Featured Blog Posts (139)

Creative Immersions Launch - Bringing real world music experience to YOUR school

Remember our Songwriter Series featured writer Elizabeth Eckert? (you can check out our last interview with her here).  Well, we're excited about a new program she's just launched which brings her original songs to high school students throughout the country.  Creative Immersions (…


Added by Elizabeth Eckert on June 23, 2014 at 9:30am — 1 Comment

THE UNCONVENTIONAL: Finding Yourself Through Taking a Risk

I'm sitting here in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, getting ready to go check out the studio where we will be recording the winning song from the songwriting contest, on a beautiful spring day. (although my day started with me saying to my 2-year-old, "Cream cheese is NOT PAINT.")

Actually that's the perfect segue to the…


Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on May 22, 2014 at 9:17am — 3 Comments

Meet Andzaur

Fourteen-year-old Andzaur only travels to school every Thursday—if he is lucky.  Since his father is an invalid, Andzaur bears the weight of responsibility for caring for his family out in the village.   But in his fleeting moments of escape he devotes himself to music. 

On the recording day, Andzaur wearily entered the recital hall, supporting his accordion with both arms extended perpendicular to the floor, as a school kid might support a stack of…


Added by Hannah Schneider on May 24, 2014 at 9:30pm — No Comments

Music from the Greater Caucasus Mountains

What sorts of musicians and music emerge in the mysterious Greater Caucasus Mountains? 

The peaks of this range pierce the horizon from the Black Sea to the Caspian Sea, dwarfing those of the Alps. Like the spires of Babel, they signal an explosion of a panoply of languages, peoples,…


Added by Hannah Schneider on May 4, 2014 at 10:00pm — No Comments

Communal Title: Born Beautiful, Part 2


I am LOVING everyone's posts, songs, comments, videos, participation, etc etc lately! It makes my heart SING and I know that is cheesy but I do not even CARE.

I hope that if you haven't yet, you each take part in the songwriting activities we have specially crafted for you on the site. And that each of you is considering entering our songwriting…


Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on April 29, 2014 at 9:20pm — 2 Comments

Visual Inspiration

Visual Inspiration: Use your own image or the images below as your inspiration for a song.…


Added by Carnegie Hall on April 22, 2014 at 3:30pm — 68 Comments

Get into the Groove

Get into the Groove: Base a song or musical idea on a groove or ostinato.

A groove or ostinato can be a rhythmic pattern, a bass line, a chord progression, or all those things put together.  Check out these detailed definitions on Wikipedia for more info on groove and …


Added by Carnegie Hall on April 14, 2014 at 4:50pm — 65 Comments

Songwriting Exchange: The Art of Limits

The Art of Limits: write a song based on the 4-chord progression I - V - vi - IV.

How to Respond

Write a musical phrase or song using the…


Added by Carnegie Hall on April 2, 2014 at 4:00pm — 90 Comments

If At First You Don't Succeed, Throw It In The Boneyard

I'm fresh back from 4 days of writing and recording with a new band in Detroit and I wanted to share a little nugget of knowledge that surfaced while I was in the midst of collaborating with a frustrated bunch of writers.  You know what is a very powerful tool to have? The ability to throw something away and start again fresh.  Why? Am I telling you to give up? NO! I'm telling you that not all your ideas are good.  That's all. Some are just stepping stones to something better,…


Added by Mike Viola on March 23, 2014 at 6:55pm — No Comments

Communal Title

Communal title: Write a musical phrase or song with a title written by one of your peers.



Added by Carnegie Hall on March 12, 2014 at 2:00pm — 73 Comments


Hello, Musical Exchangers! (or "MXers" as I like to call you)

It's been really fun reading everyone's title brainstorms from the What's in a Title activity. If you haven't done it yet, go give it a try-it's literally a 3-minute exercise!

In the exercise everyone was asked to jot down song titles for 3 minutes, without stopping to judge them. There have been some…


Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on March 9, 2014 at 8:00pm — 5 Comments

What's in a Title?

What's in a title? Write down short phrases that come into your head.

How to Respond

  • Set a timer for 3 minutes. Write 10 titles without thinking too much about it or being judgmental. Just write down whatever short phrases come into your head. The time crunch tends to make your inner critic get out of the way.
  • As an alternative, free write for 3 minutes. Circle words or phrases that jump…

Added by Carnegie Hall on February 25, 2014 at 5:30pm — 149 Comments

Arranging Ellington: Interview with Anthony Wilson

Dear Arranging Ellington participants: it's now Deadline Day (December 15)! That means you have until the end of today to submit your arrangement. Make sure you get it in under the wire!


It's also time for another interview. Today's…


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 15, 2013 at 2:00am — No Comments

Arranging Ellington: Interview with Bill Dobbins

Attention Arranging Ellington participants: the December 15 deadline to submit your arrangements is almost upon us. If you have any questions, please ask them in the …


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 14, 2013 at 2:30am — No Comments

Arranging Ellington: Interview with Terry Teachout

A reminder to Arranging Ellington participants that you have until December 15 to submit your arrangements. Until then, I'll be monitoring the …


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 13, 2013 at 12:30pm — No Comments

Arranging Ellington: Interview with Steve Little

Greetings, all. Our deadline for Arranging Ellington submissions has passed, making a lovely whooshing sound as it flew by. As we draw to a close, I'd like to extend my deepest thanks to all of those who submitted, and to everyone who participated in this conversation. It has been a tremendously inspiring experience for me to immerse myself even more deeply into the world of a composer who means so much to me, and a genuine pleasure to share my love of Ellington's music with all of you. I…


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 16, 2013 at 6:00am — No Comments

Arranging Ellington: Look to the Source — "Almighty God"

Attention arrangers: the submission deadline for the Arranging Ellington project is rapidly drawing near! There is nothing quite like a deadline to get the creative juices flowing a bit more vigorously — as Duke was fond of saying, "Without a deadline, baby, I wouldn't do nothing!"

So, you have until December 15 to submit your arrangement of "Come Sunday" or…


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 11, 2013 at 12:30pm — 1 Comment

Arranging Ellington: Look to the Source — "Come Sunday"

I'd like to continue my series of Arranging Ellington posts by zeroing in on the two compositions you are invited to arrange — "Come Sunday" and "Almighty God." As you know, the deadline for submission (December 15!) is rapidly approaching, so by this point I hope you've done some of the recommended…


Added by Darcy James Argue on December 5, 2013 at 6:00am — 4 Comments


Sometimes when I'm stuck in my songwriting, I do something very simple: I take the melody I'm working with and try it with both major and minor tonal centers underneath.

For example: in the below video I take a piece of the folk song "Shenandoah", which is traditionally in a major key. Just to shake things up, I try it using the relative minor.

If your song is in C Major, try it in A Minor. If your song is in D Minor, try it in F Major. And so…


Added by Deidre Rodman Struck on November 25, 2013 at 10:00pm — 2 Comments


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About Musical Exchange

Connect with other young musicians (ages 13 and up), share your performances and compositions, and join creative projects led by professional artists from Carnegie Hall.





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