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The Big Payback: May 3, 2017

Notes for Notes™ is participating in Middle Tennessee’s day of giving, The Big Payback, for the 4th year on Wednesday, May 3rd!

Funds raised during this day will help support Nashville’s 3rd Studio, which will be located in East Nashville’s Cleveland Park neighborhood.

Our pup friend, Beast, is hopping around East Nashville to help spread the word and get your support! Give any amount over $10, anytime between 12am and 11:59pm (Central Standard Time), from any city in any state, and you’ll help us top the leaderboard!!

Beast in EastAbout The Big Payback

The Big Payback is a community-wide, 24-hour online giving challenge hosted by The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee. This charitable event will help area nonprofits raise much-needed dollars and bring awareness to pressing needs in our community.

In the past three years, The Big Payback has helped raise more than $6.5 million dollars for nearly 800 local nonprofits – including schools and religious institutions.

On Wednesday, May 3rd, let’s show everyone just how generous Middle Tennessee residents are when we support each other.

This year, donors will have the ability to pre-schedule gifts for The Big Payback. If you will not be able to make a donation on May 3, 2017 but still want to support Notes for Notes, you can go to TheBigPayback.org and set up your gift starting on Wednesday, April 26. Your gift will be processed when the giving day officially opens at midnight on May 3, 2017. Please note, pre-scheduled donations will not be eligible for incentives, bonuses and additional prizes.

New Austin Studio Build!!!

Written by Jarrad James
dorismiller_auditorium22We recently built out our 16th new studio inside the Doris Miller Auditorium in collaboration with the Austin Parks and Rec Department!

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PACKING UP THE NEW RYOBI TOOLS!!

This was a particularly exciting build for me because we recently received a gear donation sponsorship from Ryobi power tools! Ryobi is awesome and helped us put together a very robust build kit that can now hit the ground with me for every new studio build!

After getting two flight cases full of power tools  under 50 pounds each, I was off to Austin for my first ever visit to TEXAS! As soon as I hit the ground, I hopped in the rental truck and participated in a Build Team time honored tradition: IKEA Swedish meatballs!

After getting furniture for the new Studio, it was time to actually set eyes on the physical space for the first time!

First step is to unbox and inventory all of the fun new gear.

While I waited for Phil and Ray to arrive on day two, I got right to work plotting out and hanging acoustic treatment panels, as well as guitar hooks.

Now with Phil and Ray on the ground in Austin, and the Build Team in full force, we put those Ryobi tools to proper use with one of our crazy “custom” projects: diffuser panels!

Speaking of custom, the builders absolutely SLAYED this stage made of 120 year old reclaimed local Austin barnwood:

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“The sustain, listen to it.”

So after a few days of hustle, a LOT of breakfast tacos and proper Texas BBQ, things started to come together!

This project was super fun, and maybe, our easiest most impressive build yet! We always say that each new studio build becomes our “Flagship” studio, resetting the bar for what our spaces can be. I am so happy to take on my new role as Director of Studio Architecture and continue to push our team to design, build and equip the rockin-est free youth recording studio environments in the country!

We also say that a studio is not truly a Notes for Notes studio until there are youth there, making music, bringing it to life with their creativity, confidence, community, and relationships along with the help of an awesome Program Director. Until then, it is simply a room full of gear. Really, really nice gear.

The build team has another notch in its belt. Number 16. Simply add youth and watch the magic happen.

Can’t wait to see the heat that the youth of the Live Music Capital of the World bring…

N4N in The City of Rock ‘N’ Roll

If you are in Cleveland you can visit the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame AND the Notes for Notes™ Studio and the Boys & Girls Club of Cleveland. Notes for Notes was honored to open the Cleveland studio thanks to the support of the Hot Topic Foundation as well as locally based Audio Technica. At the time of the opening back in May of 2016, this marked our 12th studio and the first of the year. Generously built by Turner Foundation and led by Mitch Zaharewicz the studio was built perfectly to the N4N designs making this one of our nicest and largest studios to date.

You see, rock and roll isn’t a career or hobby – it’s a life force. It’s something very essential~The Edge

We’ve been at since May rocking and rolling with studio sessions, jam sessions, lessons, podcasts and more. As you’ve heard a thousand times before, our studios would be nothing without our team. Ryan Easter, a Cleveland native and grandson of a Cleveland Indian first basemen, is the difference maker of this studio. A pro behind the board and producer extraordinaire, Ryan is an incredible asset to the N4N team but especially to the youth that come to the studio every day for a dose of music… and life.

Take the studio for a spin with the Google Tour above!

The Cleveland studio is the genesis of an introduction from Dusty Peugeot who in addition to sitting on the Club’s board is the brother of our very own team member Kristin Myers. A few conversations later and we were finding ourselves right at home working with the wonderful BGC organization run by CEO Ron Soeder. This is also one of the few clubs we’ve been fortunate enough to work with that has such a robust dedicated arts program, led by the incomparable Matt Bott! When we shared with our partners at Hot Topic (Joe Emory of course!) that we wanted to open in Cleveland they were extremely supportive providing the resources to open this studio, they even chipped in the man power providing employees from the local stores to volunteer to build some exciting Ikea furniture.

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Hot Topic team volunteering on the studio build

This studio also marks the first and only location to feature an Audio Technica Mix Room! Thanks to one of our longest supporting sponsors AT who has sponsored every one of our studios with the BEST mics and headphones, this studio represents a flagship arsenal of the AT line from the wireless guitar and mic setups to top of line broadcast mics. This studio is set UP! It also features custom GIK acoustic panels  with printed AT products showcased. In the words of The Dude “It really ties the room together”. Extra special thanks to our microphone angel Roxanne Ricks!

This studio is set UP! Thanks to Audio Technica

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Since the opening in May it has been a steady (at times overwhelming) flow of youth coming through the studio. Check out this great article on the opening from Cleveland.com. Be sure to follow all the incredible updates like this ONE from the N4N Cleveland Studio Page that features blogs, music, schedules and the ability to chat with Ryan directly about getting in the studio. So next time you are in Cleveland and after (or before) you’ve checked out the miles of historic guitars at the Rock Hall please stop in and say hi at the studio and hear the next generation making hits!

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There were a lot of times in our lives where people doubted us, told us we’re not good at anything, and my sisters, they gave up. But I didn’t. And they told me that even though they gave up that I should keep going to keep our legacy going.
~ Dayshanna, 15

A Positive Influence on N4N

We were extremely saddened to hear about the passing of Alan Thicke yesterday. Alan was a very talented actor as America’s patriarch on ‘Growing Pains’ but most importantly he was a husband and a father off screen. At Notes for Notes we were honored to have spent a little time with Alan since his son Robin was our very first artist to visit our very first Studio in the Boys & Girls Club Studio of Santa Barbara.  A proud father in the background watching his son engage with our members, passing on knowledge I’m sure he imparted on his sons.

robin-and-ricoN4N’s resident golden voice, Rico performs an impromptu a cappella for Robin with Alan, Carter and N4N member Luis looking on.

Alan’s wife Tanya was very welcoming to Notes for Notes in Santa Barbara and helped make the visit with Robin possible. That visit marked the beginning of a connection with the Thicke family because we also met Alan’s youngest son, Carter. Carter would be introduced to Notes for Notes that day and later return as a volunteer. Still in high school but an accomplished guitar player, he would volunteer teaching at our SB West location and was a welcome addition to the team and wonderful personality to have in the studio. It was always a joy to catch up with Alan when he would come to pick up Carter from the studio.

robin-and-luisRobin talking music with Luis while Alan hangs in the background unwrapping Robin’s latest album for him to sign and gift to youth.

It is a testament of a great father when his sons strive to make a positive influence in the world around them. We were lucky to see that first hand when Robin and Carter were so generous with their time to the next generation in our Santa Barbara Studios. We were honored to know Alan just a little bit and our organization is all the better for it. Our sincere condolences to the Thicke Family.

N4N Arrives in The Big Easy

It’s amazing it has taken us this long to arrive in a city so synonymous with music.  For those that have been you know that the city doesn’t know how to be quiet but it’s not just constant noise, it’s constant music! Any street corner at any time can be the scene of a rousing jazz jam from consummate professionals or young musicians cutting their teeth in the historic capital of jazz. Side note: if you’ve never been make a point of hanging around Frenchmen street for the hotspot of the aforementioned scene.

I remember a conversation Rod and I had back in 2012 about which city would be our next. The duel was between Detroit and NOLA, both worthy and musically iconic in their own right. Thanks to a grant from the Knight Foundation at the time we were lucky to pursue developing Detroit first, however, our focus has never wavered to make it to this great city. On September 6th, 2016 we opened the doors to the NOLA Notes for Notes® Studio at the NFL-YET Clubhouse in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeast Louisiana.  We were honored to welcome our generous partners from the CMA Foundation as well as country star Eric Paslay to help upon the studio. For those that have been to an N4N grand opening you know we do things a little differently; no ribbon cutting here, we strum the first guitar!  This was the first opening in which we had a DOUBLE strum to open the studio with Eric Paslay and Matt Owens of Clark Construction.

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Matt Owens and Clark Construction are the saviors of Notes for Notes® NOLA, without them the studio would still be a distant dream of ours.  We were extremely lucky in 2015 to be introduced to Clark Construction and receive their support as they built out the Ventura Studio. Clark Construction’s corporate culture is unsurpassed by any contractor we have ever seen. They’re commitment to the communities where they live and work is absolutely amazing and we are so lucky that they stepped in to help make this studio a reality. We were lucky to meet Matt thanks to an intro from our (guitar playing) friend at Clark Construction, Mike Moore.  Led by Matt and a very dedicated team including Chris Fava, Wes Nash, Andrew Bichof, Jacob Auer, Brandon Brown, Chad Smith and many more very generous contractors, the studio was transformed over 3 weeks in a hot Louisiana August into the studio you see below.

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We are incredibly grateful to the Clark Construction, Matt Owens and the incredible team that made this studio a reality. We call this our first “Craftsman” studio because of the attention to detail that was paid to our original design. The stage and accents around the studio were custom made by wood burning, texturizing with a chain, and staining wood to give the studio a truly special touch. While our job is to open and run these studios, for Matt and his team this was purely a charitable gift to the NOLA community.  They were often in the studio until 10 at night if not later, let alone coming in on the weekends! The music that is coming out of and will continue to be for years and years is in huge part thanks to these guys!

This studio marked our 14th location and 6th studio supported by the CMA Foundation. We are so appreciative that Tiffany, Joe, and Victoria with the CMA Foundation made the trip to celebrate the opening as well as Eric Paslay and Wrabel. We were lucky to meet Eric this past CMA Fest where he visited our pop-up studio at FanX but glad he was able to see a full studio and hang with some aspiring musicians at the same time! While we strummed the first guitars (actually Eric and Matt did), gave out Diamond, Platinum, and Gold Records, and welcomed our very first members through the studio doors that day we feel like we will never be able to thank those who have made it possible. We only hope that as more youth enter everyday and are able to explore, create, and record music that that will be the ultimate thank you!

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The NOLA Studio features many firsts; the LED lit track room, Craftsman stage, and the Presonus Mix Room. As a supporter of Notes for Notes since 2014 (and a Louisiana based company in Baton Rouge) Presonus provided their state-of-the-art equipment (16.0.2, Eres 8s, Air 10s, and AR12 Mixer) to this hometown location. To honor their support we’ve unveiled the very first Presonus Mix Room! We are very grateful for the technological sonic advances of Presonus as well as their gift to the next generation of musicians.  The NOLA Studio like all our other locations are generously equipped thanks to Casio, DW Drums, Zildjian, Audtio Technica, Native Instruments, Gibson Foundation, Dell, GIK Acoustics, and Novation.  We are also grateful for the support of Kim Bentson, Bentson Kauth Foundation, and Chevron.

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eg4_0774-1At Notes for Notes® we are all about people. We are looking forward to a long lasting partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Southeastern Louisiana and all of their team (Carlos, Sid, & Thomas).  Our studio would just be a room full of gear was it not for our team comprised of NOLA Relations, Shannon O’Toole and Program Director, Justen Williams.  Justen is in the studio everyday inspiring and challenging the next generation of musicians. You may recognize Justen from his very popular Youtube tutorials; needless to say we are extremely lucky to have such a qualified team member at the studio’s helm.  Outside the Studio, Shannon is building the connections that will make our NOLA presence known. She knows how to get it done and has been doing an incredible job making friends throughout the musical community. We are lucky to have such a dedicated team, partners, and supporters who all have worked so hard to make this studio available to NOLA youth… for FREE. We invite you to come check out the studio, get involved, and experience the talent that is already emerging!

Some photos courtesy of Erika Goldring

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Studio Build Blog: Twin Cities

Notes for Notes is excited to announce Studio #15 in the Twin Cities (technically St. Paul, MN) softly opening to youth in December 2016. The new Notes for Notes Studio powered by the CMA Foundation is located at the Al Lenzmeier Clubhouse at the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities. Funds for the construction of the studio were provided by a Lowes & BGCA Renovation Across the Nation grant.  We are excited to work along side John Hardeman and his team at the Club as well as the organization’s leadership to provide youth of the Twin Cities with an environment to explore, create, and record music for FREE.


For a Denver Construction update, please Click Here.


The Twin Cities Studio marks our 15th Studio in 12 cities (8 States) around the country and wouldn’t be possible without the generous support of the CMA Foundation, Bentson Kauth Foundation and our instruments and equipment sponsors; Gibson Foundation, Casio, Audio Technica, DW Drums, Native Instruments, Dell, Stagg, GIK Acoustics, Presonus, Novation, and Zildjian.

Check out some slides of the recently finished Studio:

While the finished studio marks our most ambitious build to date, “Custom” as we call it, it was not without an aggressive week of unpacking, inventory, building, troubleshooting, plugging in, multiple Home Depot runs, and Orange and Red Powerade! Below you will find a tale of the build.

Jarrad and I landed on a Thursday and after a successful Ikea run, including a lunch of Swedish meatballs, we made our way to the studio where a Raiders of the Ark warehouse of boxes awaited us. Where in the world (of boxes) is Jarrad?

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The poster walls in all N4N studios has become a trademark so when the space lacked a drywall to poster over we had to create our own poster ready wall. We did so by building panels raised from the wall, which in addition to having some mild acoustic properties gave us the opportunity to get even more “custom”. Behind the panels are red lights remote controlled to add the ultimate vibe to our poster wall boasting a variety of artists from all generations and genres. Front and center is the Twin Cities favorite son; RIP Prince.

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I mentioned we went extremely “custom” on this build which in addition to an N4N first with the illuminated poster wall included backlit signs denoting each room. The Track Room was not spared any vibe boasting color changing LEDs, GIK Panels, and an abundance of acoustic foam.

20161113_133550After an aggressive four days on the ground Jarrad and I handed the Studio to our COO, Raymond Jacobs to plug everything in so that it didn’t just look good but sounded so too. The Studio install has multiple phases but the most rewarding is finally getting to unbox the gear and lay it out. Prior to that we were buried in boxes and packing material with what felt like no end in sight. By day four it started to come together and we were able to fly home with a true sense of accomplishment and excitement for the youth to see the space for the first time on Monday.

While the design was modified slightly, here is how it stacks up to the original vision as we designed it in Sketchup:

This new studio marks the start of a wonderful partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of the Twin Cities!

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And me taking a photo of Jarrad taking this photo.

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New Studio Development: Denver, CO

Notes for Notes is excited to be partnering with the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Denver on a new Notes for Notes Studio at their Cope Clubhouse. The Studio will feature all the musical amenities N4N is known for as well as incorporating the history and music community of Denver. One never knows if THE NEXT Ryan Tedder, Lumineers, or Fray are ready to record their career launching first track in the upcoming studio… followed by a performance at Red Rocks! We anticipate a grand opening within the 1st quarter of 2017.

Special thanks to Clark Construction for all their help in the studio build process!


For a Twin Cities Construction Update, please Click Here.


Check out this 3D rendering of the studio to be:

In the News: Hearing Health

Grateful for the Les Paul Foundation’s support of Notes For Notes and their emphasis on the importance of hearing protection for all ages!

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