As with so much of the music industry, the world of music education is constantly growing and evolving to challenge the status quo. Here we look at seven different organizations that changing who people take on music education for the better.
Guest post by Jeremy Young of Soundfly's Flypaper
It’s no secret that here at Soundfly, we’re passionate about providing an online music education experience that combines high-quality content, scientifically-backed learning models, and goal-driven peer-to-peer coaching to help each and every musician advance their skills and opportunities in the music industry. But every now and then we gotta shout our cohorts, too, and we’re proud to acknowledge the cornucopia of music educators out there who are committed to challenging the status quo and creating an experience for their students that goes above and beyond.
Here are seven of our favorite organizations that are changing the way people are approaching music education, and why they’re worth checking out.
Sonic Arts for All! (SAFA!)
Serving K-12 and special needs students of NYC, Boston, and beyond, SAFA! is an emerging non-profit that teaches students about electronic and free experimental music in a way that makes the process playful, rather than intimidating. SAFA works to build a creative and liberating environment for students to get familiar with at-home technology, such as PCs and tablets, that can help them create music, as well as hosting workshops where kids get hands-on experience with digital studio recording equipment.
To date, they’ve provided programming to over 200 students in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Puerto Rico, and Los Angeles, and hosted teaching residencies at Powrplnt, Kiddie Science, The Brooklyn College Center for Computer Music, and IS 297, among other spaces.
Play On, Philly
What we like about Play On, Philly is their approach to measuring success through not only the evolution of talent, but through cold, hard, data. Working with an independent consulting firm to evaluate their students’ progress throughout the program, they rely on tests to measure memory, inhibition control, focus, and executive functioning skills to further support their beliefs that high-quality music education can actually increase overall academic achievement and confidence and behaviors in social situations.
Their students go on to average 10 points higher on standardized tests than their peers and score higher on English language arts and math tests, as well as demonstrating better focus and determination in their day to day.
Newport Festivals Foundation
The organizing body of the internationally celebrated Newport Folk Festival and Newport Jazz Festival in Rhode Island, Newport Festivals Foundation, is so much more than meets the eye. They facilitate the donation of new and gently used instruments to students throughout the United States, fund after-school music programs across the country, and develop programs that expose students to the traditions of jazz and folk music.
In 2019, they’re committed to partnering with festivals to fund more music education programs — and that’s just scratching the surface. They also donate to Guitars for Vetson Veterans Day, run workshops, donate to charities and nonprofits across the country, and so much more. This is a festival that truly goes above and beyond for their community and the music community at large.
Music Industry Inside Out
Based in Australia, Music Industry Inside Out is an ever-growing collection of resources (including a glossary of terms for navigating the business, like TM, sync, per diem, etc.), as well as a conglomeration of job listings, a calendar of national industry events, and opportunities, dates, masterclasses, and workshops that every musician would love to be aware of.
MIIO believes that an educated musician has a higher chance of seeing success in the current industry — so they provide whatever resources they can to make sure nobody loses out. We just wish this was global. Lucky Aussies!
Billing itself as “the ultimate team music camp,” this is one of those organizations that puts the fun of creating music back into their programming. I mean, just look at that video! At Camp Jam, teens learn to write songs, play collaboratively in bands, make music videos, hone their live performances, gain experience in how the music business works, and more.
Suited best to those interested in creating wide-appealing rock and pop music, this organization made our list due to their unflinching emphasis on making music creation fun, but keeping the outcomes at the forefront. They help campers learn the ins and outs of the music industry beyond just playing your instrument. Plus, it’s a traveling camp, so they hit multiple cities throughout the spring and summer, including, Atlanta (GA), Chicago (IL), Commerce (TX), Orange County (CA), Hartford (CT), and Washington D.C.
National Association for Music Education (NAFME)
A sort of smorgasbord of music education advocacy, NAfME advocates at the local, state, and national level to provide resources for teachers (both institutional and private) and parents, while hosting events for students and teachers to expand their horizons through music education. This is one of the largest organizations to make sure music education actually reaches our schools and community, and the work they do is pivotal.
Music Launch Co.
Designed with the emerging artist and industry professional in mind, mission-driven business (rather that traditional non-profit), Music Launch Co. is the brainchild of Music Launch Hub founder and music industry veteran Steve Palfreyman and our own Soundfly Mentor and Flypaper author, Angela Mastrogiacomo. Mastrogiacomo is also the founder of Muddy Paw PR, a boutique public relations agency that works with emerging artists on their latest releases as well as their social media and branding strategy.
Created out of a frustration for how the music industry currently lacks a sense of community and often puts up barriers to collaboration, Music Launch Co. seeks to bring artists and industry professionals together for a truly immersive experience with monthly activities and workshops. Their goal-oriented programming includes Q&As, live workshops, professional “speed dating” to pair artists with collaborators, and opportunities to learn the ins and outs of the industry. It truly is a support network of people who know exactly what it’s like to be where you are — and who want to see you succeed.
Jeremy Young is a Montreal-based musician, sound artist and improviser who loves giving advice to emerging artists on how to make their tours more effective. He writes, records and performs electroacoustic "concrète" music for tape, oscillators and amplified objects and surfaces, as well as solo guitar. He has performed and released material throughout Europe and the UK, Asia, the US and Canada, mostly with his trio Sontag Shogun.