BCMN On the Road: Campus Club Milledgeville

This post is #4 in a guest series from BCMN Registrar Andrew Sammut after his visit to 4 BCMN Sites this spring.

Campus Club Milledgeville

Last but far from least on Arin and Andrew’s southeastern Network trip was Campus Club Milledgeville. Leadership team Gregory and Toyia Barnes partner with public schools, nearby Georgia College and local business leaders to offer musical instruction to the K-12 students of Milledgeville, GA and surrounding areas.

Our day began with an introduction by Toyia to Dr. Noris Price, Superintendent for Baldwin County Schools, who spoke to the relationship between CCM and Milledgeville’s school district, and the opportunities City Music provides to students for college preparation. We were then introduced to Kathy Carroll at nearby Baldwin High School, who was proud to speak about some of the students who have attended the Berklee 5-Week Summer Performance Program as well as Berklee College and her experiences directing the chorus at Baldwin High School. We were also treated to some brief but beautiful singing by a few of the students in her class.

A short drive away to downtown Milledgeville took us to Georgia College, where we met Dr. Chelsey Mercado, Chair of the Music Therapy. Students from Dr. Mercado’s department teach CCM students on-campus, working with them to develop both musical proficiency as well as academic and interpersonal skills to help them succeed in college and beyond. We met Dr. Lisa Griffin, Director for the School of Health and Human Performance, who not only also provides instructors to CCM but whose annual Art Healthy event invites CCM students to perform as well as participate in an active community event. Dr. Griffin mentioned that she is proud to attend every CCM event!

We toured the audiovisual and recording facilities at Georgia College, which CCM students access as part of their experience. After a debrief that included CCM board chair Cassandra Ford, Esq., it was clear that CCM is all about collaboration as a means to bring music education and its corresponding personal development to as wide an audience as possible.

Four sites, one week and about seven-hundred miles on our rental car’s odometer after we started this trip, we flew back to Boston with ample information and even more inspiration. The southeast region is diverse in programming and demographics but unified in its commitment to students. This trip was a welcome opportunity to meet the people who make our work possible, and we returned to our office galvanized by their accomplishments.

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BCMN On the Road: Community Music School

This post is #2 in a guest series by BCMN Registrar Andrew Sammut from his visit to 4 BCMN Sites this spring.

Community Music School Raleigh

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.

CMS Raleigh Percussion Ensemble
CMS Raleigh Percussion Ensemble

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.

Matt teaching his Saturday Composition Seminar at CMS Raleigh
Matt teaching his Saturday Composition Workshop

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.

City Music Scholar Reflects on NAMM Experience

Robert Gould is a City Music Scholar from Little Five Points Music Center in Atlanta, GA, and is currently studying at Berklee College of Music.

The opportunity to perform and receive hands on mentorship by George Clinton, Moby, and the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus crew was an amazing experience to say the least. George Clinton at the forefront of creativity and individuality as a musician mixed with the high level technological advancements and concepts the John Lennon Bus and Moby bought to the experience made this opportunity a life changing musical adventure I will never forget. The ability to be surrounded by music in all directions in the atmosphere set by the NAMM Conference in California made this musical encounter a surreal moment.

Robert Gould-NAAM PHOTO

As musicians and contemporary music students at Berklee College Of Music, we often are searching for innovation and desiring to be at the helm of what will mold and set a new dawn of music for our generation to enjoy. This opportunity yielded to me by Berklee City Music allowed me to see that in order to be innovative in this era we must seek for the foundations laid by George Clinton, Moby, and John Lennon who were and are all men who faced music with fearless tenacity and zeal. Creativity and technology are at the forefront of this new dawn of the entertainment industry we are entering into. This purpose driven experience connecting education, recording, and technology has exposed my mind, enriched my soul, and fueled my determination for success through my artistry. I am so honored to be an ambassador for the Berklee City Music Program.

Find Robert Online:

Soundcloud | YouTube | Facebook | Twitter

 

49th Network Member – Dixon Hall Music School

Dixon Hall Music in Toronto, Canada is the 49th Berklee City Music Network member.  Dixon Hall Music School provides low-cost private lessons on 15 different instruments, group and ensemble classes, seasonal music camps, and affordable instrument rentals for over 300 students ages 3-19 in the surrounding community of Regent Park, Moss Park, and St. Lawrence Neighborhoods in Toronto.  In operation since 1978, the school has a dedicated facility in the heart of the Garden District and has a robust community standing, providing students ample performance opportunities and exposure to local arts performances through a free concert ticket program.

Be sure to check out their website to learn more: http://www.dixonhall.org/our-services/music-school

Welcome The Motivational Edge to The Berklee City Music Network

Please join us in welcoming the 48th site the Berklee City Music Network, The Motivational Edge in Miami, Florida.  The Motivational Edge utilizes culturally relevant arts as a motivational platform to inspire youth towards academic achievement, increased self-confidence and the building of essential life skills.  Their programs include art, dance, literacy, homework assistance and music.  Within the music program they offer a DJ program, music production, and private instrument instruction.  Click here to learn more about their music programs.

Checkout out their SoundCloud playlist below to hear their students’ work.

2014 BCMN Conference Highlights

City Music Network Students performing at Youth Power-Up Day
City Music Network Students performing at Youth Power-Up Day in Los Angeles, California. Photo credit: Amy Bojanowski

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.

The John Lennon Education Tour Bus in Boston

Earlier this fall, the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus made a stop in Boston to work with City Music students. In a single day, the students found the chemistry to write and record an original song, plan the project from start to finish, and conclude with a video shoot. Below is the final production of their original song and City Music College Scholar Yanina Johnson’s reflection of the experience in her own words. Yanina explains how her time on the bus helped her find the confidence to write a song, how to lean on the support offered by her peers, and to trust in her own voice.

When we first walked on to the bus we were in shock. We sat down and were greeted by the wonderful staff. We introduced ourselves by saying our names and spiritual animals (mine was a sloth). The staff only included three guys who did the recording, the music video, and engineering. They were supportive and willing to work with us through everything. They were excited and enthusiastic about any style of music we wanted to play.

I never imagined myself writing music. I never had the confidence to write how I feel and share a part of myself with other people. Coming on this bus, I didn’t expect to be needed as much as I was. It felt good knowing that people were depending on me to write lyrics and sing. It was a new type of feeling and pressure that I have never faced before. I felt challenged but I was not alone. Everyone on the bus had my back. It was a beautiful feeling to share and write music with other talented musicians.

I remember being in the booth, I thought I sounded terrible with every note I sang. Each time they would convince me that it was a good take, helping me every step of the way. The energy was always high, never turned down. I could tell that they had a passion for music and I felt privileged to have the opportunity to work with everyone one the bus.

I loved how every moment was enjoyable. We got work done while having fun at the same time, which can sometimes be really hard to do. I feel that sometimes people get caught up in this idea of being the best at what they do, like having the best runs and tone, or the best chops on drums. Somewhere along the line, they lose themselves and forget what music is all about. We had the chance to do what we love without having to sound perfect. Just showing our love for music was enough to make a killing song. I am happy that it was a judgment free zone. I felt comfortable to write and sing freely. Lastly I enjoyed myself on the bus, thank you so much for the opportunity!

City Music Scholar featured on NBC’S The Voice

The Voice - Season 7

Brittany Butler is a r&b/jazz/pop singer-songwriter/musician. At the age of nine she met and sang with the pianist for Saturday Night Live, a Berklee alum. At his suggestion, she auditioned for Berklee City Music and received a scholarship at age 11. Brittany even toured with the City Music Rock Ensemble through four cities. Most recently, Brittany was a contestant on NBC’S The Voice. Her blind audition got both Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams to turn their chairs, and she ultimately chose to join Pharrel’s team. While on the show, Brittany received a coaching session with Alicia Keys.

Berklee City Music reached out to Brittany and asked her to discuss her experience both with City Music and The Voice:

When did you first get involved with Berklee City Music?

I first got involved with City Music when I was about 11 years old. I went through the mentoring program, the high school academy, and was eventually awarded a full tuition scholarship to the college through City Music. I first found out about the program at age 9 by Tuffus Zimbabwe, a Berklee and City Music alum that I met when he was performing with a trio at the Hyde Park Library. I remember I couldn’t wait to be old enough to audition!

What about City Music has been most effective in your music training?

I think the ensembles, and theory classes have been most effective in my music training! The ensembles helped me to become so much more comfortable performing with a band. And, I was able to apply what I learned in my theory classes to the work we were doing during rehearsals. It made it so much easier to follow along with lead sheets and whatnot and figure out melodies instead of just sitting there kind of unsure of myself.

How has your experience with Berklee helped prepare you for The Voice?

My experience with Berklee has been completely invaluable. I’ve been involved with Berklee now for half of my life, and it’s helped to shape me into the performer and artist I am today. I consider myself to be a much more knowledgeable vocalist and musician today, which I think made my time on The Voice a lot smoother and more enjoyable. I learned a great deal of vocal technique through Berklee/City Music, I ended up not being as worried about the technical aspects of my performances as I thought I would be. Because of that, I felt like I was able to enjoy the moment better!

The work I did in ensemble classes helped so much, because I got to work with The Voice band, who’s members are some of the most incredible musicians in the business. The Drummer actually happened to be a Berklee alum! So, that was cool! Like, I mentioned before, those ensembles really helped me feel more confident during band rehearsals for the show. I was able to communicate my ideas clearly with the band, and I just think it helped everything to jell better overall!

Learn more about Brittany on her website, keep up with her on Facebook, or check out her newest videos on her YouTube Channel.

Just Announced: Gladys Knight at the BCMN Conference

Register Here

Known as the “Empress of Soul,” the seven-time Grammy Award-Winner, Gladys Knight will join Ron Weisner’s panel, Remaining Fresh, Being Creative: Developing Artists for Tomorrow’s Industries, at this year’s Berklee City Music Network Conference in Los Angeles on November 2-5.

Georgia-born, Gladys Knight began performing gospel music at age four in the Mount Mariah Baptist Church.  Three years later, she won the grand prize on television’s “Ted Mack’s Amateur Hour,” and the following year, she, along with her brother Bubba, her sister Brenda and her cousins William and Elenor Guest, formed The Pips. In 1959, Brenda and Elenor left the group and were replaced by Cousin Edward Patten and friend Langston George. The group was renamed Gladys Knight & The Pips, and following George’s departure in 1962, the classic line-up was in place.

Don’t miss Gladys Knight.  Click the link to register for the Berklee City Music Network Conference.

Register Here

BCMN Conference Spotlight: Tuesday Panel

Growth? What is It and Where Do We Begin?

Leveraging Resources to Support Our Children’s Future

This powerhouse panel brings together individuals with immense music industry experience, demonstrated nonprofit growth in student development, and legislative knowledge.  Mark Slavkin, moderator, will walk the panel through a dynamic discussion that addresses many of the issues we collectively face as a Network, music educators and arts administrators, and will offer innovative strategies for leveraging music resources to support the growth and development of our students, Network, and shared vision.  We’re advocating for our student’s development today and building a future for them tomorrow.

Click Here to Register

Ron Weisner is a legendary manager/producer of music-related live events, television shows, and specials. He has work with Michael Jackson,  MadonnaPaul McCartney, and Earth, Wind & Fire among many others.

Charly Schwartz is the COO of Little Kids Rock. Charly brings over twenty years of experience in team leadership, operational management, marketing and youth development.

Myka Miller, Executive Director of Harmony Project in Los Angeles, is responsible for putting musical instruments into the hands of over 2,000 children. She is a musician, oboist, teacher, and agent for social change through music.

Mark Slavkin is vice president for education at the Music Center: Performing Arts Center of Los Angeles County.  Mark directs a wide range of programs and services that help advance arts education in schools and communities across Los Angeles County.

RON            |         CHARLY             |       MYKA           |        MARK

                    

Click Here to Register