Can a song change a life? 

What if it was Your song, your WORDS?

The Irving Caesar "Lyric Project", seeded by money from the ASCAP Foundation, provides hundreds of inner city teens, ages 15 to 18, an outlet for expression through the art of song writing. For some the joy is finding a new talent that connects them to their music idols, for others the connection is deeper as they attempt to make sense out of the senseless. Lyric Project classes are held in detention centers, Los Angeles County high schools and after school programs.

girl writing lyricStudents begin by exploring contemporary and musical theater song structures. Under the guidance of the instructor they work with hands-on, interactive questionnaires, brainstorming charts, and sample lyrics to transform intimate moments and personal experiences from their lives into well-crafted lyrics. sari 2 boys lyricOnce the lyrics are completed the teacher goes through them and submits a group of the lyrics to a review panel from the Skylight Theatre and ASCAP; the panel identifies fifteen to twenty of the lyrics to be set to music.

The new lyricists work with established professional composer/songwriters to set their words to music. They learn how key, style, and rhythm enhance their text and how their lyrics powerfully direct the development of each component. In recognition of their status as emerging music professionals, an ASCAP professional introduces them to the business of songwriting. Finally, professional singers perform the new songs in unique concert enhanced with dance and video interviews celebrating not only the teen's songs, but their lives.

ASCAP FoundationThe Lyric Project is filmed documentary-style, beginning with the initial workshop conversations through the final performance presentation.

Watch VIDEO

LYRIC PROJECT, Skylight Theatre (video)

When I walked into Probation Camp Paige to conduct the lyric-writing classes for Skylight Theatre, I wasn’t sure if the participants would be receptive.  What followed had a profound effect on me and speaks volumes to the power of expression through the arts and the stories that need to be told.                                                                                      - Sari Rose Barron 
read the complete letter