VANCLEAVE, MS (WLOX) - The kickoff party for the Mississippi Songwriters festival is Thursday night in Oceans Springs, but songwriters spent the morning developing the next generation of melody makers.
For the past six years the festival has showcased talents of songwriters of all levels — people who write as a hobby, to those who have hit songs playing on the radio.
One aspect of the festival is supporting music education, and teaching children how they can tell their stories through a song.
"These kid's minds are wide open and that is our future," said Tennessee singer/songwriter Karen Reynolds. "How they communicate ideas. The creativity and the art I believe that will come out of these students I believe is going to change the world."
Reynolds told fifth graders at Vancleave Upper Elementary THAT whatever they can think about, they can write a song about.
"I learned how when you write songs you build up the confidence," said Kenley Steward."If you feel like anything in your mind, anything, you write it down on a piece of paper and write a song about it."
Once sparking the kid's interest in writing songs, the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance will help foster their talents through an ongoing partnership with the school.
"We're looking for the youth to come up. We might be talking to the next really great songwriter," said Dan Westphall of the Mississippi Songwriters Alliance. "Some of the next best songs ever to be heard, we might be talking to the writers now. Just waiting for them to develop and find that inspiration."
Reynolds added, "Anything that we really want to have is worth working hard for. Sometimes their self esteem and believing in themselves takes a beating. I think it's extremely important for them to understand how worthy they are and how important they are."
The Mississippi Songwriters Alliance donated two ukuleles and as well as instructional materials to the school.