2017: A Flagship Year!

The best elevator pitch for Notes for Notes always ends up being some version of “We build, equip and staff after school recording studios for youth…” Ostensibly the most important piece of that sentence, and incidentally the thing that sets us apart form other after school music programs, is the BUILDING of our incredible spaces.

This year we were able to round out our fleet to 20 STUDIOS NATIONWIDE!!! This number has always existed as a bit of a milestone and it felt great to accomplish it this year!

The build team started off strong in Austin, breaking out our new mobile build kits, outfitted in newly sponsored RYOBI gear!


Austin became one of our first generation of Craftsman studios, paying special attention to detailing on custom stages, and custom diffuser panels!

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On the famous “Chitlin Circuit”, The Doris Miller Auditorium is a special space that now not only holds music history, but a space for future generations to create music as well.

austin track

Next up was a renovation in our Mar Vista studio where we were able to get creative in how to pack a big punch in this space!

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Halfway thru the year, we hit our favorite month of June! This year our activation at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival was the belle of the ball!


Working with our partner Jeremy at Wind River Tiny Homes, we were able to activate a fully operational recording studio INSIDE a tiny home at Bonnaroo! There we invited artists to feature on youth produced tracks to create a special experience for everyone involved…


Jon Batiste tickles the pearly whites at Bonnaroo!


San Holo production master class!

NOTES FOR NOTES ROO 2017 (2 of 5)

Notes for Notes youth rehearse for the big gig!

Meanwhile back at home base in Nashville, the build team was feverishly working on getting our Flagship studio online and operational…while construction was underway, we found time to give our two existing Nashville studios a facelift, bringing them up to date with our latest tech, gear and aesthetic elements.

In November, we were proud to announce the opening of our Flagship East Nashville Studio, with help from our friend Lindsay Ell!

Lindsay Ell jams with 18-year-old guitarist Stephen Dashiff at the opening of a new Notes for Notes studio, supported by CMA Foundation, in the Cleveland Park neighboorhood of East Nashville on Monday, Nov. 6, 2017.

Lindsay Ell jams with 18-year-old guitarist Stephen Dashiff at the opening of a new Notes for Notes studio, supported by CMA Foundation, in the Cleveland Park neighboorhood of East Nashville.


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Lindsay gives us the honorary first strum!!!

Through a generous gear donation from the Rubber Tracks Studio in Brooklyn NY, we were able to outfit our flagship studio with top of the line professional gear, our most robust workflow ever, including an API 1608 Console!


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To round out the year at the magic number 20, the team found itself inside the James Jordan Boys and Girls Club in Chicago, Illinois. Steeped in Bulls tradition, and bustling with youth energy, this studio is a special milestone for the team!


2017 was a great year for the Notes for Notes build team! We were able to build some great studios in some exciting new cities and revamp existing studios in others. On the horizon we look forward to an exciting 4 new studios in New York city next year! Seattle, San Francisco and Denver are in the works as well! Here’s to an equally exciting 2018, Happy New Year!



N4N Blogs: There is a story everyday…

Take a look inside the studios with our weekly studio blogs written by those witnessing it all. Every N4N Studio has a micro site on featuring, amongst many resources, a weekly studio blog showcasing the stories, music, pictures and video of the studio happenings. Check it out and subscribe to the studio of your choice or better yet, all of them!

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Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival to feature tasting, music

Published in Lompoc Record on October 3, 2017

A polo event featuring wine tasting and live music from acclaimed performers will be held at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club Saturday, Oct. 7.

The Santa Barbara Polo & Wine Festival will feature two polo matches and tastings from several Santa Barbara County wineries.

Tickets for the festival are on sale now; $1 of every ticket sold will be donated to Notes for Notes, a non-profit organization that designs, equips and staffs after-school recording studios inside Boys and Girls Clubs. Notes for Notes offers youth opportunities to explore, create and record music for free.

Read the full article HERE.

Making Connections and Building Communities through Music

Published in Nashville Arts Magazine: August 2017

WORDS John Pitcher

PHOTOGRAPHY Anthony Ross Tyler

It has long been known that music is the universal language. Notes for Notes, the national nonprofit that’s opening a flagship music studio at East Nashville’s Boys and Girls Club, believes music is also a powerful tool for social good.

Since its founding a decade ago at a teen center in Santa Barbara, California, Notes for Notes has empowered thousands of young people through music. The program introduces children and teens to the various mysteries of the music industry, from songwriting and instrument playing to sound mixing and recording. Arguably, though, the most important lessons learned in Notes for Notes studios are not about music.

“Of course, we want young people to be good musicians,” program co-founder and CEO Philip Gilley tells Nashville Arts Magazine. “But at the end of the day, it’s more important to us how they grow as people than how well they play an instrument.”

That sentiment has been the driving force behind the program from the beginning. Notes for Notes got its start in the mid-aughts, when Gilley was serving as a mentor in the Big Brothers and Sisters program in Santa Barbara. Gilley wanted to make a connection with his “little brother” and pass on something meaningful to him. At first, Gilley, an accomplished guitarist, thought about introducing the boy to his instrument. The child, however, wanted to learn the drums.

This seeming dilemma inspired Gilley to start a nonprofit, one that would provide access to multiple instruments and recording equipment. Along with his friend Natalie Noone, daughter of music icon and Herman’s Hermits frontman, Peter Noone, Gilley approached a Santa Barbara teen center about a collaboration. Gilley and Noone would provide some of their own used music gear if the center would provide a space for a studio. The center agreed, and Gilley and Noone opened what was then called MusicBox Studio in March 2007.