How This Unique Music Program Changed the Lives of Three Students

Music careers are in these students’ futures!

Sponsored By The Great American Songbook Foundation
Songbook Academy Changing LIves

“When you know the notes to sing, you can sing most anything.” —The Sound of Music 

The words in this Julie Andrews song definitely hold true. Music is a powerful tool that builds a strong foundation for the future—and not just a future in music. According to the National Association for Music Education, music can help improve SAT scores, promote creative thinking, teach discipline, memorization, and so much more.

For students who are naturally drawn to music, it’s important to encourage this interest. One way to do that is through special camps or programs that bring music students together. The Songbook Academy is one such program that is a summer intensive music camp located in Carmel, Indiana. Take a look at the impact this program made on these three students.

Finn Sagal learned music can actually be a profession.

When Finn Sagal got accepted into The Songbook Academy, he wasn’t sure what to expect. He knew he was interested in music as a profession, but he really wasn’t sure if working in music was possible.

“A career in music always just seemed like a fantasy,” he says.

While performance is definitely an area The Songbook Academy emphasizes, the camp also helps students to see and understand all types of careers in music and the qualities needed to pursue and be successful in them. Students work with professional singers, industry pros, and educators from universities all over the country to get a glimpse of what a career in music could look like.

“They teach you more than just singing and performance,” Finn says. “I learned that a musician needs to be easy to work with, supportive, coachable, flexible, dynamic, and genuine. These are traits that I will take with me and always try to emphasize in my professional future.”

During the week at The Academy, staff tries to encourage students to explore different avenues of music so they can find out what they love most. Finn plans to become a professional singer, but first he’ll start with college. And he can’t wait to see where his career takes him.

“There’s no doubt they gave me the confidence I needed to truly pursue what I love,” Finn says. “Now I know this career is possible.”

Katie Swaney found her tribe (aka her people).

When Katie went to The Songbook Academy the summer before her senior year, she was thrilled to finally find other students just like her.

“It was one of the first times I was in an environment with so many people who had the same passions as me and who loved to make music as much as I did.”

Anyone who has enjoyed a hobby can identify with this. Finding people to just talk or relate to can make a big difference in encouraging and growing that passion.

Even though the academy was only seven days, Katie says the intense experience left her with a ton of information and lifelong friends. “I finished the week with an even greater love of music than I did when I started—and I didn’t think that was possible.”

After the academy, Katie knew for sure that she wanted to go to college for performing arts. Now, she is pursuing a BFA in musical theatre at Indiana University. She plans to move to New York City or Chicago after school and begin auditioning.

“The academy gave me the confidence,” she says. “And there’s no other place I would’ve found this community.”

Joseph Silva discovered he actually likes jazz!

Not all students are familiar with genres such as Broadway or important time periods such as the Tin Pan Alley era.

This program is unique because it focuses on the golden age of American popular music. During their weeklong stay, students focus on learning music written between the 1920s and 1960s. Like Joseph, many students will learn about entirely new genres when they attend the camp.

“I never thought I would sing jazz and older music, but now I love it,” says Joseph Silva.

Along with about 40 other students, Joseph immersed himself in this golden age music during his summer program. He said it really gave him a new perspective and appreciation for a different kind of music.

“I know they made a difference in how I view and care about music,” he says. “I aspire to be a singer/songwriter in the future. I want people to enjoy my music.”

The Songbook Academy is now open to applicants. High school students who are U.S. legal residents living in the continental United States are invited to apply. Learn more about their next season and get tips for applying here.

Take a closer look at Kate’s story and why she recommends The Songbook Academy to others …