Watch Lindsay Ell Help Fourth-Grade Students Write an Original Song During Music Class Over Zoom
Lindsay Ell is inspiring kids to make music of their own!
PEOPLE exclusively shares a video of the country star, 31, leading a songwriting workshop during a virtual classroom visit with fourth-grade music students of Mt. View Elementary in Nashville.
Ell and the CMA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Country Music Association, are helping kick off the month of March as Music in Our Schools Month.
"When I was able to throw a lesson plan together for the children of Mt. View Elementary, I was 100 percent down to do it. I asked the teachers, 'Would you think they'd be engaged? Should I give them assignments and let them write their own songs? Or should we write a song together?'" Ell recalls. "And they were like, 'I think it'd be great if we all wrote a song together.'"
In the clip, Ell tells the students that the "first step to writing a song is choosing a topic." And the kids selected lyrics about staying together while learning apart amid the coronavirus pandemic. "2020 got deep/ Millions of people were crying/ But we won't give up/ We'll keep on trying/ We will all get through this," the lyrics read as students play their own pianos from home.
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"The kids had such beautiful ideas and we wrote a song together! And some of the lyric ideas were like, 'Wow, you're in grade four and this is what you guys are thinking?' You guys are brilliant," says Ell, who later adds that "music education is everything to me."
Among the many student testimonials were comments about how music empowers them and how learning to play different instruments makes them "really happy."
"I have such a newfound respect for what teachers have been through this past year. I just thank you for doing such a great, great job because it is a difficult one," Ell says, applauding educators for continuing their work virtually amid the pandemic.
Ell serves as an Artist Ambassador of Unified Voices for Music Education (UVfME) initiative along with fellow ambassadors and artists Ashley McBryde and Jimmie Allen.
"Music education was such an important part of my childhood," Ell said in a previous statement. "Growing up I learned to lean into music as an outlet thanks to the guidance and encouragement of some truly amazing teachers. Music is an incredible connector that helps us process our emotions, which is incredibly important given the current state of the world and the weight we are all feeling. Being able to teach the power of music to students in school at an early age is a gift that I believe will serve them in so many ways for the rest of their lives. It is truly an honor to be named an Artist Ambassador for the CMA Foundation's Unified Voices for Music Education program. I am so excited to highlight the impact our amazing music teachers across this country have on students through music education, and to pay forward the gifts my teachers shared with me."
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