2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference 2022 Colorado Music Educators Association Conference

The ABC’s of Songwriting Activism: Art + Blues + Compassion = Change

- MST
Broadmoor Hall A

Tara Neeley
Graland Country Day School, Music educator

Tara Neeley has been a PreK-12 music educator for 14 years. She currently teaches at Graland Country Day School in Denver, Colorado where she also serves as the visual and performing arts department chair. As Graland's Borgen Faculty Fellow, she completed her Master’s in Music Education at UNC, and is currently pursuing her PhD in music education at CU Boulder. Tara is a member of NAfME, APME, and AOSA, where she serves as Secretary on the board of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of AOSA. She previously presented at the 2021 CMEA conference.


Do you want to create more opportunities for the intersection of activism and active music-making in your classroom? Songwriting can be tricky, but provides rewarding musical experiences and a platform for student agency and activism. Come learn how the blues genre and visual art combine to provide a perfect initial journey for student activist songwriting that is accessible and successful. Participants will leave our session ready to build a blues unit where students own the entire songwriting process. Not only will they write and sing the lyrics, but they will also play recorder, ukulele, and barred instruments, while exploring important music concepts like form, theory, harmony, and music history. We will also discuss songwriting tips and tricks, plus quality resources for introducing a blues unit to your students. Bring a recorder and ukulele to join in our songwriting!

Looking to dive deeper into the content of the session? Check out these supporting materials: