Teen Living Programs

2016-2017 Residencies


How can one turn a story into a song?

What elements do composers utilize to create settings, characters, and dialogue in music? 

How can a songwriter best distribute their music to the public?

What other can a songwriter make themselves known to their ideal audience?



Clients will create original songs from personal stories and/or poetry.

Clients will learn different ways to distribute their music and lyrics to a wider audience.

Clients will practice how to speak to a live audience and connect with them after their performance has ended.



With the guidance of Fifth House Ensemble, clients at Teen Living Programs were taught the connections between their stories and poetry and music. Clients were tasked to find thematic elements within their stories and poetry and settled on living in a “Boxed Life”. This Boxed Life theme was born from the experience of the clients working on these projects and is meant to refer to the ways in which others can control and dictate our lives, beyond our control. Once the lyrics and music were written, clients were taught how to use the recording equipment available to them at TLP facilities to put words and music together. Completed songs were then distributed via different media outlets with instruction by Fifth House Ensemble teaching artists.


Many TLP clients were able to use recording equipment at their facility for the first time and learn how to best take advantage of the space. Clients also reported a strengthened sense of commitment after having taken part in an 8 week residency.



By combining the talents of multiple friends and family, clients at Teen Living Programs created original songs using the theme of living in a “Boxed Life”. These songs were featured in a final performance for other TLP clients as well as members of Storycatchers Theatre’s Changing Voices Ensemble. Songs performed at this event were then distributed via Soundcloud by the composers and made available to the public, free of charge.

2016-2017 residency programs at Teen Living Programs were supported in part by grants from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation and the Field Foundation of Illinois.