One Sound, Many Voices: American Popular Music and Creative Youth Development
November 9-11, 2015, in New York City
Berklee City Music is coming to New York City this fall for its fifth annual professional development event. This year’s programming will support four content areas, including:
Student engagement and performance
Staff and teacher development (best practices)
Awareness raising, advancement of mission, and development
Attendees will engage in professional development, share best practices, network, create opportunities for collaboration, and leave with the tools needed to further the City Music movement, “positively impacting youth development primarily through popular music.”
Arin and Andrew continued their tour of BCMN’s southeastern region at Community Music School of Raleigh. NC. Founded over twenty years ago at around the same time as City Music, CMS provides private lessons at virtually no cost to students in elementary school all the way up through high school. Beginning musicians receive introductory instruction in music reading and advanced students have the opportunity to play in CMS ensembles and perform at local community events, including through partnerships with local symphony orchestras.
Our day at CMS began with meeting acting interim executive director Debra DeCamillis, school operations manager Erin Zanders and PULSE coordinate Matt Douglas. Once again it was great to put faces to all of the names we were so used to emailing and calling over the phone! We also enjoyed the tour of CMS’s facilities, including the main building where students study everything from piano to ukulele and the community center next door, which CMS uses for performances while sharing it with other community organizations.
We then broke for a lunch discussion of CMS’s history and programming (as well as the finer points of Carolina barbeque!). Matt shared some of his successes with PULSE in his Composition Workshop, and a common theme of eagerness to recruit more students, a desire to share the craft and confidence-building of music with even larger audiences, had already emerged on this trip. That was the perfect segue to head back to CMS and continue our discussion while students began filling the halls and rooms for their after-school instruction. We also got to observe a high school percussion ensemble, a piano student learning the harmonies and chord scales for John Legend’s “All Of Me” and a first grader practicing her solfège.
We came back the next day to observe Matt’s Composition Workshop, which allows students of all ages to write original material. It was rewarding to see a teacher incorporate PULSE into his own curriculum, inspiring to see and hear his students using that City Music platform to channel their own creativity. This was yet another example of what makes our Network so strong and so important. We left looking forward to meeting other Network partners, learning more about their work and doing more to promote it.
We recently sat down with Jordan Summers, the Music Mentoring and Youth Development Coordinator for Berklee City Music Boston, to get some tips on how to foster successful mentor/mentee relationships in a program that consists of about 80 participants in the Boston area. Mentors are Berklee students and mentees consist of local middle school and high school-aged youth from underserved areas that have auditioned for City Music programs. The program provides mentees with 3.5 hours of instruction per week that includes a one-on-one music coaching, theory class, and ensemble rehearsal.
Jordan broke down her keys for program success into the “3 R’s”: Research, Recruit, Relationship
Jordan frequently uses free online tools to enhance Mentorship programming. There are several non-profit organizations that provide guidance for mentor programs in the form of networking, helpful information, and organizational tools. She said that she regularly checks for new resources like handbooks, activity ideas, and training information from the websites of the following established national mentoring organizations:
http://www.mentoring.org: Mentoring program that develops quality resources to advance mentoring program effectiveness and innovation, while sharing knowledge among mentoring programs, and works to drive increased investment to sustain and grow mentoring programs nationwide.
http://www.massmentors.org: Mass Mentoring Partnership (MMP) helps to fuel the movement to expand empowering youth-adult relationships to meet the needs of communities across Massachusetts.
http://www.nationalmentoringmonth.org: Focuses national attention on the need for mentors, and how businesses, government agencies, schools, faith communities and nonprofits can work together to increase the number of mentors to assure positive outcomes for young people.
“Always be looking for mentors!” Jordan advises. Because City Music mentors are usually full-time Berklee College of Music students, Jordan is sure to have a “back up for the back up”. She sources her mentors from general interest meetings that she advertises through the college, referrals from Berklee faculty and staff, a recruiting table that she sets-up at college events, and through informational materials she places around campus. Jordan also leverages the program’s many success stories to encourage students to sign-up.
Show Value: Jordan knows that Berklee students are more likely to sign-up as mentors if she can show them the value of being a mentor goes beyond spending time with a kid in need of music instruction and someone to hang out with after school. Jordan said that her mentors oftentimes tell her that they have become more aware of their own learning style through the applied teaching of their mentee. Following graduation from Berklee, several of her City Music mentors have requested and received recommendation letters and connections with industry professionals throughout the Berklee City Music National Network.
For the mentor’s first contact with their mentee, Jordan provides them with a “first call” template/script to make communication effective and easy. She also put together a handbook for mentors that contains best practices and acts as a trouble-shooting guide to get the relationship off to a great start.
Jordan plans at least one non-music activity per month and told us that “pizza always works!” She highlighted the importance of taking the mentors and mentees out of the context of a demanding learning environment.
Jordan left us with her favorite quote to share with new mentors/mentees, “In learning, you will teach and in teaching, you will learn.”
Click here for more information on the City Music Mentoring Program.
Over 200 Network members, music educators, and arts advocates came together in Los Angeles to discuss “Innovations in Youth Development,” the theme of this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference.
The conference kicked off on November 2 with “Youth Power-Up Day,” a free outdoor festival at Grand Performances, that featured performances by youth ensembles from around the country, a community drum circle hosted by Remo, and a jam session led by Kevin Eubanks.
Attendees moved indoors to the nearby Omni Hotel for the next three days full of inspiring presentations, panel discussions, and interactive activities. BCMN Conference veteran Libby Chiu started each day with a networking workshop that featured special guests such as Jonathan Zeichner (APCH), Andy Davis, and youth ambassadors from A Place Called Home.
Two of the more popular sessions were a panel discussion led by Berklee faculty member Terri Lyne Carrington with Sheila E, Patrice Rushen, Lalah Hathaway, and Donald Harrison about working with young musicians ; and Ron Weisner’s all-star panel discussion about the music industry featuring Bill Withers, Gladys Knight, Bobby Colomby, Tommy LiPuma, Ray Chew, and Ricky Minor.
The conference also featured a master class at the Grammy Museum; presentation by Network members such as Mike Anderson, Joey Arreguin, Gordon Cobb, Kevan Ellis, Greg Holt, Thomas Howard, Mark Kohler, Bethany Paulsen, Milton Ruffin, Ed Sublett, Frank Van Bree, and Cliff Weeks; plus a visit by the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus.
With so many thought-provoking sessions, attendees left Los Angeles feeling inspired to further their work with young musicians.