One of the features that makes the Teen English programme so successful is the use of a wide variety of media to help students absorb English naturally. For pre-teens and teens, there is no better method than through song. It seems that adolescents are obsessed with music, rhythm, and even the meaning behind the lyrics. The Helen Doron educational development team includes at least one song in every Teen English Learning Unit.
But not just any teeny-bopper song currently popular on the DJ charts. Realizing the pronounced influence music has on young adults, each Unit of the Teen English programme contains an original song that correspond to the materials learned in that unit. The topics of the songs, like the study units themselves, reflect themes that are pertinent to adolescents’ budding awareness of the society they live in. For example, “Summer Jobs,” was written by Ella Doron especially for Unit 7-Money Makes the World Go Around of the Teen Talent Course, which is the first level of the four-level Helen Doron Teen English Programme. The study unit deals with entrepreneurship, child labor, philanthropy and the value of saving money.
How does Ella go about writing for Helen Doron English? I caught up with her as she graciously took a few minutes from her very busy schedule—she is now promoting her new album, Ella vs Mountain—to answer a few questions.
Q: How do you approach a project like writing for Teen English, in which you’re given specific guidelines for topic and corresponding vocabulary?
A: Easily, I find inspiration in my personal experience and write lyrics and melodies that feel right.
Q: How do you get your creative juices running?
A: Free writing, I start by writing 2-3 pages without thinking, as quickly as possible, only later do I look through and see if there are materials I like and can use. Also, sometimes I get a chorus stuck in my head and I take it from there and write lyrics that correspond to it. That’s what happened with the song Stay in the Game. I had “Ah ah ah, I want to play, not this way,” stuck in my head for about a week just running it through and finding lyrics. In the end I wrote half of the lyrics before and the other half in the studio with producers Oren and Dan giving me inspiration and playing what I had written so far on the guitar.
Q: Do you find that the music comes first and the lyrics second or the other way around? What is your personal process?
A: I usually write lyrics first. Sometimes I write on a beat that inspires me so the melody could come first but that is rare.
Q: Which of the Teen Talent songs that you wrote do you like the best or identify with most? And why?
A: Stay in the Game, I’m naïve in that way, still to this day.
Q: As your own personal career as a song writer/performer gains momentum, will you still have time to dedicate to writing and recording for Teen English and the other Helen Doron English programmes?
A: Always. We grow together.
Q: What so far, has been the feedback on your new album, Ella vs Mountain?
A: My solo album was finally released and has received wide praise. It’s been amazing and heartwarming, getting so much love and support. I also released my first official video clip, Missing You.
Let me know what you think, leave a comment and share if you enjoyed it.
You can listen to the album online here.
Stay in touch and write to me on my FB page.