Teaching Language Arts through Lyric Writing

Words & Music for Schools

"I was 12 when I learned my first three chords on guitar and wrote my first song. My life changed forever ... Music became the way I told my stories." – Taylor Swift

  • Words & Music: Teach Language Arts through Songwriting

Words and Music from Country Music Hall of Fame on Vimeo.


Since 1979, the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum has helped students tell their stories through its innovative Words & Music program. More than 100,000 students have learned to write song lyrics while developing key skills in language arts. Not only does Words & Music teach core curriculum, but it also connects young people to Nashville’s music community, pairing classes with songwriters who transform student lyrics into finished songs that are performed in an interactive workshop. Words & Music has been featured in the LA Times, on the TODAY Show, and more.

Words & Music also provides classroom teachers with new resources, tools, and techniques that get students excited about writing. The foundation of the program is the Words & Music Teacher’s Guide, a ten-lesson unit that educators use to guide their students through a step-by-step lyric-writing process. 

The Words & Music songwriter workshop can occur in the Taylor Swift Education Center during a field trip to the museum, or it can travel to schools in Middle Tennessee. Words & Music is also available to schools far from Nashville via Distance and Virtual Learning videoconference.

If you are an educator who is teaching Words & Music, please visit our Words & Music Resource Portal. The portal provides classroom tools that supplement Words & Music instruction for synchronous and asynchronous learning, including PowerPoints for every lesson, videos that illustrate songs and songwriting topics, songwriter biographies, student worksheets, and more.

Teacher's Guide for Grades 3-6

Teacher's Guide for Grades 7-12

Songwriting 101

"The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum also offers a precursor to the Words & Music program through Songwriting 101: An Introduction to Words & Music. Songwriting 101 teaches students the basics of songwriting, including song form and vocabulary, and provides an interactive and collaborative writing experience with a professional songwriter. Songwriting 101 begins with two pre-lessons that prepare the class for their co-write session through the creation of a song outline. The pre-lessons encourage thinking about what students already know about songwriting while teaching them about the specific parts of a song. In the songwriter workshop, students learn songwriting basics, express creativity, and co-write a song with a professional writer.

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