April Network Forum: Community Engagement and Performance Opportunities

Special thanks to Abria Smith, Associate Director for Community Engagement in the Office of Community and Government Relations at Berklee, for sharing your insights at this month’s Forum.

Community Engagement: Gaining Local Support for Your Program

Key Relationships within the Community:

  1. City offices
  2. Other community nonprofits
  3. Neighborhood associations

Fostering these key relationships can offer a variety of benefits, such as:

  1. Gain support for your organization and its mission
  2. Grow your local network
  3. Learn about joint funding opportunities and collaborations
  4. Contribute to the culture of the neighborhood (can help with fundraising)
  5. Help legitimize your programming

 

Performance Opportunities:

Leveraging Your Brand

The goal is to be approached by others for performance opportunities. So how can you make it known in your community that your students are available, reliable, and professional?

Start by creating an authentic brand. At Berklee, the strength and reputability of our brand opens recognition makes it easier for Berklee to find opportunities. As a member of the City Music Network, your program can leverage its affiliation with Berklee when establishing your brand within your community. (For more information regarding the City Music Network Branding Toolkit, contact Jean Connaughton.)

You can introduce your program to the local community by hosting a public event, like an annual showcase, showing people first-hand how talented your students are. You can even connect it to a charitable cause!

Paid vs. Free Performances

Paid gigs are great, but free performances can also benefit your program. When approached about a volunteer or free performance opportunity consider how the relationship serves your organization, mission, or cause. If the organization is a non-profit, are they paying for everything else, other musicians or special guests?

Recruiting Top Talent for an Event
When engaging celebrities, artists, and local talent to support your program, a little research can help you leverage your appeal.

  1. What other organizations they support and does it align with what you do?
  2. Would partnering with another nonprofit for a particular event make the ask more relevant?
  3. Share what you do, acknowledge their value and don’t be afraid to ask them to donate their time
  4. Consider asking for them to speak instead of perform — they might be more willing to donate time for that
  5. Foster an ongoing relationship instead of a one-time ask

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.

March Network Forum: Engaging Local Alumni and Building a Volunteer Network

Special thanks to Vanessa Bouvry from Berklee Alumni Affairs for leading discussions about engaging local alumni.

Engaging Local Alumni: What You Need to Know

Berklee has 6 major cities with large concentrations of Berklee Alumni:

  1. Boston, MA
  2. New York City, NY
  3. Nashville, TN
  4. Miami, FL
  5. Los Angeles, CA
  6. San Francisco, CA

In each of these cities, there is a Berklee representative responsible for the region and a group of Alumni Volunteers. Regions outside of these 6 major cities may have Alumni Ambassadors.

Interested in contacting a Berklee alum to share an opportunity or information about your organization? Contact berklealumni@berklee.edu.

Engage alumni by providing win-win opportunities in which they can network with each other and elevate your organization and their career, all while giving back. Some suggested opportunities include:

  1. Hosting events
  2. Participating on panels
  3. Being paired with youth as a mentor
  4. Coaching
  5. Engineering
  6. Supporting music in schools
  7. Supporting music in the community

If you already work with an alum, ask them to reach out to their personal network to engage more people in support of your organization.

Building a Volunteer Network: Get Personal

Building your organization’s volunteer network should be a two-way process—your volunteers are helping to support your mission and organizational goals, and you should be just as in-tune with their needs.

  1. Give them roles that are appropriate for their qualifications and goals. Don’t give them a job they don’t want.
  2. Acknowledge their contributions! Send a personal thank you letter, a special note on their birthday, etc.
  3. Be available. Make sure your volunteers know they can reach you by email, phone, or text.

About the Network Forum

Each month, members from around the Berklee City Music Network® gather to discuss topics and best practices helping you to leverage City Music resources in support of your local program. To inquire about participating in next month’s Network Forum, email citymusic@berklee.edu.

PULSE Teacher Spotlight: Ed Sublett

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About Ed Sublett:
Ed Sublett wears a lot of hats. He is a husband and father of three; a musician, composer and audio engineer; and a school administrator and teacher. A native of Boston, MA he relocated to Knoxville,TN with his family in 2012 and began working at The Joy of Music School shortly after arriving. His primary instrument is upright bass. He performs live with a variety of local musicians and lends his skills in the studio as well. He teaches private lessons on bass and guitar.

About the The Joy of Music School:
The Joy of Music School is a nonprofit organization providing free music lessons for children who cannot afford them. All teachers are volunteers. The school provides instruments, music, and supplies at no cost to students, ages ranging from 6-18 years old. Their mission is to provide a quality music education for financially disadvantaged, at-risk youth. Among their many guiding values are to put the students first, transform lives through mentorship, help develop minds, and build character through music. They set high standards that reward commitment, respect and accountability, providing challenges that foster discipline and self esteem.

What are some of your favorite resources on the PULSE site?
The Study Room is extremely comprehensive. It provides a lot of building blocks and is a great way to establish a baseline of knowledge with a class comprised of students who come in with different levels of knowledge and aptitude.

I’ve used the Jam Room quite a bit with my private bass students. The Jam Room reminds me of when I was 14 with my first electric bass. I used to sit in front of my boom box, press play, and jam along to all my favorite bands. Of course, you can do quite a bit more using PULSE’s Notation Mixer.

I take advantage of a lot of the Practice Room resources as well. I’ve practically worn out the Beginning Scales and Arpeggios book with my students.

I also have found a variety of uses for Noteflight. Everything from helping my students transcribe to creating my own unique exercises that I can share as homework with my students.
PULSE is great to use on a smart board. I hope to expand our PULSE usage this year by offering a PULSE Theory Lab for our teenage students.

How are your classrooms set up for technology use?
We have a large conference room with a laptop and smart board that is used for most of our group classes. We have a small lab for our MPET (Multimedia Production and Engineering for Teens) which is set up with six DAW workstations.We have a small compliment of laptops which teachers can use by request in the lesson studios. Each studio is equipped with a pair of powered computer speakers for use with laptops, tablets, or smartphones.

Learn more about PULSE, and follow @BerkleePULSE.

Guest Post: Performing for Hiatus Kaiyote

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“My experience as the piano player for the Hiatus Kaiyote ensemble was truly a unique one. I had the responsibility of arranging Borderline With my Atoms for several members of the band. Given that Hiatus Kaiyote is known for their extremely tricky time signatures and groove manipulations, arranging a song like that was a daunting task to say the least!

After having spent several hours writing everything down, it was time to rehearse the actual song. I had listened to each segment of Borderline so many times before to get each part down that it naturally was up to me to direct the cues. During the rehearsals, everything went really well for that song, but I became pretty nervous when it was time to actually perform for the band. It was such a surreal experience seeing the band right in front of me and directing the cuts and cues that they themselves had written!

I have to thank the band for doing such a great job with the arrangement and representing City Music in front of such a prestigious band so well. The hours of work put into all three of the songs will be long remembered, and I believe that my musically oriented leadership skills have improved a great deal based on my participation in this fantastic ensemble.”

– Alex Flavell

 

Five-Week Alumni Advice: Henry Oyekanmi Jr.

Henry just graduated Berklee College of Music after attending the Five-Week Summer Performance Program and being awarded a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee at the Scholarship Concert.

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Do you have any tips for this year’s incoming Five-Week students?
Stay humble. Everybody in the program is talented. Stay focused, and go to every class. Remember that not everybody gets an opportunity to be in the seat you’re in. Take full advantage of the opportunity. Talk to people and become friends with them. The more you socialize and meet people, it will be beneficial in the future.

To read more about Henry, click here.
Follow Henry @YOUNGKINGHENRY

Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center: The Paragon, Vol 1

This is a guest post from Lizzie Zink, a rising senior at BCMN site Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center in Columbus, Ohio.

The Paragon Logo Color

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is a compilation album created by the students at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Center.

The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free album tackles many of the controversial topics that are at the forefront of our national discourse. Issues such as racial stereotypes, depression, youth violence, suicide, police brutality and identity are discussed through the musical journey this project takes you on. The ideas expressed in these songs are an accurate representation of the challenges that many youth around the country face on a daily basis. It was our goal to address these songs artistically in a variety of genres. Hip-Hop, Singer Songwriter, Spoken word, Reggae, and Neo Soul are all represented on the project.

The musical pieces represented on the album are mix of self composed works and covers. The pieces assembled were chosen by the students to create a comprehensive narrative that emotionally take the listener into their world in a way that very few think pieces or media reports can. In fact, we often refer to the project as an audio publication or soundtrack to our life’s movie because the relevance of the songs carry an authenticity that traditional descriptions don’t capture. The album features covers of artists such as Gil Scott Heron, Birdy, Nina Simone, and Donny Hathaway, along with many brilliant originals. The depth of the lyrics written by my peers provides clarity of the situations that we struggle with and their articulation of a circumstance and the feeling is truly inspiring. The students featured on this album are some of Fort Hayes’ best and brightest musicians and have a desire to use their gift to express the need for awareness and action in society today.

Fixing society’s flaws is no easy task, but if we raise our voices together as one, we will be heard. Throughout the creation of this project, we constantly reminded ourselves that every individual has a voice and because of that we are confident that our voices will be heard amongst the noise.

In short, the ideas expressed within the album are presented by students to students and to those struggling to overcome obstacles or those watching someone struggle… which ultimately includes everyone. These are universal messages that can provide assurance that a person is not alone in their suffering and that there is indeed hope in our world.

We created The Paragon to inspire hope, inspire dialogue and spark a fire to change the world. We lifted our voices, and now it’s the time for them to be heard so that everybody knows that the revolution is starting. “The revolution will not be televised… The revolution will be live”, says WaTeasa Freeman in “The Revolution”. This revolution starts with us, and we extend our hand for you to join us in order to ensure that Someday We’ll All Be Free.

The Paragon Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free is available on iTunes, Tidal, Amazon Music, & Spotify

-Lizzie Zink

Lizzie Link

 

For more information on The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free contact: Tony Anderson, Ph.D. at MichaelAnthonyAnderson@gmail.com
The Paragon, Vol. 1: Someday We’ll All Be Free Interview playlist.

Network Chapter Series: Northeast Chapter

The City Music Network is made of nine regional chapters established across North America. Each chapter meets monthly to discuss current events,  opportunities for collaboration, and deepen their relationships with each other. This first blog post is kicking of a get-to-know-your-network series which will introduce all 47 sites in our network. This Chapter Feature will focus on the Northeast Chapter, made up of five City Music Network sites.

City Music Boston at Cafe 939Berklee City Music Boston – Boston, MA
City Music Boston—the founding site of the City Music Network—provides music education programs and scholarship opportunities to 1,200 underserved students annually throughout Greater Boston. With year-round instruction, expert faculty, and a comprehensive curriculum based around Berklee PULSE, City Music Boston gives students the tools and support they need to reach their full potential.
Website | Facebook | Instagram

Boys & Girls Harbor – New York, NY
The mission of Boys & Girls Harbor is to empower children and their families to become full, productive participants in society through education, cultural enrichment, and social services.
Website | Facebook

Renaissance Youth Center – Bronx, NY
RYC empowers at-risk inner city youth to fully maximize their potential as productive and responsible members of society by offering dynamic, team-building education, music and sports programs while instilling the importance of building strong communities.
Website | Facebook

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) – Newark, NJ
The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) is the artistic, cultural, educational, and civic center of New Jersey. Part of NJPAC’s mission is to enhance and transform the lives of children and families through arts education.
Website | Facebook

Dixon Hall Music School – Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Now in our 37th year, Dixon Hall Music School is a “second home” to over 300 neighbourhood youth per week, offering 21 different instruments and classes for as little as $3.00 per lesson. We develop leadership skills and build inner confidence through the world of music.
Website | Facebook

Check back next week when we will be feature two more chapters: the Mid-Atlantic and Central Chapters.

Musiq Soulchild visits City Music Boston

On Friday, December 3rd, The Loft was overflowing with passion, ambition, and talent.  Rude, a band made up of Boston Arts Academy students, kicked off this event with a riveting rap battle, a one-of-a-kind arrangement of “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley, and a show-stopping performance of “Suit and Tie” by Justin Timberlake.  The marriage of an “in the pocket” rhythm section adorned with trumpet and saxophone, and precise, sultry vocals made for an adoring crowd and set the tone for the rest of the evening.  

Neo soul icon Musiq Soulchild performed with Berklee City Music Boston students during a master class at Berklee College of Music on Friday, December 4. Pictured, from left to right: Kamar Satchell, Musiq Soulchild, Sarah Coelho, and Peter George. Photo by Michael D. Spencer.
Neo soul icon Musiq Soulchild performed with Berklee City Music Boston students during a master class at Berklee College of Music on Friday, December 4. Pictured, from left to right: Kamar Satchell, Musiq Soulchild, Sarah Coelho, and Peter George. Photo by Michael D. Spencer.

The students were then able to work closely with Musiq Soulchild, a grammy-nominated singer/songwriter with an album that topped the Billboard 200 charts, among many other outstanding achievements.  Musiq began the presentation by opening the floor to specific questions.  He delved into his musical journey and how it paralleled with his self discovery, and remarked that he “lives by the philosophies of music in so many different ways”.

 

Musiq distinguished the difference between being emotional and being able to keep certain emotions in check in order to pursue a successful career and grow as an artist.  He then wrapped up the Q & A by explaining his structure of songwriting is simply working off of a feeling, and that he draws inspiration from any individual that can “enhance his perspective on being a better service to the culture of music”.  The crowd was fully engaged and hanging onto every word that Musiq eloquently spoke.  

 

The City Music Boston band, featuring current students and program alumni, was next to take the stage.  Their recipe for a stellar performance was infectious soul combined with technique and craftsmanship.  Musiq joined the band on stage for a charismatic, extraordinary performance of “Just Friends”.  The group’s undeniable chemistry had the audience on their feet.  Musiq gave the band insightful feedback, advising them to let go of making sure everybody likes their sound, and to commit to their signature sound whether the crowd fully understands it or not.  Musiq shouted out to the band on the fly to see how they would react under pressure, and said they passed the test.  He concluded the master class with a statement that resonated deeply with both the band and the audience, “don’t compare your process to someone else’s results”.  

This post was written by Berklee College student Kristen McFarren

JazzBoston helps orchestrate a field trip for City Music Boston students to attend Newport Jazz Festival

Grace Mann is a City Music Scholar from Boston, MA, and is currently studying at Berklee College of Music.

Photo Credit: Jean Hangarten
Photo Credit: Jean Hangarten

Bright and early on Friday, July 31, a group of Boston students attending the Berklee Five-Week Summer Performance Program on City Music Summer Scholarships headed to the Newport Jazz Festival on a little yellow school bus. This amazing opportunity was only possible because of the generosity and kindness of JazzBoston, Natixis Global Asset Management, and Newport Festivals Foundation. The students in attendance were bubbling with excitement to have the chance to see some of their idols perform and could not be more grateful to both organizations for giving them this opportunity.

On our way to the festival we heard from Dr. Leonard Brown, who was invited by JazzBoston to speak to us. Dr. Brown is a professional musician and recently retired as an associate professor at Northeastern University in Boston. Dr. Brown reminded us of the history that surrounds the jazz festival. He discussed how Newport, which began in 1954, witnessed the Civil Rights Movement and mentioned that, “even with existing social pressures, the festival continued.” It was interesting to hear about how the music at Newport withstood the heavy social storms of America since its establishment.

The students started their day at Newport with a presentation from Dr. Wes, founder of the Jazz and Democracy Project, that was arranged by Natixis. He encouraged the students to talk about what’s it’s like when they’re “in the moment” or “in the zone” on stage. One student related his experience on stage to how he feels when he’s driving a car. On the road he feels free, but at the same time he is aware of the other drivers around him, just as he’s aware of the other band members during a performance.

After the workshop everyone was allowed to roam free! Most students were looking forward to Snarky Puppy who was the last band of the day. Joshua Sutherland, a student from City Music Boston, said his favorite part of the festival was seeing Corey Henry perform, stating, “I would have been upset for the rest of the year if he didn’t perform.” The Christian McBride Trio was another highlight from the festival. Many students sat in the front row mesmerized by his amazing performance. The energy and spirit of the trio was captivating.

Overall the day at Newport was a success. By the time the wheels on the bus starting rolling us back to Boston, almost everyone was drifting to sleep in their seats, exhausted from such a full day of inspiration and excitement at the festival.

Berklee City Music Summit 2015

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
  • Technology/PULSE/curriculum development
  • 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.”

Register Online at rsvpBOOK.com

 

Registration is now open, and we are also accepting proposals (PDF) if you would like to present at this year’s event.

Relive some of the highlights from last year’s event: