Search Is On for Next Generation of Theatre Songwriters – How High School Students Can Apply

News   Search Is On for Next Generation of Theatre Songwriters – How High School Students Can Apply As we continue to witness a watershed moment for music and musical theatre in the United States — think Hamilton, "High School Musical," "Glee" and "Pitch Perfect" — the National Endowment for the Arts and Playbill, Inc. are joining forces, with additional support provided by Disney Theatrical Group, to highlight and nurture the next generation of songwriting talent. 

“The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge is part of the NEA's 50th Anniversary efforts to strengthen and highlight the creative development of young people and prepare them for the future,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "The NEA has long been at the forefront of supporting emerging artists, especially in the music discipline, where NEA-supported artists have gone on to receive Grammy nominations and win Grammy Awards, as well as the Pulitzer Prize in Music."

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In its pilot year, The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge will be available to high school students who live in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Dallas County, TX; and Seattle and King County, WA. The initiative offers students the chance to showcase their songwriting talents and compete to be one of three finalists traveling to New York City. In New York, the national finalists will take part in an intensive songwriting workshop with professional musicians, singers, songwriters and producers to learn about the business and hone their songwriting skills.  They will also have professional musicians and singers perform their original songs as part of the final competition with judges from the music and musical theatre industry.  

The national winner will receive a $5,000 scholarship award, and each national runner-up will receive $2,500. Scholarships are provided by the National Music Publishers’ Association Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters (S.O.N.G.S.) Foundation. In addition, the national winner’s song will be published by Sony/ATV. 

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"Playbill, Inc. is thrilled to partner will the National Endowment for the Arts to produce the Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students. This Challenge, which seeks to discover the next generation of songwriters, will be able to explore untapped talent throughout the United States," said Philip Birsh, CEO and President of Playbill, Inc. "The Songwriting Challenge will give students the chance to be mentored by some of the most decorated and prestigious composers currently working on Broadway today. Playbill, Inc. is as dedicated to celebrating the songwriters of today as they are helping create the Broadway artists of tomorrow."  

High school students are invited to submit a song in any style – rock, pop, rap, Latin, gospel, country, world, etc. – as long as it is part of a musical theatre story. Applications can be submitted through arts.gov/songwriting between Feb. 17 and April 4, 2016.  Local partners in each city will administer the Songwriting Challenge; they include Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN; Big Thought in Dallas County, TX; and the Office of Arts & Culture in Seattle and King County, WA. 

More information on The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students can be found at arts.gov/songwriting. Follow the conversation about the Songwriting Challenge on Twitter at #IWriteSongs16 or #Sayitinsong.

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