Check out this beautiful video from our partners at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell. It shows how Music Mentorship is thriving— and essential— at their Music Clubhouse during these challenging times.
Posted with permission from the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell.
In light of the very difficult times we are all facing with Covid-19, we are especially pleased to announce the opening of a new Studio Clubhouse in Brockton, MA, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South!
The Brockton Studio Clubhouse Director, Guyclaude Lacossade, said it best. “The kids have many questions and frustrations right now. Music helps them express how they feel. It gives them the tools they need to get through this time… Our job is to help them navigate these difficult moments through grace.”
“How can we create work that speaks to the times we’re in?” asks Guyclaude Lacossade, the Music Clubhouse Director at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South, home to the newest Music & Youth Studio Clubhouse.
Guyclaude is tapping into the unprecedented challenges facing youth development organizations right now: how to create a balance between making sure that members’ most basic needs are met while also enriching their lives. “In addition to the concerns about physical health and safety,” says Guyclaude, “the kids have many questions and frustrations right now. Music helps them express how they feel. It gives them the tools they need to get through this time… Our job is to help them navigate these difficult moments through grace.”
In that sense, music is more important now than ever. And it’s one of the reasons why the Boys & Girls Club proceeded with investing in the new Studio amidst the pandemic. The relationship between the two organizations began several years ago when Music & Youth provided a small grant for a “starter” music studio. Since then, the Club has worked hard to open their full Studio Clubhouse in Brockton.
“Music is a convener of people. Whatever genre they like, music brings people together,” says Derek Heim, President & CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro South. “For a lot of our teens, they’re looking for a place to become who they want to be in the future. Music & Youth is about mentorship and role modeling, and Guyclaude is all about relationship-building with our kids. He understands the City of Brockton and the youth we’re serving.”
Guyclaude’s vision for the Studio Clubhouse is to “allow the teens— many of whom are black and brown youth— to utilize their own capacity to create change and cause a culture shift.” The process involves creating opportunities and taking a holistic approach. “If I can make sure you’re ok up here,” Guyclaude says, pointing to his head, “then you’ll make the best music.”
This Summer BGCD has taken a whole new approach to music instruction with a new virtual component added to on-site lessons for members ages 10-18. Thanks to our partners at the Music & Youth Initiative who stepped up during this time to provide equipment for members to take home. Currently 24 members are taking 2 lessons a week for 60 minutes in Piano, Guitar, Drums, Bass and Sax. In addition, Music & Youth are providing Home Studio Kits for self-recording and on the go Mobile Studios which are part of the Teen program.
Kids are drawn to music. Music has the ability to break down barriers and encourage vulnerability. Music production, from start to finish, also encourages collaboration, the use of math & science skills, and commitment. All of these are reasons we have Music & Youth Clubhouses in two of our locations, and we offer a mobile studio component. Kids love coming to the Music & Youth Clubhouses, and it is no surprise they have been missing their time there.
Jaclyn is 13-years-old and comes to the Boys & Girls Club each day after school. Her parents work odd hours, so Jaclyn is often at the Club until closing time at 8pm and is regularly picked up by her grandparents. Until recently, Jaclyn struggled in school. Her academics were suffering and she was experiencing behavioral issues. Her passion for music has helped her improve both her grades and her behavior at school.
Jaclyn loves coming to the Music Clubhouse at the Boys & Girls Club, because she gets to write and perform her own songs. She says that the staff “helps me understand how to use the studio and all the gear inside of it. They teach me how to produce music and write parts for original songs.”
One Music Clubhouse staff member says he enjoys seeing Jaclyn “continue to develop her musical skills and make this a hobby that she can take a lot of pleasure in doing,” He adds, “She greatly enjoys the time she spends in the studio with her friends, working on her projects. She is getting more and more curious about music and how we can enhance the things she is working on.”
In addition to the improved academics, Jaclyn’s confidence has grown through opportunities to perform her music in front of a live audience. She performed at a showcase at a local gallery and at a holiday event at the Club, where she sang in front of 500 guests.
Article re-printed with permission from Reverb.com
If you work at an after-school music program, maybe this dilemma will sound familiar: Your students want to learn how to make music, but maybe not the kind they find in their school’s classical, marching band, or choral curricula.
The Music & Youth Initiative came up with a cost-effective way to get powerful, contemporary music-making tools into the hands of students. The battery-powered workstation the group devised has everything students need to create modern pop, hip-hop, R&B, or other current music, and it will cost just about $1,000 total.
Imagine being a young teen with the cards stacked against you… You’re bullied for being small; your grades are slipping at school because you have trouble focusing; your home life is unstable, because your dad is finishing a prison term. This was the reality for 14-year-old Warren, and it was taking its toll. Warren was experiencing depression and was terrified of his dark thoughts, he confessed to Music Clubhouse staff.
“I recommended to him that he could use music as a mechanism to release those feelings,” says his Music Clubhouse Director. “I told him that it’s a great tool for releasing stress and a good way to express his thoughts.”
Warren, who always loved music, took this advice to heart and started showing up at the Music Clubhouse every day. He learned new chord progressions on the guitar, plunked out melodies on the piano keys, and asked lots of questions about theory. Warren joined as many instrument and studio workshops as he could: guitar, piano, drums, and recording.
And the results? Not only has Warren’s musicianship improved, but his self-confidence has increased tremendously. His troubling incidents at school have subsided and his grades have gone up. He even had the confidence to perform in several Showcases at the Music Clubhouse.
At the most recent Showcase, Warren’s dad— recently released from prison— was able to attend. Warren and his dad both visibly beamed with pride as Warren performed one of his original songs.
“I believe that Warren has truly overcome a lot of hardship through the power of music,” says his Music Clubhouse Director. “He’s an excellent example of what our goal is at the Music Clubhouse.”
17-year-old Music Clubhouse member, Eddie, desperately needed some stability. In one year, he had moved over a dozen times all over the country before finally finding a suitable living situation with extended family. The chaos of that year affected his personal life and his academics.
The Music Clubhouse became a place where he could get his life back together.
Through determination and passion for music, Eddie learned to play the piano and master some very difficult pieces. Eddie quickly emerged as a natural mentor, and was soon hired as a Youth Leader in his Music Clubhouse. “He’s done a great job assisting in the Music Clubhouse, as well as running some of his own programs with our younger members,” says the Club’s Director of Operations. The younger participants in Eddie’s piano workshop all look up to him tremendously.
“It’s just really good to be able to bond through music with the kids,” says Eddie. “A kid can sing about whatever he wants and learn a new method of self-expression.”
This same opportunity for self-expression has inspired Eddie in his own life. He was the main youth speaker at his Club’s Annual Meeting. In attendance were Board members and key contributors and supporters, including City Counselors and the Mayor. At the conclusion of his speech, Eddie was given a standing ovation.
“Eddie is an inspiration not only to our kids, but a reminder to our staff on how important our work is,” says the Club’s Director of Operations. “Having the stability in the Club and the Music Clubhouse helped Eddie concentrate on his studies, become a leader, and gave him clarity about his future— he has chosen to join the Marines after graduation this summer.”