The Songbook Academy™


The Songbook Academy™ is a celebration of the Golden Age of American Popular music. This program is the only high school intensive in the U.S. dedicated solely to the music from Broadway, Hollywood musicals and the Tin Pan Alley era of the early to mid-twentieth century (1920s – 1960s). The songwriters of the Great American Songbook translated positive values and an optimistic spirit into the soundtrack of American life. These values are as true and applicable today as they ever have been.

This program seeks to foster young artists who have an interest in the American Songbook, which includes the music of classic Broadway, jazz standards, and popular music. Students have the opportunity to participate in workshops and master classes on a variety of topics with educators from top University music and theatre programs in the country, as well as Grammy award-winning singers, musical directors, and performers.


High school students who are U.S. residents and live in the continental United States are invited to submit audio recordings of two contrasting songs from the Great American Songbook genre. See FAQs for Great American Songbook resources. Applications are judged by a panel of music educators and industry professionals, who will provide written feedback to every applicant. Approximately forty students will be invited to attend the Songbook Academy™ week in Carmel, IN, where they will be mentored and further evaluated.

The Songbook Academy™ will take place at the Songbook Foundation’s headquarters in Carmel, IN, July 17-23, 2016. Students will participate in a seven-day academy on interpreting and performing the music of the Great American Songbook. Five-time Grammy nominee, Michael Feinstein, and other top music industry professionals and educators will conduct workshops and master classes throughout the week. The final competition performance will be held in the 1,600 seat Palladium Concert Hall at the Center for the Performing Arts.



Workshops and master classes with world-class mentors, including Broadway veterans, Grammy winners, Emmy winners, and educators from the country’s top college arts programs. Past workshop topics have included vocal technique and vocal health; phrasing from lyrics; song interpretation; stage presence; improvisation; the Business End of the Entertainment Business; Songbook 101; Image Day; and auditioning for college arts programs.

Perform on the stage of the state-of-the art, acoustically perfect,
Palladium Concert Hall to an audience of over 1,000 people. Perform for world-class mentors and receive their feedback and advice. Multiple opportunities to perform for audiences during Songbook Academy week. Opportunities to participate and perform in regional Songbook events.

Meet other young artists who share your passion for performing. Build a network of professional and University contacts. Join the Songbook Academy™ Alumni network to stay connected to your Songbook peers and mentors and receive opportunities to learn about college programs; auditions; arts programs; scholarship information; access to professional network of contacts; and invitations to participate in regional Songbook events.



All Songbook Academy™ participants will receive:

• Songbook Scholar recognition
• College recommendation letter from the Songbook Foundation
• Letter recognizing the achievement of each Songbook Scholar sent to their high school
• Membership in Songbook Academy alumni network

All Songbook Academy™ participants will be eligible for the following awards:

Great American Songbook Youth Ambassador Award will receive the chance of a lifetime: the opportunity to perform with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein. The Ambassador will receive one professionally written musical arrangement. The Youth Ambassador will serve for one year and will have opportunities to perform throughout the year. Performance opportunities for previous Songbook Ambassadors have included the following appearances:

• Michael Feinstein's performances throughout the country
• The Great American Songbook Hall of Fame Gala – with Barry Manilow, Liza Minnelli, Johnny Mathis, Jimmy Webb, for example
• Singing the national Anthem at NFL game
• The Pasadena Pops
• Birdland Jazz Club
• The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
• Feinstein's/54 Below (upcoming)
• Carnegie Hall's Zankel Hall (upcoming)

The Songbook Inspiration Award recipient will receive a performance opportunity with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, to be coordinated by the Songbook Foundation. 

The Songbook Celebration Award recipient will receive a performance opportunity with two-time Emmy and five-time Grammy Award nominated entertainer and founder of the Songbook Foundation, Michael Feinstein, to be coordinated by the Songbook Foundation.

Mentor Recognition Awards – achievement awards presented by Academy mentors

How to Apply:

6 Easy Steps to Apply:

1. Visit to read official Program Guidelines and FAQs
2. Click Application Button
3. Register and complete online application
4. Upload color photo
5. Upload recordings of two songs (MP3, MP4 or .wav formats accepted). No Video
6. Submit application fee: $50.00

The 2016 application deadline will be announced soon!

All applicants will be notified via email (2016 notification date TBA).

If selected to participate in the program, a program fee of $600.00 will be due 
(2016 notification date TBA).

The program fee includes:

• Cost of supervised accommodations in a Butler University residence hall;
• All meals on and off campus;
• Transportation for the week; and
• Participation in all workshops, master classes, mentor sessions and social activities throughout week

The program fee does not include travel expenses to and from Carmel, IN, for the Songbook Academy week.

*Limited funds for need-based financial assistance toward the Program Fee may be available. See
FAQs for more information.

For questions, students can reach Songbook Foundation staff at 317-844-9446 or by email at

Examples of Great American Songbook songwriters: [Please note: these are only a few examples of the many appropriate composers. See FAQs for links to other resources.]

Harold Arlen * Irving Berlin * Johnny Burke * Sammy Cahn * Hoagy Carmichael * Vernon Duke * Duke Ellington * George and Ira Gershwin * Gus Kahn *Jerome Kern * Burton Lane * Frank Loesser * Lerner and Loewe * Hugh Martin * Johnny Mercer * Cole Porter * Rodgers and Hart * Rodgers and Hammerstein * Arthur Schwartz * Jule Styne * Jimmy Van Heusen * Fats Waller * Harry Warren * Vincent Youmans * and many other composers from this era.

For questions about song selection, feel free to contact us at:


Please read Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), click HERE.

Please read and accept the Program Guidelines of the Songbook Academy™, click 

The application for 2015 is now closed.

For questions about the application or Songbook Academy™, please contact Chris Lewis, Director of Programs, at or 317-844-9446.