Songwriting Challenge

When we were kids, we dreamed of having a home and place where we could belong. And theatre and cast albums were that thing for us.
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul

The next generation of musical theatre songwriters compete for a chance to showcase their composition while receiving coveted mentorship from musical theatre masters

About the Competition

In partnership with The National Endowment for the Arts, and with collaboration from Disney Theatrical Productions and Concord Theatrical, Songwriting Challenge is a competition for high school songwriters to compete on the national level. Students across the nation compose music for the chance to showcase their musical theatre song, learn from musical theatre professionals, and compete to be one of six finalists.

The National Endowment for the Arts’ Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge for High School Students (the “Songwriting Challenge”) began in 2016 as an opportunity for students in three cities to showcase their songwriting talents as they competed regionally for the opportunity to participate in a final competition in New York City.

For this third year, the Songwriting Challenge will pair six finalist songwriters (either single songwriters or duos) with professional musical theater artists to develop the students’ original song into a Broadway-stage-ready composition.

Each finalist will be paired with a musical theater mentor and music director to form a coaching team that will work directly with the student to hone all parts of their song. Initially, each coaching team will work with their finalist remotely using Skype/video conferencing software. This will be followed by an in-person coaching weekend when the mentor and music director travel to the finalists’ home community to work together. This extended coaching period allows for a deeper experience for the student finalists.

After the mentorship weekend, each finalist’s song will be transcribed, performed by Broadway singers and musicians, recorded, and streamed for public enjoyment. Students will be able to watch rehearsals either via Skype/video conferencing or in person, depending on their schedules. For a third year, Concord Theatricals has generously agreed to publish a songbook containing each of the finalists’ song in their transcribed form.

Join the songwriting conversation using #IWriteMusicals.

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