Summer Songwriting at the Central Counties Youth Center

Summer Songwriting at CCYC will take place over several sessions throughout the summer at the Central Counties Youth Center, our region’s youth detention center. Developed in collaboration with CCYC, Summer Songwriting fills a gap in the Center’s summer programming and addresses an area of interest—songwriting—that many CCYC residents have expressed.


Over the course of multiple sessions, by mining current events, literature, and their own life experiences, youth will have the opportunity to tell stories related to issues that interest them, stories that they think should be shared with others—through song.  As a songwriter, teaching artist Eric Ian Farmer will model his own methods for writing songs for the youth to use to write or co-write (with him) their own. Singing, playing an instrument, and performing will not be required although they will be encouraged.  However, writing lyrics, the story behind the lyrics, plus providing guidance for melody and accompaniment would be expected, all of which can be done by someone with little or no experience in music performance. Farmer’s teaching style is mainly dialogic—he foregrounds talking with young people, both as a group and one-on-one, about ideas as a way to encourage learning, connectedness, and expression. Ultimately, the program's goals, in Farmer's words, are "more understanding, and more peace. More understanding and peace within oneself, and more understanding and peace socially."

Notes Farmer: “The arts can help us to make sense of, respond to, and grow from what happens in this world.  And the arts can help us to connect with other people going through those same processes.  The art of songwriting – sharing stories, hopes, and emotions through song – has been of great benefit to my own journey, and I look forward to an opportunity to engage local youth in this art.”