Submit Your SONG

Welcome to the Songwriting Challenge 2023! Whether it’s your first song or your hundredth, this is the platform for you to be heard, to grow and to share your unique voice with the world. Embrace your passion, muster up your courage and take that bold step forward. Here, your artistry is celebrated, your process is understood and your talent is welcomed with open arms.

Navigating through application forms can be a bit daunting. Let’s simplify and show you what you need to know for your songwriting journey.


Participant Consent Form


Before participating in the 2023/24 Songwriting Challenge, each student (and their parent/guardian if under 18) must:

  1. Agree to grant specific non-commercial rights to the National Endowment for the Arts.
  2. Confirm their submission is original while retaining copyright.
  3. Sign and upload this consent form with their entry.

Download the Participant Consent Form Here

Ensure you understand all terms before applying. Best of luck with your musical creations!


Demographics and Representation Survey

In alignment with our commitment to promoting inclusivity and broad representation in the arts, we invite you to participate in our optional demographics and representation survey. Each writer involved in the project is encouraged to fill this out. Your input aids us in understanding and better serving our community of songwriters.



Draft 1 Submission

You’ll complete this information in this round only.


Step 1. Your Song Details

  • Song Name: This is the title under which we’ll track your submission.
  • Song Credits: Clearly mention who composed the music and wrote the lyrics (max 200 characters).

Step 2. Personal Information (for Writer #1)

  • Full Name: The primary contact who will receive all emails and notifications.
  • Mailing Address: Your full postal address.
  • Contact Details: Provide your email and phone number.
  • Grade: Mention your current grade in school.
  • School Name: The school you’re attending.

Step 3. Discovering the Challenge

Choose how you found out about the Songwriting Challenge.

Step 4. Optional Ethnicity and Race Info

  • Ethnicity: Optional. 
  • Race: Optional. You can select more than one.

Step 5. Song Collaboration

  • Let us know if another student has co-written the song with you.

Step 6. Song Originality and Availability

  • Confirm if your song is an original.
  • State if it’s been professionally produced or distributed before.
  • If selected as a finalist, confirm your availability to travel to the event.

Step 7. About Your Song

  • Explain the context of your song, including:
    • The singing character
    • Who they’re singing to
    • Time and place of the story
    • Your inspiration behind the song

Step 8. Certification

  • Confirm your intention to participate and certify your song’s originality.
  • Ensure you upload the Participant Consent Form before the given deadline.

Step 9. Uploads

  • Audio Demo: Provide an audio file of your song. Panelists will listen to a max of 5 minutes (even if the song is up to 10 minutes).
  • Music Score: Optionally, you can upload the sheet music in PDF format. It’s for reference and won’t be shared with evaluators.
  • Introduction Video or PDF: A 2-minute max video introducing you (or a one-page PDF). Talk about your songwriting style, inspirations, favorite composers and what you expect from this program.

Step 10. Privacy and Paperwork Acts

  • Go through the provided information regarding the protection of your personal data.

Finally, you can choose to save your progress as a draft or submit the form if you’ve completed all the details.

About Your Audio Demo:

Your audio demo is a snapshot of your vision for the song. It provides the first impression of your composition, so making it as clear and representative as possible is essential.

  • Quality Over Production: While we love to hear a polished track, don’t be deterred if you don’t have access to high-end recording equipment. The focus is on your songwriting, not production. Even a simple recording on a smartphone, in a quiet space, can capture the essence of your composition.
  • Vocal Clarity: Ensure the lyrics are audible. If you’re not a singer, consider asking a friend with a good voice to sing it for you. But remember, we’re focusing on songwriting, so it’s okay if it’s not perfect.
  • Instrumentation: Piano or guitar accompaniment is the most common for these demos, but feel free to use any instrument you’re comfortable with. If you can, include a basic chord progression to give a sense of the song’s musical landscape.
  • Song Length: While we allow up to 10 minutes, consider the structure and pacing. Often, a concise and impactful 3-5 minute song can be more effective than a longer one.
  • Style/Tone Representation: Your demo should be representative of the song’s emotion and narrative. Even without elaborate arrangements, strive to convey the song’s mood, be it upbeat, somber, dramatic, or introspective.
  • File Format: MP3 or WAV formats are preferred. Ensure the file is appropriately named (e.g., “SongTitle.mp3”) with no identifying information in the file name or the meta data.

Tips from the Pros: Often, songs are presented with just a piano and voice. This stripped-back approach ensures the focus remains on the songwriting. Embrace this simplicity when creating your demo.

Embrace Your Authenticity, Not Perfection: Remember that this isn’t an essay contest, but your responses should be thoughtful and well-articulated. Our evaluators seek to understand your vision and connect with your creative process. While grammar and clarity matter, your genuine voice and passion are what truly resonate. Remember, it’s your story and your song – tell it with authenticity and heart.


Submit Now!

Are you ready to get started? NAMT uses Submittable for all submission management. You’ll have to create an account with an email address. It doesn’t happen often, but visit at any time if you are having technical difficulties to contact a Submittable representative and open a ticket. Bookmark to come back to your submission quickly. 

Submit Now

This page was last updated on 09/06/2023