Randy Peterson's Artist In Residence Song Writing Program

An exciting, fun and musical way for elementary school students to apply their writing skills!


"Randy, this week was absolutely incredible and I just don't know if there is any way to tell you thank you enough. Your enthusiasm, creativity, patience and professionalism(I could go on forever) was beyond what I could have imagined. And thank you so very much for making the concert finale one to remember." -Ginger L. Snyder, Elementary Music Specialist, Martin and Beaumont Elementary Schools, Green Bay, WI 4/26/13


What is it about? My artist in residence program involves students in a combination of creative writing and musical performance. It begins by applying their writing skills to the creation of song lyrics, and ends with the students performing the songs and recording a school CD.

Students take active part in the writing and revision of the completed songs. Also, since the topics of the songs can be about anything you wish, it is an excellent way to create songs you can use for many years to teach a lesson or demonstrate good behavior.  My artist in residence program is a fast-paced, inspiring, and FUN process that leaves the students proud of what they have accomplished.

What ages is it for? All grade levels are usually included in the residency, but it can be with just one grade if you prefer. The songs we write and the details of the process are all made age-appropriate.


How long does it last? The program normally runs five days for a school of 300-450 students. In a smaller school it can be accomplished in three days. Larger schools may choose to go with a seven or eight day residency.

I also offer a one-day version of my residency in which each grade meets with me for an hour and writes a verse of a song. We also practice it and record it during that hour. At the end of the day we have two complete songs written and recorded by the students. We can then sing them all together at the end of the day, plus you have a recording to keep forever!

I am happy to answer questions or go over the options for your school. Contact me by calling 920 469-9710 or e-mailing me at randypeterson100@gmail.com


How does it work? (This explanation is for residencies lasting longer than one day)  Prior to my arrival, the student body would be divided into 6-11 groups. I will met with each group three times. The goal of each of the groups is to create their own song which they will write, rehearse, perform and record. I like to begin the residency with an all-school assembly kick-off, where I can introduce the students to what lies ahead, and also perform a few of my songs.

I then begin meeting with individual groups. During the first session, usually an hour long, the song is written. The subject matter for the songs can be left up to the student's imaginations, or it could go with a year-long theme such as being respectful, responsible and safe. The song is written using the student's ideas and words. Throughout the residency, I strive to make the song the student's creation so they will feel ownership of the songs.

As soon as a topic is chosen, thought begins as to what the song should sound like. Students give their input as to whether the song would sound best as rock and roll accompanied by electric guitar, a calypso with acoustic guitar, bluegrass accompanied by banjo, or somewhere in between. Once again, the song's musical direction is the student's decision.

During the second session, usually running 30-45 minutes, we look back at the song and make revisions if necessary. Then rehearsal begins on the new creation. In this session I also demonstrate a banjo, mandolin, bass and electric guitar, showing how each makes their own distinctive sound. The main focus is still on the song, however and during this session is where we really fine-tune it. 

During the third session, again 30-45 minutes, the students get a sample of what it takes to make a professional recording in my portable recording studio. The students perform their new song and I accompany them on guitar. It is recorded to make a school album containing all of their original songs. If you wish, this CD can be made available for students families to purchase. Sometimes the sales can be used as a fundraiser. I am happy to provide details about this.

The week culminates in a performance by the students and I, done as an all-school assembly or a concert program for parents.


This was a quick overview of my song writing artist in residence program. If you have ANY questions about how it could work in your own school, feel free to contact me at 920 469-9710 or e-mail me at randypeterson100@gmail.com

"Randy-I've been teaching for 25 years and this was the BEST PTA sponsored event ever! You were fantastic! Thanks for making the week so special for the whole school! -Kim Turner, Bellevue Elementary School, Bellevue, NE

"Thank you to Randy Peterson! In three years here, I feel he was the best investment our PTO has made. It was great to see students and staff so excited about such an educational experience. I hope to hear CD's blaring in classrooms in the weeks to come." -Corrie Lambie, Principal, Garfield Elementary School, Marinette, WI


The price for my residency program varies according to how many days the residency lasts plus the mileage and lodging involved. Contact me for a quote for your school.

Randy Peterson's telephone: 920 469-9710    

Randy Peterson's e-mail:  randypeterson100@gmail.com