Music and Youth Initiative Music Clubhouse program | City of Ideas

Posted 12/10/2012 by Collaborate Boston Application

Issue to be Addressed:
Teens in Boston’s underserved neighborhoods face many challenges, including high crime rates, concern for their safety and exposure to gang activity.  Often there is no adult at home when they get out of school, and they are looking for a safe place to go where they can feel productive.
Youth development organizations (Organizations) are a strong community resource, providing a safe haven for youth and teens.  They offer an afterschool place to go with fun activities; but more importantly they provide a strong support system, including adult mentorship, homework help and social development support.
These Organizations struggle with retaining youth as they enter their teenage years, and have difficulty attracting new teens.  At the top of the list for teen requests is a contemporary music program, yet there are very few afterschool music programs, primarily due to the lack of expertise and financial resources that are required to create and sustain such programs.
There is a wealth of research to support the value of music in developing academic, social and life skills as well as increasing self-confidence and building self-esteem.  Our organization works collaboratively to create vibrant music programs in existing organizations, geared specifically to pre-teen and teenage youth.

Project Proposed:
The essence of our project proposal is for us to collaborate with the organizations discussed in “Role of Collaboration”, to programmatically and financially sustain four “Music Clubhouses” – two in Dorchester and two in Roxbury.
Each Music Clubhouse, located in the Organization’s building, is a 1000 square foot dedicated facility equipped with the latest instruments and a recording studio.  Each is staffed by a full time Clubhouse director/teacher, as well as Berklee work-study students and volunteers who teach and provide adult mentorship.  Clubhouses also employ Youth Leaders, teens who have shown dedication to the program.  Youth who participate in the Music Clubhouse become members of the organization as a whole, receiving additional support services beyond music.

The Clubhouse provides formal lessons in guitar, keys, drums, bass and voice as well as instruction in using the fully equipped recording studio.  On average, each Clubhouse has 60 regular members who participate at least once a week and are enrolled in formal lessons.  “Open Studio” time provides youth with the opportunity to explore and practice. The program is designed to encourage youth to develop skills and confidence to perform at open mic nights and special events.  Over 60% of students learn enough to perform.

Role of Collaboration:
Music & Youth Initiative
Music & Youth’s mission is to use collaboration and the leveraging of collective resources and expertise, to create and sustain afterschool music programs for teens and pre-teens in underserved communities.  We provide our youth development partners with financial and programmatic support and a dedication to ensure that they succeed.  Our program support includes training; curriculum; workbooks and student resources; and staff support, including professional development.  We become the “music lifeline” for the Organizations. 
In addition, we take ownership for managing the overall collaboration and leveraging of resources among all our partners.

Youth Development Organizations
- Boys  & Girls Clubs of Boston (Roxbury and Dorchester sites)
- Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester
- Sociedad Latina (Mission Hill)

Each of these Youth Development Organizations “owns” their Music Clubhouse and has demonstrated long term leadership in youth development in their community. They provide the dedicated space in their existing facility, employ a full time Music Clubhouse director as an integral part of their staff, manage all aspects of Clubhouse operations, and integrate the per-teens and teens who participate in the Music Clubhouse into their overall youth development program.
Berklee College of Music
Berklee is the leading contemporary music college in the country and is a strong collaborative partner.  They provide (at no cost to the Organizations) work-study students who teach and mentor Clubhouse youth; this model of “young people teaching young people” has proven to be a strong component of the program.  Berklee donates a significant amount of computer and music equipment.  They provide a bridge for talented Clubhouse members to attend the Berklee City Music program, including the prestigious Berklee Summer Program, where high school seniors have an opportunity to earn a full scholarship to the college.
Avid Technology, Inc.
Avid is a corporate leader in audio/video hardware and software.  Avid donates equipment and software, as well as providing extensive technical assistance, to help us create state of the art music recording studios at each Clubhouse.  These studios enable youth to create CD’s, many of which include original songs.  Because the clubhouses have all standardized on Avid equipment, they are able to collaborate on joint projects bringing neighborhoods together through their mutual love of music.  Avid has provided professional development to Clubhouse directors, enabling them to more effectively help the Clubhouse youth work with this highly technical equipment/software.

The four Music Clubhouses serve over 100 youth who regularly participate and meet your target demographics; and many more who participate less frequently.  We are invested in creating opportunities to increase regular participation and make a greater impact.

Only 26% of Boston high schools report offering any arts education to more than 25% of their students.  There is almost no opportunity for young men, ages 10-18 to study contemporary music genres.  Music Clubhouses offer a safe, language and theme appropriate opportunity to study these genres of music; a key magnet that attracts teens.  Once these young men become involved in the Clubhouse, they have a safe place to not only learn music, but to benefit from the Organization’s overall support system.

Well-publicized research on the positive effects of music confirms that youth are THREE TIMES more likely to stay in school, score an average of 22% better in English and 20% better in Math standardized tests, and develop life skills; self-confidence & self-esteem.

This prize will provide valuable financial resources critical to continuing to offer and grow Music Clubhouses to these communities, as well as increase visibility and credibility to help us expand our efforts through new partners and donors.

Other information:
This collaboration focuses on developing and managing collective resources that strengthen the programming provided by leading youth development organizations; rather than creating another charity which, in a world of scarce resources, can be dilutive.
While music is often the key to getting these teens into these organizations, our holistic approach is towards providing them with an overall support system; from homework help, to hot meals, to academic and vocational counseling, to adult mentorship and support.  The Music Clubhouse becomes part of the culture of these Organizations as well, enriching all the youth who participate.
In addition to the collaborators included in this proposal, we have developed additional partners who make a meaningful contribution to this program including corporate partners (Zildjian, Gibson, D’Addario, Harmonix), university partners (Northeastern University, UMass Lowell, Colgate University) and foundation partners (Bank of America Charitable Foundation, Krupp Family Foundation). Music & Youth can provide additional information regarding these collaborators, but for the purpose of this proposal, we have focused on the collaborators that are most directly invested in this program.
We believe that this collaboration is unique – we have not found another similar program in the country.

Primary Contact:
Founded in 2005, Music & Youth Initiative is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Music & Youth has two full time volunteers (our co-founders) and employs a full time Program Manager.  As of December 2012, Music & Youth Initiative collaborates with 8 different organizations to host 11 Music Clubhouse sites in eastern Massachusetts.  Combined, all of our Music Clubhouses see over 2,000 youth visits a week, with more than 600 youth in formal music lessons.  Over 60% of students reach level of proficiency to perform at an open mic night, concert, or community event.  Our program targets underserved youth and is free (or at a minimal fee) to the youth who participate.

Partner 1:
Youth Development organizations

Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston:  Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston’s mission is to help young people, especially those most in need, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders by providing:  a safe haven filled with hope and opportunity, ongoing relationships with caring adults, and life-enhancing programs.  With 10 Clubs in Boston and Chelsea serving approximately 14,000 children and teens, ages 6 to 18, the Boys & Girls Clubs has a tremendous impact on youth in underserved communities.   The Music Clubhouse located in the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club (in Dorchester) was established September 2007 followed by a second location in the Yawkey Boys & Girls Club of Roxbury (established September 2010). 

Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester:   With three Clubs serving the Dorchester neighborhood and over 4,000 children ages 6 to 18 years old, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester’s mission is to inspire and enable all young people, from diverse circumstances, to realize their full potential by providing opportunities for personal growth to become contributing, caring and responsible members of the community.  Committed to providing meaningful arts opportunities, the Dorchester Club established a Music Clubhouse in August 2009. 

Sociedad Latina:  Sociedad Latina, located in Mission Hill, Roxbury, has worked in partnership with Latino youth and families to end destructive cycles of poverty, health inequities, and lack of educational and professional opportunities in their community.  Each year, Sociedad Latina serves 3,000 youth and adults. Three hundred of those youth (age 10-21) engage intensively with Sociedad Latina through their comprehensive array of daily programming designed to build skills in four areas: Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture.  Their Music Clubhouse, established in February 2009, has been a shining example of how a supportive community can use music to empower their members.

Partner 2:
Avid Technology, Inc:  Headquartered in Burlington Ma, Avid creates the digital audio and video technology that creative professionals use to make the most listened to, most watched and most loved media in the world – from the most prestigious and award-winning feature films, music recordings, and television shows, to live concert tours and news broadcasts. One of Avid’s most influential and pioneering solutions used in the Music Clubhouse is Pro Tools® recording software; the industry standard in music production.  Their innovative digital audio and video solutions continue to revolutionize the art of creative storytelling, and have earned hundreds of awards, including Grammys, Oscars, and Emmys.

Partner 3:
Berklee College of Music:  With over 4,000 students, the mission of Berklee College of Music is to educate, train, and develop students to excel in music as a career.
Berklee College of Music was founded on the revolutionary principle that the best way to prepare students for careers in music is through the study and practice of contemporary music. For more than half a century, the college has evolved to reflect the state of the art for music and the music business; leading the way with the world’s first baccalaureate studies in jazz, rock, electric guitar, film scoring, songwriting, turntables, electronic production, and more than a dozen other genres and fields of study. 
In addition to providing the Music Clubhouses with work study students, equipment and programming, a number of recent Berklee graduates serve as the full time Music Clubhouse Director at various Clubhouses in the area. The Music Clubhouse program is a local partner of the college’s national afterschool music program for underserved teens, the Berklee City Music Network, located in 30 cities.

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