The Great American Songbook


When I was in college, one of my music theory professors would begin each class by sitting at the piano and singing a standard – one of the great songs by the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Rodgers & Hart, Jerome Kern, et al. I developed a love of those tunes that has lasted ever since.

Michael Feinstein
Michael Feinstein

Michael Feinstein is also passionate about these songs that make up the Great American Songbook. Like my professor, he uses his performances as an opportunity to educate as well as entertain audiences. He is raising  awareness about this wonderful music among younger generations.

The PBS documentary Michael Feinstein’s American Songbook  chronicles Mr. Feinstein’s efforts to preserve this music, which he refers to as a national treasure. The documentary’s companion website, which features in-depth information and even provides free lesson plans for teachers, can be found at

Mr. Feinstein is also the artistic director of the new Center for the Performing Arts in Carmel, Indiana, which will house the Michael Feinstein Foundation for the Preservation of the Great American Songbook. Click here  for information about the foundation.

As educators and musicians, I hope we will all be inspired to share these celebrated songs and pass our love for them on to future generations. Preserving America’s musical heritage while enjoying beautiful music – what could be better than that?

Click here for more information about Michael Feinstein and the Great American Songbook.

Click here for a list of Michael Feinstein’s songbooks.


Jen Tolnay
Jen Tolnay has been working for J.W. Pepper since 1991. She previously worked in customer service, and now spends her time on Pepper’s social media efforts. Jen has a degree in music theory from Temple University, and spent many years as musical director and accompanist for a variety of musical theatre productions She also works as the choir director/pianist/organist at a local church.

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