Alex Stanton by Alex Stanton  September 28, 2017 

Student Songwriters - Kids Writing and Performing Their Own Material

Have you ever wanted to write your own songs? Check out these awesome kids who are doing it!

Writing songs is one of the most fun things you can do with music. It’s a great way to take everything you’ve learned about your instrument and turn it into something that’s uniquely yours. Just like an instrument, songwriting is a thing that you can practice and get better at, whether it’s putting together more interesting chords, lyrics and melodies or just getting more comfortable assembling ideas and sounds. 

This month we’re going to take a look at a few of our young students who’ve been writing their own stuff! Check out their songs here and profiles below:

Sky Egbertsky egbert

Age: 9

Instrument(s): guitar, voice

Listen to: Dem Birds, Zoo Animals

When did you start writing songs?

“In my lessons I realized I really wanted to be a singer when I grew up... Ms. Casey asked me if I’d like to try writing my own songs. She taught me that songs can be really simple— like just “ooh, ooh ohh!”  Before I knew it we had turned that into a song about Zoo Animals.  I was so proud and wanted to do it again!”

How many songs have you written?

“I’ve written two songs, “Zoo Animals,” and “ ‘Dem Birds”  which I wrote with Mr. Ernie  I’m working on a third song right now about Elephants.”

Have you performed any of them?

“Yes! I got to play both songs on stage at Sunburst— it was SO much fun!”

Have you recorded any of them?

“”Yes, both songs.  I got to play all of the instruments and sing using a multi-track recorder with Ms. Casey”

How do you write one?

“I like to start with a character or subject that I like. Then I work on getting a good beat, and after that I figure out what instruments I can use with that beat. With Ms. Casey I used a keyboard, guitar, my feet and drumsticks.  Last year I really wanted to learn the ukulele, and started taking lessons from Mr. Ernie — so now I start new songs using the chords I’m working on in Ukulele. My song “ ‘dem birds” came from the first two ukulele chords I learned— Am and C.”

What’s your favorite thing about writing songs?

“…you get to make your own words and your own chords. I love knowing it’s my own and being able to write whatever I want. One of my favorite things ever was figure skating at a show to my song “Zoo Animals.” Everyone at the show could tell it was me singing.”


seanSean Whitney

Age: 15

Instrument(s): guitar, voice

Listen to: Better Days (Demo)

When did you start writing songs?

I started writing songs around a year ago now, but I’ve been having ideas for songs since before that. 

How many songs have you written? 

At this point I think that I’ve written around 10 songs, both on my own and collaborating with other people.

Have you performed any of them? 

 I’ve performed a few of them at Sunburst recitals and during the songwriting Main Stage, and I currently have a few gigs planned with my band to perform on our own playing some of them. 

Have you recorded any of them?

So far, I have yet to completely record any of them in their entirety, but I have begun to and have rough demos for two, with plans to fully record soon. 

How do you write one?

When writing a song, I usually start with a chord progression, often the chorus, and work backwards from there, filling in the melody and other instrument parts. 

What’s your favorite thing about writing songs?

My favorite thing about writing songs is the creativity and flexibility it gives you. You are free to do whatever you want, and it’s really freeing, and there’s also a sense of accomplishment when you finish and take a step back and think, “Wow, I did this!”


ninaNina Cranor

Age: 11

Instrument(s): guitar, voice, ukulele

Listen to: I Disappear (Demo)

When did you start writing songs?

When I was really little, probably in kindergarten, on a ukulele.

How many songs have you written?

I’ve written around eight this year. Its hard to remember how many from when I started.

Have you performed any of them?

Yes, at home for my family and also at Sunburst recording camp. I also performed a new version of one of old my songs at the Sunburst new studio grand opening celebration concert.

Have you recorded any of them?

Yes, some at camp and others at home.

What’s your favorite thing about writing songs?

That I can write songs that are as simple or as hard to play as I want. But I don’t have to write something really complex to have it sound good.


caty clarkCaty Clark

Age: 12

Instrument(s): guitar, voice

Listen to: Pirate Anthem

 when did you start writing songs?

I started writing songs when I was about 7 or 8. I am 12 now..

How many songs have you written?

Too many to count

have you performed any of them?

Yes I have performed them…mostly for my friends and family but I have performed some at Sunburst.

have you recorded any of them?

Yes…I have included a recording of the first song I ever wrote (Pirates Anthem-attached).

how do you write one?

I usually have some theme or idea that sticks in my head so I usually start with the lyrics and then create some music to back it up. I like the music to support the feel of whatever I am trying to say. When I was taking lessons with Ernie, he would help me with this a lot. Now that I am older, I basically write them myself…
what's your favorite thing about writing songs?

Conveying the thoughts in my head in a creative way…I am hoping to someday make music that moves people the way that music moves me..


Are you a young songwriter? We'd love to hear your songs!

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Sunburst School of Music

5843 Forbes Avenue, Suite 201

Pittsburgh, PA 15217