There are few activities more fun than making music. Whether you play Mozart or AC/DC, it doesn’t matter. It’s all the same music and it’s all the same fun. Don’t look to public school systems to provide that for kids today, especially in economically challenged neighborhoods. It simply doesn’t happen.
Most people listen to music pretty much all the time these days. Kids are especially passionate about their musical interests. They listen to it every day. They talk about it. They identify with genres and styles. It is the same powerful experience of self-expression for them as it is for any era or generation.
So, given a real empty spot in music education, I invented a solution. It’s light-weight, economical and effective. It’s called Sound Art.
I started Sound Art 10 years ago because I see an opportunity to engage and enliven young people in developing all kinds of skills, working in artistic and intellectual collaboration, experiencing problem solving and improvisational thinking - all of which enlighten and magnify learning for any person throughout life.
Sound Art teaches music in the inner city areas of greater Los Angeles where there are no opportunities for arts education. When I say no opportunity, I mean neighborhoods with absolutely no access. Either the community is too far away from the few private music schools around or parents don’t have the time or the resources to take kids to lessons.
Sound Art is mobile because musicians don’t care where they play. What matters is that they do play - a lot. Sound Art, a team of musicians, is a moveable music program that travels anywhere. We go to the neighborhoods, set up in a room, a park, a classroom, an auditorium, whatever—and teach popular music. It’s a system that is in line with our times. We aren’t a “conservatory” where some can come and some can’t. We are a street team that brings what we’ve learned and experienced about playing music to any child who wants it.
Sound Art teaches the mechanics of making music from the ground up. We begin with popular music because that’s what is already embedded in the ears and the hearts of our students.
It is not a stretch to teach Adele’s “Rolling In The Deep” because the entire world has heard it and can sing it. It is, however, a revelation to be able to play it. It’s thrilling. It’s empowering. It is a victory. It’s even more exciting to be able to play all the parts - move through the band playing each instrument. After a few semesters of that with every song we teach, our students can actually play like real musicians.
Sound Art: http://www.soundartla.org/