Songwriting For Kids With PJ Morton

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PJ Morton

PJ Morton

Ideal for young people with a demonstrated passion for songwriting

Songwriting Workshop For Kids with PJ Morton

Do you know a young person who’s got the bug for songwriting? We’ve got a series of free workshops for kids led by a Grammy-winning songwriter who will help develop their craft.

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation is launching a series of free songwriting workshops with PJ Morton, the New Orleans-born, Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and performer who also is a member of the multi-platinum rock group Maroon 5.

The workshops – ideal for young people with a demonstrated passion for songwriting – will take place the afternoons of March 26, April 2 and May 21. They will cover the fundamentals of songwriting structure and technique, and will lead to students working in groups to create original songs.

Admission to the workshops is free, and is open to middle school and high school students from throughout the greater New Orleans region. But class size is limited to 30 participants.

Interested students should fill out an online application here. The deadline to apply is March 4. Prior experience with songwriting is helpful but not required.

PJ Morton was born in New Orleans, and is the son of the gospel singer Bishop Paul S. Morton and Debra Brown Morton. Since 2010, he has been a member of Maroon 5, providing keyboards and vocals for the band’s recordings and performances. He wrote and produced the song “Interested,” which appeared on India.Arie’s 2002 album “Voyage To India,” and won a 2003 Grammy for Best R&B Album.

As a solo artist, he has released three studio albums and two live albums, as well as one EP. In 2011, PJ signed with Young Money Entertainment, the label founded by Li’l Wayne and distributed by Cash Money Records. (Morton attended St. Augustine High School with Young Money President Mack Maine.) A song from Morton’s 2013 Young Money/Cash Money album, “New Orleans” – “Only One,” featuring a harmonica solo by Stevie Wonder – was nominated for a Best R&B Song Grammy in 2014.

The songwriting workshops will take place at the George and Joyce Wein Jazz & Heritage Center, the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation’s education facility in the Tremé neighborhood. Each of the three workshops will last for two and a half hours.

Session 1 (March 26): Fundamentals of Songwriting. Analysis of song structure (lyrics, melody, verse, chorus, bridge). Song arrangement (rhythm, beats, instrumentation). Documenting a song (notation, recording). Students will work in groups under PJ’s guidance to develop a draft of a new, original song.

Session 2 (April 2): Polishing a Song. Review song structure. Students perform first drafts and receive critiques/comments. Students continue working in groups to complete first drafts. 

Session 3 (May 21): Arranging a Song for Recording. Elements of song arrangements (tempo, groove, feel; instrumentation; harmonies and background vocal parts). Students demonstrate finished songs.

At the end of the third session, students will vote on which of the songs created during the workshops should be produced into a recording – a project for future workshops at the Jazz & Heritage Center.

Questions? Contact the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation by calling (504) 558-6103, or by sending an email to programs@jazzandheritage.org.

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The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.