For Amy Garver Solis, a Blacklick resident and music teacher at Columbus Academy, a lesson plan for her Lower School students turned into the experience of a lifetime.

For Amy Garver Solis, a Blacklick resident and music teacher at Columbus Academy, a lesson plan for her Lower School students turned into the experience of a lifetime.

At the beginning of the 2008-09 school year, she selected Eddie Galan as the first composer of the month for her Lower School music classes. Galan has had four songs rise to first on the Billboard list.

Naming Galan was the beginning of a trip that took her to California, where she wound up singing backup vocals on a song for an as-yet-to-be released album from Tiffany Thornton, star of the Disney Channel's "Sunny With A Chance."

It started with Garver Solis looking for a composer who had written music for the Olympics. "I did a Google search on people who had composed songs for Olympics," she said. Her students had just completed a unit on the Olympics and she wanted a natural lead-in for the unit on composers.

She found Galan. "He wrote 'Incredible' for the Click Girlz, and that was for the 2008 Olympic soundtrack," she said.

Galan was posted on Academy's Web site as the Composer of the Month. Shortly after that, Galan was doing a search on his own name on the Internet and found the Academy site.

"He left a message, 'I'm very honored to be your first Composer of the Month,'" Garver Solis said. "I contacted him through his MySpace music page. He was amazingly receptive; he was open to talk to my kids; you would never know that the man had ever sold millions of records."

Galan answered questions from students about his life and on being a composer. The students, in turn, showered him with homemade thank-you cards and his favorite chocolate bars.

Garver Solis received a bachelor's degree from Ohio State University and later got a master's. She was not unfamiliar with the music business.

"But songwriting, I honestly do not know a lot about," she said.

When she was working on a song to be used in the class, Galan suggested that she come to his studio in California.

He did that and helped her write "Put Yourself in Their Shoes." To hear a duet with Garver Solis and Galan, visit intranet.columbusaca-demy.org/mod/resource/view.php?id=2958.

"It was based on the idea of empathy," she said. "One of our important behavioral things we work with kids here is CARES. It stands for cooperation, assertion, responsibility, empathy and self-control.

"Empathy is sometime the hardest for the students," she said. "It's difficult for them to put themselves in other people's shoes."

Garver Solis applied for and received a Putnam Grant from Academy to travel to Galan's studio. It was to be a day of shadowing him as he worked with Tiffany Thornton on her debut album.

It happened suddenly, Garver Solis said. Galan turned to her and asked if she wanted to sing backup vocals on one track on the album.

She agreed and said, "I will get a credit on the record." The album is not out yet, but the working title of the song in which Garver Solis sang is "Picture Perfect."

"It's a piece about trying to find somebody who will fit her, romantically," she said.

The Putnam Grant, which funded her trip, was established to honor the legacy of William Putnam, Columbus Academy headmaster from 1960 to 1977.