a catchy phrase for the chorus, and the rest of the song just took off from there. After I had added in all of the instruments (and there were A LOT!) the song had become quite the production number! In the end, we decided that it should be the closing number for the showcase, and everyone that had participated in the Music Revolution Project got to be onstage for the song. It was a blast to create such a fun piece of music and then perform it with so many talented musicians! Here's the video of Roller Coaster from our final showcase:
I hope you enjoy all of the videos from our performance! It was truly a once in a life time experience to work with so many talented musicians from the Kansas City area alongside the GRAMMY Museum organization. I will also be posting professional recordings of these songs in the near future, so look out for those! :)