Songwriting in the Choral Classroom Grant – $5,000

Hopkins Junior High Vocal Music Teacher Ian Stillmunks aims to combine a new and modern band approach with the traditional choir model, intertwining the creation of music with the performance piece of choir, and show students that they are “able to write and perform their own music in much the same way that their favorite artists do,” with the Songwriting in Choral Classroom Grant

As these 7th-9th grade choral students engage in both songwriting practices as well as building performance skills, either solo or in groups, they will also be learning to play the ukulele or guitar as an accompaniment to support their songwriting. With the goal of performing in a smaller setting or venue, this HEF grant provides 30 new Kala ukuleles and 15 Yamaha classical guitars as well as storage racks to be shared by the choir programs at both Hopkins junior high schools.

Learning to play their chosen instrument in group lessons, students in this study engage in active learning and personal reflection while writing songs in genres they enjoy and continuing to explore their singing voice. By expressing their own voice through self-created lyrics and newly learned chord progressions, students will be energized by this opportunity which removes the barriers and expense typically associated with learning an instrument and enhances their choir class time. It is Stillmunks’ hope and plan to continue this Songwriting in Choral Classroom Grant work over many years, further engaging and energizing future junior high choir students by creating compositions that showcase their individual talent and achievement.



Awarded Fall 2022
West Junior High School/North Junior High School
Submitter: Vocal Music Teacher Ian Stillmunks

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