Student Songwriting Workshop

Chicago Voices Student Songwriting Workshop

The Chicago Voices team is in search of the next generation of aspiring songwriters! Motivated students, grades 9-12, have been selected to participate in the Chicago Voices Student Songwriting Workshop – a free, week-long intensive songwriting workshop, culminating with recording time in a professional studio.

This small, selective group of high school students is receiving one-on-one instruction from professional teaching artists with extensive songwriting backgrounds in a variety of styles and genres. Participants hone their songwriting skills, while strengthening vocal technique and performance artistry.

By the end of the workshop, each participant will have written and recorded an original song. Participants will receive an electronic copy of their work, which will also be featured on the Chicago Voices website.

Program Details


Monday, June 26, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
Tuesday, June 27, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
Wednesday, June 28, 9:00 AM -12:00 PM
Thursday, June 29, 9:00 AM -2:00 PM – afternoon includes tour of recording studio
Friday, June 30, 9:00 AM -5:00PM – individual recording sessions


All classes will be held at:
Lyric Opera of Chicago
20 N Wacker Dr
Chicago, IL 60606

Recording session time will be held at:
Mix Kitchen Recording Studio
610 N Fairbanks Ct
Chicago, IL 60611


The workshop will be led by two Chicago-based songwriters who have a wealth of experience creating music in a variety of styles and genres: Mike Przygoda and Megan Elk. You can learn more about Mike and Megan here.

Costs and Expenses

This program is offered completely free of charge to all participants through the generous support of Lyric Opera’s philanthropic community. Participants will be required to provide their own instruments (except pianos, which will be provided by Lyric) and any personal materials needed for note taking or sketching ideas (notepads, mobile phones, personal computers, etc.).

Participants will be responsible for travel to and from the workshop.

If I’m under 18, do I have to have parental consent to apply and participate?

Yes, your parent or guardian should know you are applying to the program. Parent or guardian consent will be required to participate in the program, should you be selected for the workshop.

When do I find out whether or not I will be in the workshop?

Selected participants will be notified in early April 2017.

How many participants will be selected?

This workshop is designed to be a small group experience so that each participant can get individualized attention. As many as 12 participants will be selected.

You do NOT need the following in order to participate:

●Any formal training or experience with songwriting 

●Classical, or formal, music training or schooling

●The ability to read or write musical notation

●Completed songs – fragments or ideas for songs is adequate for this workshop

●To have professionally recorded your own music

●To play an instrument

Will I get to keep a recording of my song and who will own the rights to the product I create?

Each participant will receive an electronic copy of their song to keep and share.

Each participant will own the rights to the music they produce and record in the workshop. However, you will be required to authorize Lyric, and the teaching artists, to use the music and recordings for promotional and educational purposes as it relates to the Chicago Voices initiative.

What are the Application Requirements?

View a detailed breakdown of the 2017 Chicago Voices Student Songwriting Workshop Application Requirements.

Additional questions or technical issues?

If you are experiencing technical issues with the website, application process, or if you have additional questions about this program, please contact Chicago Voices via email at

Teaching Artists

Megan Elk

Megan Elk is a performer, composer, and vocal coach from Pittsburgh, PA. Following a BA in Theatre at The University of Akron, Ms. Elk joined the internationally acclaimed New World Performance Laboratory. As ensemble member and resident composer of the group, she toured devised performances and facilitated voice and movement workshops throughout Europe and the United States. Most recently Ms. Elk was commissioned by Lyric Opera of Chicago to compose music for the Chicago Voices Community Created Performance Project in collaboration with Tellin' Tales Theatre. Her 2014 album of original cabaret songs, Miss Alexandra Huntingdon: LIVE at Survival Kit, garnered much critical acclaim and earned her the distinction of Best Singer and Best Musician 2015 (Cleveland Scene Magazine). She is a recipient of the Kennedy Center ACTF Award for Meritorious Achievement in Music Composition, The Gene Kelly Award for Excellence in Musical Theatre, and well as numerous awards from the National Association of Teachers of Singing. For more information, please visit:


Mike Przygoda

Mike Przygoda is a composer and multi-instrumentalist from Chicago. He has written music for live theatre, dance, films, and pop bands as well as the occasional chamber work and orchestral or big band jazz arrangement. Composing and arranging credits include Lyric Opera's Chicago Voices, The Lira Ensemble, and Ailey Camp. Music direction credits include Goodman Theatre, The Second City Touring Company, and Strawdog Theatre. By day, he works in the dance department at the Chicago High School for The Arts. By night he produces recording sessions for local artists and performs with bands in a variety of styles across the city, as well as occasionally touring.  He earned a Jeff Award for Artistic Specialization in Percussion. For more information, please visit:


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Chicago Voices is made possible by major support from J. Thomas Hurvis and Parent Power Chicago, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. This project is partially supported by The Chicago Community Trust, an IncentOvate Grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events, and the Eisen Family Foundation.

Lyric Unlimited was launched with major catalyst funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and receives major support from the Caerus Foundation, Inc.