In partnership with
Developing a new, interconnected future for music education
The Play with Music Platform is a comprehensive, scalable music platform for education, leveraging music, collaboration & technology to re-imagine how kids learn & play with digital media in the 21st century. As much a tool for teachers and mentors as it is for students, the PWMP enhances the learning of not only basic music skills, but also the fundamentals of modern audio engineering, sound design, production & editing. Regardless of resources or skill level, the PWMP is designed to be an accessible catalyst for students everywhere to play with music.
Starting with a song structure provided by The New History, kids will learn the fundamentals of music collaboration, modern audio recording and ultimately create & play their own part to the shared song. They will choose an instrument (or use what is being taught in class), and each student will perform their original “part” on video. Next, they'll complete the song by building a “virtual band”, assembling their video performance with other videos on the PWMP Database (a database of other student performers from across Los Angeles, as well as professionals, and even celebrities!)
Learn more by watching our videos!
DURATION. After-school, Monday & Tuesday (3:30-5:30) January 12 - February 27 2015
LOCATION. Locke Jetspace
To create a relevant, 21st century after-school music program, inspire students to collaborate with each other and professional musicians through technology, and demonstrate both the need and interest for developing a scalable platform based on this pilot.
This extra-curricular program will reinforce the current Locke music curriculum (taught by Matthew Cotton) in an interactive and collaborative way. By the end of the program, each student will have composed and performed their own part to a contemporary song, received mentoring from professional musicians, and learned the basics of music production, sound engineering, performance technique and video editing. Professional musicians will come to the Jetspace each week to mentor students, perform live and record the composition they’ve prepared for the program. As students learn and develop their musical skills, they will compose their own *parts to the same song, and build *“virtual bands” with their peers and the participating professional musicians.
* Virtual Band - synchronized playback of multiple video recordings of musical performances in a constellation.
Song *part - a unique composition to be performed with an instrument (bass, guitar, piano, voice, etc). Song parts will be combined to create the “program song”.
Giving students the opportunity to create “virtual bands” in collaboration with their peers and professional musicians increases interest and proficiency in music as a passion or career.
Teaching the tech skills of modern music creation to students increases their ability to see music as a potential venue for a career, outlet for self-expression, and lowers the barrier to entry for using tech in general.
Creative collaboration with a diversity of people (peers and professionals) yields improved communication and confidence.
The PWMP will be appreciated and desired, with high engagement from students.
1. Increase in (evaluated through qualitative research methods) :
a. interest in music as a passion or career
b. tech skills and musicianship (composing, proficiency playing music, and using music and video software)
2. Ability to reinforce or improve student performance in music class
3. Majority student advocacy for program to return/expand
5. High level of student retention/completion (relative to other after-school programs at Locke)
6. High level of student engagement in program offerings (mentoring, writing a song part, performing)
At the completion of the pilot, in partnership with Green Dot Public Schools and the CalArts CAP program, we hope to build a tablet-app based system that can scale the what we have done in the pilot into a fully automated platform that can be used in nearly any music education environment. Our goal is to make the Play with Music platform (PWMP) available to any music program that wants it.
Short answer: To connect & inspire students with a relevant, 21st century music education.
Long answer: Music education has not changed much for American public school kids in the last 200 years... but the way music is made, recorded and shared is at the forefront of the technological revolution.
We believe music class should be relevant musically & technically -- and significant creatively & culturally. The PWMP adds new dimensions to learning music, while empowering kids to collaborate & connect across physical and socio-economic boundaries.
In 2003, California arts funding took a nose-dive, decreasing by 94%. Today, the state spends less than $1 per kid per year. Without funding, many public schools, especially in communities with low resources, do not have comprehensive or inspiring music programs. The PWMP is a low-cost tool that will equip any teacher in any class to give students a dynamic, fun and relevant music education.
Short answer: Because of the incredible need as well as the amazing support of Green Dot Public Schools
Long answer: Watts is the 3rd deadliest neighborhood in LA County, more than 6 killings per square mile, and a median age of 21, among the youngest in the county. We must rally hard for these young minds. The work of Green Dot Public Schools aligns with our vision to create bridges across socio-economic divides with resources and programs that feed the brain and the soul.
Short answer: Because it makes us smarter, builds community and fosters a stronger economy.
Long answer: A study released in 2012 by the National Endowment for the Arts monitored over 70,000 at-risk American students of various ages for 19 years. They found at-risk students with access to arts-rich curriculum had: higher GPAs & test scores, graduated from high school, attended college, read the newspaper, volunteered & voted more than those without. Another UCLA study of 25,000 middle & high school students found that students involved in the arts watch less TV, do more community service, and are generally more engaged with education.
With regards to economic impact - the Los Angeles creative sector consists of nearly 1 million direct & indirect jobs. These numbers are projected to continually grow, with, for example, 14% more sound engineers (earning $59,470/year on average) by 2016. When we foster creative platforms & programs, we can prepare students for these jobs (if they so desire them), which can help stabilize at-risk communities.
Short answer: They've got the kids.
Long answer: Green Dot Public Schools, the largest charter school organization in Southern California, serves 10,300 at-risk students in 18 schools across LA, half of them turnarounds of LAUSD’s lowest-performing schools. 90% of students graduate with 76% going on to attend college, making their schools among the highest performing ‘minority’ schools in California. Our pilot will be run out of Locke High School, which was one of the lowest-achieving schools in the nation in 2008.
This year, Green Dot launched an effort to return Locke’s music program to its former glory, from repairing instruments to renovating classrooms & building an outreach program. A new music curriculum is being designed from scratch, creating a unique opportunity for the PWMP to innovate & inform that process.
Short answer: They have the brains.
Long answer: The Cal Arts Community Arts Program offers free, after-school and education-based arts programs for youth ages 6-18. They've received numerous honors, including the National Arts & Humanities Youth Program Award for fostering the creative & intellectual development of America's children. Their teaching corps is comprised of accomplished CalArts Faculty, alumni and student instructors. This corps will be our on-the-ground forces; training teachers, mentoring, running after-school programs, and teaching students. They'll also be informing our research and pedagogical framework. CalArts CAP has run extensive symposiums for student content rights management, and will provide crucial expertise in managing this arena as well.
Short answer: They've got the Jetspace.
Long answer: NRBLB’s LA2050 award-winning project created the Locke “Jet Space”, which we’ll use as our program’s epicenter. We’ll increase the Jetspace’s impact by bringing music programming and permanent technological infrastructure. In the future, as we expand the PWMP’s reach, we hope to work hand-in-hand with NRBLB as they continue to imagine the future of creative spaces and programing in more schools.
Short answer: Yes!
Long answer: We'll be performing copious amounts of research as we develop and implement this platform. We'll collect the digital data that directly correlates students' engagement in music (via the PWMP) with test stores and other indicators longitudinally (our algorithms will also track a curriculums success by revealing specific engagement indicators per child). We want to provide the hard evidence that could show direct correlations between levels of engagement in music and academic, social and economic achievements.
At a time when arts education funding has taken a stark downturn, it’s more vital than ever to use innovative methods & practices to ensure students (especially the at-risk) have places & contexts to acquire tools to be creative, imaginative & productive members of an engaged society.
Our education system is often accused of separating students from engaging deeply in play & benefiting from the incalculable value & creativity it fosters. The current system can isolate students in a narrow academic paradigm, that earnestly tries to ensure their basic economic survival, but can become deeply uncreative & alienating to kids, resulting in their rejection of education entirely. This, coupled with a rapidly changing society & economy, can leave them unprepared for the “real world”, and/or with skill sets for menial jobs soon obsolete.
We want our kids to be given (at least in their music classrooms) the tools to play & collaborate on positive creative projects, & be inspired by mentors that have succeeded in ways they admire. We want our students to then use these tools as a gateway to good jobs.
Music is not just an art form or a career path... at it’s core, it’s a platform for sharing, storytelling & playing together. That’s why music has almost always been at the heart of our communities. For example, if every school in LA participated, our virtual music network would bridge socio-economic and physical distances, foster connection, & unite students across the city through creative play. Not only would this nourish our economy, but contribute significantly to a safer, more equitable and vibrant city.