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Audition Day At Carver!

we make musicjen at carvermidi controllers

We’re here at Carver High getting ready to audition teens for our new teen lead entertainment group!  Note:  You’ll be hearing the name Satsuma a lot in the next few months…  Girl can sang

Building Emotional Recognition Through Music

Happy New Years!  This year in the studio we are going to be leading exercises with the intent of developing emotional understanding in our youth.  “It has received less attention than the impact on intellectual development and attainment, despite the fact that the effects on achievement may in part be mediated by an increase in social and cultural capital.”*  We are piloting an exercise I like to call “Musical Treasure Hunt.”  Each week, a different emotion will be written and posted on my door.  The youth will be tasked to write down a song they believe best exemplifies this emotion.  On Fridays at 5 o’clock, we will come together and listen to each song.  I will also play a song I believe portrays the emotion.  We will then vote to find out who the class thinks has the song that best encompasses the emotion of the week.  The winner will get a piece of chocolate!  The theme for the first week is surprise.  The inspiration behind this program came from a research paper by Susan Hallam titled *The Power of Music: It’s Impact on the Intellectual, Social and Personal Development of Children and Young People, specifically this paragraph:

“In addition to developing personal and social skills, music may also have the capacity to increase emotional sensitivity. Resnicow, Salovey and Repp (2004) found that there was a relationship between the ability to recognize emotions in performances of classical piano music and measures of emotional intelligence which required individuals to identify, understand, reason with and manage emotions using hypothetical scenarios conveyed pictorially or in writing. The two were significantly correlated, which suggests that identification of emotion in music performance draws on some of the same sensibilities that make up everyday emotional intelligence.”

We will post video and feedback from the pilot run of the program next week.  Here is my selection which I will be presenting:

Teen Development In 2017

I’m so proud of my teens.  They’ve grown so much this year.  Here are some comparison before and after tracks.  Jacorey and Marquis really found their unique sound this year.  Reminds me of The Cool Kids out of Chicago.  Jaylon and Kadarious wrote a true story rap about when their brothers, friends, and they themselves got arrested.  I am proud of them for bringing some truth to their lyrics.

Marquis and Jacorey before:

Marquis and Jacorey after 6 months of consistent studio time:

Kadarius and Jaylon before:

Kadarious and Jaylon after:

Announcing Our First Student Lead Initiative: NFN Ent. Group

I have had several teens emerge as leaders and creative curators in the studio.  Jacorey and Marquis consistently make the most of their time and always pump out killer tracks.  Today, we discussed starting an Entertainment Group where teens are the driving force behind the scenes.  They are hyped about the idea.  Jacorey wants to be the in house engineer and Marquis will be one of our artists.  We are going to partner with South Atlanta High and Carver High to hold auditions and fill the roles of; rappers, singers, producers, engineers, instrumentalists, creative director, booking agent, social media guru.  The group will work to release 5 mixtapes next year and market them .  All songs, marketing, branding, and production will be entirely youth lead.

New Music!

I’ve got new tunes from Christa, Lila, and my South Atlanta High School crew.  Lila’s track is a fun tune where we explored trumpets and their utility in compositions.  In Christa’s new track, we explored singing in rounds.

My South Atlanta crew did a radio edit on a song about what it takes to survive in their environment.  Keeping a positive mindset is essential.  This can be heard throughout the song in the lyrical theme of “winning.”  We also talked about how their environment has desensitized them to guns.  We talked about the difference between glorifying violence and acknowledging realities in lyrics.  One of my teens notably remarked, “Every black man in America needs a gun.”  They stressed that they would never use a gun unprovoked.  They, however, feel it is important to be ready for when you have to use one.  All of them have told me they know someone who has been mugged or attacked.   “If you are sweet or soft, you will get taken advantage of.”  For them, putting forth a hardened image is a survival tactic.  It is my goal to have them open up about this topic in more detail through their lyrics in future songs.

1st Annual Notes For Notes Benefit Show

We had our first annual Notes For Notes Benefit Show last week at Smith’s Olde Bar which featured Alex Guthrie, Chelsea Shag, Baby Rose, and NFN’s own D’Angelo Miles.  Big thanks to Evan and Garrett from 99X’s “Must Not Suck” for emceeing the event, and Juliett Rowe from Georgia Music Partners for basically putting everything together.  It was an awesome night filled with good vibes and good music.  See ya’ll next year!


Atlanta and Cleveland Team Up For Collab Track

Lila is a nine year old home school student who comes to the studio to record her songs on Wednesdays.  This is the first song she wrote.  We put a slamming bass and guitar line to it, but when it came to drums knew we should find someone special.  That’s where Caleb comes in.  Caleb comes in to our Cleveland Studio before most youth get out of school and plays drums.  I heard a video he shared and knew he should be the one to collaborate with Lila.  I sent Ryan, our Cleveland leader, the track.  They loved it and put some sweet drums to it.  It came together beautifully and I sent it to a volunteer from SAE for mixing.  It’s my pleasure to present to you, “Momma Told Me,”  Atlanta and Cleveland’s first collaborative track!