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Against a blue background, text in CAPS the says Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge in yellow and for high scholl students in red

THE MUSICAL THEATER SONGWRITING CHALLENGE APPLICATION DEADLINE HAS NOW PASSED. WATCH THIS PAGE FOR FURTHER UPDATES ABOUT THE LOCAL AND NATIONAL FINALISTS!

If you are a high school student from one of these three pilot communities - Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Dallas County, Texas; and Seattle and King County, Washington - the Songwriting Challenge is your chance to showcase your songwriting talents and compete for the opportunity to be one of three finalists traveling to New York City to:

  • Participate in an intensive songwriting workshop with professional musicians, singers, songwriters, and producers to learn more about songwriting and sharpen your songwriting skills;
  • Experience your original song performed by professional musicians and singers;
  • Participate in a final competition with judges from the music and musical theater industry; and
  • Win up to $5,000 in scholarship funds, a publishing contract and advance.

The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge focuses on songs that could appear in a musical. Today's musical theater features songs of all kinds and writers from different experiences, backgrounds and cultures—think of Hamilton (rap, hip-hop, R&B, pop), Jersey Boys (doo-wop, rock-n-roll), Spring Awakening (rock), Gloria Estefan's On Your Feet! (Latin, dance, pop), West Side Story (classical, jazz).

Local partners in each locale will administer the Songwriting Challenge: Perpich Center for Arts Education in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota; Big Thought in Dallas, Texas; and the Office of Arts & Culture in Seattle, Washington.

Scholarships-$5,000 for the national finalist, and $2,500 for each national runner-up- will be provided by a generous donation to the three finalists (or finalist teams) by the National Music Publishers’ Association S.O.N.G.S. Foundation (Supporting Our Next Generation of Songwriters). The national finalist’s winning song will be published by Sony/ATV.

READ THIS BEFORE YOU APPLY

  1. You can apply starting February 17, 2016. The deadline is April 4, 2016.
  2. Your song can be any style—from Broadway-style to pop or rock, from Latin to country or rap—as long as it is part of a musical theater story.
  3. It must be an original song written by you. It can be an original song specifically written for this Songwriting Challenge or an original song written a month or years ago.
  4. The song cannot have been professionally recorded or distributed.
  5. All you need is a smart phone to create an audio file of your song, and computer or tablet with internet access to submit an application.
  6. Music and lyrics can be written by the same person, or two different people. 
  7. The Songwriting Challenge is a pilot program. In its first year, the competition will take place in only three locations.  You must be from one of these locations in order to submit an application.
  8. Each pilot locale will produce one finalist (or two-person team) who will travel with a chaperone to New York City for a long weekend in July 2016.

Songwriting challenge logo with the words The Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge