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Applications open for Songbook Academy 2024

11/21/2023 12AM

Songbook Academy 2023 finalists rehearse for a group performance at the Palladium at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. (Wayne Images)

National music intensive connects teens with professional mentors


CARMEL, Ind. – High school students with interests in singing and performance are invited to apply for the 15th annual Songbook Academy®, a transformative, weeklong summer intensive that immerses participants in America’s musical heritage and helps them develop as artists under the guidance of Broadway stars and other experienced performers and music educators.

Presented by the Great American Songbook Foundation and its founder, performer and preservationist Michael Feinstein, the program helps young singers hone their vocal and performance skills with an emphasis on song interpretation. With direction from top-tier mentors and a focus on the Great American Songbook as a crucial foundation for any career in music, the Songbook Academy enables students to explore musical styles and take risks in a supportive pre-professional environment.


“I can’t think of anything more important than to have a safe space to be able to try things,” said Broadway star Liz Callaway, who served as a Guest Mentor for Songbook Academy 2023. “In an atmosphere like this, you get to try things and you get to be yourself, and you get to be with people who are after the same thing you are, and the community is wonderful. Boy, if I was their age, I would have loved to be here.”


Songbook Academy 2024 will take place July 13-20 at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana. Applications will be accepted through March 24, and the 40 selected finalists will be notified in April. Every applicant, regardless of acceptance status, will receive feedback from a national screening panel of music educators and entertainment industry professionals.

Highlights of the program include:

  • Personalized mentorship from industry professionals
  • Performing in state-of-the-art concert facilities
  • Developing a strong knowledge base in American popular music
  • Building lifelong connections in an inclusive musical environment
  • Gaining confidence as singers and storytellers


The Songbook Academy is widely known for its top-notch faculty of coaches and mentors from prestigious university music programs and every corner of the performance industry. Guest Mentors in previous years have included stage and screen stars Ashley Park (Only Murders in the Building, Emily in Paris, Mean Girls), Ali Stroker (Oklahoma!, Ozark, Echoes) and Solea Pfeiffer (Hadestown, A Jazzman's Blues, Almost Famous); Broadway notables Andréa Burns (In the Heights, West Side Story, Up Here), Telly Leung (Aladdin, Godspell, TV’s Glee), James T. Lane (Chicago, Kiss Me Kate) and Nasia Thomas (Six, Ain't Too Proud, Beautiful); and acclaimed vocalists Jane Monheit, Nicole Henry, Catherine Russell and Melissa Manchester.

Alumni of the Songbook Academy include Maddie Baillio, seen in NBC’s Hairspray (as Tracy), Netflix’s Dumplin’, and Amazon’s Cinderella; Kyrie Courter, now performing in Sweeney Todd on Broadway; singer-songwriter Eleri Ward; Adriana Scalice (National Tour of Six); and Nina White, currently originating a role in Kimberly Akimbo on Broadway.


How to apply


The Songbook Academy is open to active students in grades 9-12 as of Nov. 15, 2023, who live in the United States. Applications must be submitted online by March 24 at Applicants must submit videos of themselves performing two contrasting songs, preferably American popular songs written from the 1920s to the 1960s, a foundational era that produced some of the most influential jazz standards and Broadway and Hollywood hits of all time.


The application fee has been lowered this year to just $50. For those accepted to attend, the $1,000 program fee includes housing at Butler University, meals, and ground transportation throughout the week. Fee waivers and financial aid, including full scholarships, are available.


More details and application information are available at or by email at


The Songbook Academy is made possible in part by generous support from its National Program Partner, the Efroymson Family Fund.


About the Great American Songbook Foundation

The mission of the Great American Songbook Foundation, founded in 2007 by five-time Grammy® Award nominee Michael Feinstein, is to inspire and educate by celebrating the timeless standards of pop, jazz, Broadway and Hollywood. Headquartered at the Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, the Foundation advances this rich musical legacy by curating a vast Library & Archives of items representing its creators, performers and publishers; operating a multimedia exhibit gallery; overseeing the Songbook Hall of Fame; offering programs for the public and research opportunities for scholars and artists; and providing educational opportunities for student musicians, including the annual Songbook Academy® summer intensive. The Foundation is a Cultural Affiliate of the Los Angeles-based Grammy Museum®. More information is available at