This week the National Endowment for the Arts posted the final recordings of works created for the NEA Musical Theater Songwriting Challenge. Last Spring, six works by seven high school students were chosen as winners of the competition.
The subjects of their works were: mermaid kingdoms threatened by pirates; The American Civil War; Australia’s Great Emu War of 1932; choosing whether to attend college; Greco-Persian wars; and time travel.
The thing I really appreciated about the release of the final recordings is that the NEA also posted the original songs each person submitted alongside the final song they developed in conjunction with a mentor. This helps reinforce the reality of the process in creative process. Many of the songs have different lyrics and music by the time it came to do the professional recording.
Having the initial and final pieces side by side helps people understand the adage about genius being 98% perspiration and 2% inspiration is very much real. If the creators continue to work on these projects, in all likelihood these final recordings will turn out to actually be an intermediate step in the development process.
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