The Songbook Academy®

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The Songbook Academy® is a summer music intensive for young singers who have an interest in the American Songbook. Students who love the music of classic Broadway shows, jazz, and popular music have the life-changing opportunity to work with music industry pros, award winning singers and performers, and educators from the top University music and theatre programs in the country.

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).


High school students who are U.S. residents and live in the fifty continental United States are invited to submit video links to performances of two contrasting songs from the Great American Songbook genre (see FAQs for Great American Songbook resources). Audition submissions are evaluated 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 21-28, 2018. 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.

Click HERE to see what past finalists, mentors, and parents are saying about the Songbook Academy.


Perform on the stage of the state-of-the art, acoustically perfect, Palladium Concert Hall for an audience of over 1,000 people. Share your musical gifts with 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.

HERE for an inside look at the Songbook Academy.


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.

HERE to see photos from the 2017 Songbook Academy.


All Songbook Academy® participants will receive:

• Songbook Fellow recognition
• College recommendation letter from the Songbook Foundation
• Letter recognizing the achievement of each Songbook Fellow 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:

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.

Outstanding Achievement Awards will be presented for excellence in a variety of categories.


1. Read official Program Guidelines and FAQs
2. Click Apply Now at the bottom of this page (beginning November 15)
3. Register and complete online application via Acceptd
4. Submit the non-refundable $80.00 assessment fee via Acceptd


All applicants will be notified of the status of their application via the Acceptd platform on or before May 15, 2018.

If selected to participate in the program, a program fee of $800.00 will be due on or before June 1, 2018

The program fee includes:

• Cost of supervised accommodations in a Butler University residence hall;
• All meals on and off campus;
• Commercial 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.




Examples of Great American Songbook songwriters:

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 * Richard Whiting * and many other composers from this era. 

Please note: these are only a few examples of the many appropriate composers. See our FAQs for links to other resources.

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