SCPA Third Graders Use Songwriting to Tell Us About Life in the Pandemic

January 29, 2021
A scene from the online recording of SCPA third graders (Narvis — top left; Valloleth — top right; and David — bottom center) performing their original song, "It Starts With You," about their life during the pandemic

From kitchen tables, living rooms, bedrooms and hallways, students throughout our region have been "attending" school remotely. At Cincinnati Public School's School for Creative & Performing Arts (SCPA), third graders have been participating in a song writing project that has given them a voice to share their experience during remote learning. Local music composer and educator, David Kisor, has been serving as the Mayerson Composer-in-Residence at SCPA since the beginning of 2020 where he works with SCPA Music Teacher, Trisha Winland. Kisor teaches song writing to SCPA K–3 grades who create original songs and record their performances. The music video of the first of 10 songs written during the last quarter of 2020 called, "It Starts With You," is a revealing look into the experience of these students.

"Heartwarming, heartfelt and a little heartbreaking" is how some have described the 10 songs that range from rock ballads to tangoes and more.

The Mayerson Composer-in-Residence is part of the Mayerson Foundation's Artistic Excellence Program. Started in 2010, the Mayerson Artistic Excellence Program supports master classes from some of the finest musicians, dancers and artists in the world. By partnering with Cincinnati's great arts organizations, the Mayerson Foundation makes it possible for guest artists and local artist-educators to spend time in SCPA classrooms teaching the next generation of great artists.

As we make progress toward the end of the pandemic, please take two minutes to view the video of “It Starts With You” at the top of this page and share it with your community.