Aliyah Wins The Band Perry Songwriting Contest

Santa Barbara’s own Aliyah Rameriz (11) wins Notes for Notes’ The Band Perry Songwriting contest!

In a songwriting contest between Notes for Notes’ 5 MusicBox Studios nationwide Aliyah Rameriz writes and records the winning entry “Stand Strong” at the MusicBox Studio East in Santa Barbara, CA. The mission of the contest was to write a song around The Band Perry’s theme of being a Pioneer in your own life! As the winner, she and her mother Sagi were flown (all expenses paid) to Lubbock, TX to meet The Band Perry at an intimate ‘Pioneers’ event as well as enjoy their concert that night with Rascal Flatts. An incredible experience and could not have been won by a more deserving talented young songwriter. Check out the winning track, lyrics, live announcement, and recap of her experience!  Notes for Notes sincerely thanks The Band Perry for all their support and generosity with this experience!

Song Title: Stand Strong
Song Writers: Kris Ehrman and Aliyah Rameriz
Vocals – Aliayh Rameriz
Guitar Solo – Josh Ford
Guitar, Bass, Synth – Kris Ehrman
Final Mix: Mark Williams
Producer: Kris Ehrman

Some people walk around they don’t care

Some people greedy, greedy don’t share

But what’s the point in livin if nobody really cares?

And what’s the point in lovin if nobodys willing to share?


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.

Stand Strong


Since when did people stop having fun?

I think I’ll show the world how it’s done.

So I walk into to future like a sci-fi movie line

And you’ll be wishing you’ve been livin life like this the whole time


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.

Stand Strong


Guitar Solo: Josh Ford


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.


Stand Strong, have hope

Don’t loose your faith, stand strong.

Move on, and make the world a better place, come on.

Stand Strong

Guitar Solo: Josh Ford

Producer Notes: Kris Ehrman

Aliyah was really excited to be a part of this contest and luckily she liked the only song that I had prepared for her.  We weren’t sure of what to write about, we didn’t have a single idea.  We just knew that the music we were working with called for some serious sass.

So we began talking about what a Pioneer is and what it really means for an eleven year old to be a Pioneer.  Aliyah doesn’t have the resources to land on the moon or discover new land.  But she does have the ability to stay focused in school, to be aware and thoughtful of others and to set and accomplish goals.  I just began writing the verses as if I were Aliyah, who stands out amongst her peers, who always sets a good example and is determined to succeed.

Josh Ford layed down some awesome guitar work.. I love that in the middle of this pensive pop rock track you all of the sudden get an Alice in Chains-like guitar solo.  Only in 2013 and after could someone get away with this.

Hanging with The Black Keys

Q: What does one of the biggest bands in the world do (Besides rock your socks off!) when they come to the Santa Barbara Bowl (for their sold out show)?

A: What is INSPIRE the next generation of musicians for… (Priceless amount)!

We were honored to be able to hang out at the Santa Barbara Bowl for the Keys’ sound check and be treated to a few tunes before their sold out show on October 2, 2012 . Even though our crew didn’t make it to the actual concert they may have gotten something way more special…“a personal mini-concert” and they were front row for it! Special thanks to Drew and Jim from the Key’s team for helping arrange everything. In addition to seeing there favorite band sound check our youth were treated to a learning experience most don’t get… the pre-show prep and operations of a tour. After their sound check Dan and Pat came down and snapped a few photos and chatted with the our youth. 

THANK YOU TO THE BLACK KEYS for your music and inspiring the next generation of musicians!

Alvaro (Their biggest fan) on the right!

MusicBox Studio Reports

Read, watch and listen! Get the scoop on the MusicBox Studios through these totally accessible reports on

As an organization that prides itself on transparency and constant improvement we have begun uploading monthly studio reports to to help us in our own evaluation of our programming as well as provide our audience with in-depth recaps of the studio’s activities.

So please read, watch and listen to the magic that happens every day in the MusicBox Studios. Here are a couple of reports to give you an idea…

Nashville South- November 2012

Nashville North- September 2012

MusicBox East- October 2012

MusicBox West- December 2012

Studio Update- MusicBox East Aug/Sept 2012

MusicBox Studio Monthly Report

Month: August/ September 2012  Studio Location: SB East
Program Director: Kris Ehrman

In-Studio Highlights:

The past several weeks inside the Eastside MusicBox have been pretty amazing to say the least.  At the beginning of August, we began tossing around ideas for a song to perform at the Seymour Duncan benefit concert at the Lobero Theater.  The guys in the band decided on “Fade To Black” by Metallica.

It was awesome to see them really focus up and learn their parts.  They worked their butts off getting ready for that gig and not only did it make them stronger musicians but it gave them a memory for life.

We’re happy to have completed renovations to our practice room.  Hector and Taylor built us a drum riser, a DJ workstation and they mounted the speakers on shelves.  It makes it much more spacious and easier to keep organized, we love it.  We also have fresh paint on the walls and a wide variety of posters of musical legends that Bre did a great job on.

As with most things, it’s good to switch up the routine once in a while.  So I designed a weekly schedule with the intent to improve on our musicianship as well as broaden our appreciation for music.  In just the past four weeks I have seen a lot of lights turn on.  This routine not only gives us ample opportunity to learn music theory but kids are becoming aware of the encompassing power of music as it relates to history and geography.  This will without a doubt carry over into their classrooms and give them a unique perspective.

Monday: Blues
Tuesday: Karaoke / Singing
Wednesday: Song Writing
Thursday: Song Writing
Friday: Ukulele / Piano


A new face walked through the door the other day and sat down at one of our new Casio keyboards and began playing Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven.  I’ve always wanted to do a twist on that song so I grabbed Rico and showed the youngins that this 200 year old piece of music was still valid.

Moonlight Sonata.. Casio Keyboard Sounded Great!

Our newest volunteer, David Rojas is a local musician who comes from a musical family.  His patience and ability to get first time songwriters to open up is highly valued at MusicBox East.  Check out this track that is going to make Alona’s parents very happy.

 Family Song: By Alona and David

We’re super proud of Rico on this one because for the first time, he has recorded an original song that he can call his own.  His goal was to make an R&B ballad with influences from the Isley Brothers and R. Kelly.  For those of you that don’t know, Rico is 80% blind so writing and organizing verses for this was a challenge for us.  So after the music was recorded we had him “scat” or sing off the top of his head, even if the words were incomprehensible.  Bre wrote words to fit his improvised melodies and we began to record them line for line.
Here is where we’re at with the song so far…

Original Song, Rewind:  This was a collaborative track that a couple of young singers brought in.  Rico helped accompany keys and vocals while C-wrek got inspired to write a verse for it.

Outreach/ Outside Collaborations:
The long awaited C-Wrek album has taken on a new dimension.  The Notes For Notes team has put their resources together and designed artwork for his soon to be released 15-track album.

We’ve also lined up Hayden to master the final mixes and continue to have talks about distribution and the different markets in which music can be sold.

Attended a free backpack give away just before school started.  Met some parents of MusicBox members who were very grateful for our organization.  Passed out flyers and spread the word.

MusicBox musicians from both SB East and West performed a few songs at Bohnett Park’s block party on September 22nd put on by the City of Santa Barbara. Video here:

Cross-Country Collaborations:

Chimaway Recorded Guitar Solo for a song that Jen sent over from Nashville.  Chim is getting more comfortable behind the board.  He engineered 80% of his session.


This month’s statistics are not an accurate representation of youth participation at MusicBox East, we will be back next month with those numbers!


2011 Rewind

2011 RewindA look back at an epic year

Whether you are just joining us or have been following from the beginning let me recap the amazing 2011 year Notes for Notes had…it was a BIG ONE! We opened two studios, grew to a national organization and threw some incredible events with the Steve Miller Band andMartin Gore.

Westside MusicBox Opens!

February saw the completion and opening of the newest MusicBox to the Notes for Notes arsenal inSanta Barbara. We began talks on this studio in 2009 and active development later that year, however it would take almost two years before we would strum the first guitar and spin the first record in this new studio. Our mothers always told us…” All good things come to those who wait” Agreed! The new MusicBox also meant we needed to expand the team and we were lucky to find our new Program Director inTaylor Hurtadoand Booking Agent in Dakota Gartner. Check out some press from the Grand Opening! Click to Play (will open video in another window)






P-Nut rocks the studios!

The folks over at Seymour Duncan do so much for us from outfitting all our guitars to the big show to some amazing introductions. Our good friend Evan Skopp reached out to P-Nut (bass player for 311) considering SD endorses him and asked if he might be interested in stopping by the Notes’ MusicBox Studios when he had time. That time was in May of 2011. P-Nut came up from LA specifically to hang in both studios, jam and offer his words of wisdom on music and life! He is also one of our newest Advisory Board members. Thanks to Evan Skopp,Peter Rasplerand P-Nut for hooking up an amazing experience! Check out the video recap!

Steve Miller Band and Seymour Duncan Rock it for Notes for Notes

There were about 600 of you that had the opportunity to experience what was perhaps one of the most special concert events Santa Barbarahas seen. In commemoration of Seymour Duncan’s 35th Anniversary of making the world’s best pickups a benefit concert was conceived to support Notes for Notes and celebrate SD. Thanks to Cathy Duncan and Maricela Juarez (MJ) they were able to secure The Steve Miller Band as our headliner…Yes THE Steve Miller Band. Steve is a big supporter of youth music and stepped up to kick start what will be an annual concert with Seymour Duncan to benefit Notes for Notes. Keep your eyes out for announcements of this years show and check out the recap of the 2011 show including performance by N4N participants who opened for Steve.

Nashville Bound

Still whirling from the success of the Seymour Duncan Steve Miller Band show, Notes for Notes began the final leg of the Nashville expansion. After 3 very successful trips to Nashville over the past 8 months I packed up a Uhaul trailer and made the drive along a south bound route through Austin andNew Orleans. Now a national organization, this is only the beginning. Call it the Notes for Notes Tour, can anyone guess where the next stop is? After a few months of painting, carpeting, wall postering and equipping we opened the first of two (possibly 3) Nashville MusicBox Studios in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Middle Tennessee. The first is located at the Andrew Jackson clubhouse and is made possible by some really great folks and organizations including the Hot Topic Foundation, Gibson Foundation, KRK/Stanton, Seymour Duncan, KVB S.A.C.K Foundation, Peavey, Propellerhead, Avid, Thirdman Records and Jack White, Sheryl Crow, MV Pro Audio, SM Pro Audio and Line 6. Check out some of the pics and video from the Grand Opening (even though the official opening was in Feb 2012) Click to play (will open in another window)





Martin Gore spins the 1,2’s for Notes for Notes and New Noise again

We ended the Year as we should with a party… a fundraising party which was also especially celebratory for us considering the huge year we have had.Martin Gorewho remains one of our most influential and active Advisory Board Members (as well as a close friends) came back for round 2 to DJ the Holiday Soundcheck to benefit Notes for Notes and New Noise Music Foundation! It was another great event thanks to Jeff Theimer and the New Noise and Notes for Notes’ teams. We raised great support and awareness. Can’t wait to see what 2012 brings for this event! Thanks to Martin, Jonathan Kessler and all of the folks and businesses who donated to the silent auction. Check out the video recap!

N4N Participants Rock it… Everywhere!

2011 also provided opportunities for our next generation of musicians to hit the streets and pay LIVE! From opening spots at our big fundraiser with Seymour Duncan and The Steve Miller Band and Zion I at Velvet Jones to Santa Barbara’s Fiesta celebrations. One of our goals is to provide outlets for our musicians to perform, get out there and show the world the skills they have been honing in the MusicBox Studios.  Check out some footage from the Fiesta performance.

You can imagine that if I were to list every amazing thing that happened in 2011 you would have to take a few days off from work to read the full recap. I realize that you don’t have that kind of time (and that this has already eaten the better part of a lunch break) so feel please checkout the N4N Facebook for the daily updates and the video page for loads of cool vids HERE. A very special thank you to everyone that supported us in 2011 and continues to support us; The Hot Topic Foundation, The Wood Claeyssens Foundation, Santa Barbara Foundation,Matthew FisherFoundation, Johnson Ohana Foundation, Towbes Foundation, Gibson Foundation, Seymour Duncan, KRK/ Stanton, Numark/ Alesis/Akai, and our dedicated Board of Directors (Rod, Michael, Anna, Ian, Matt, Eric, Jeff and Natalie) as well as our Advisory Board including now members in 2011-P-Nut and Alan Parsons.  Thank you all for a great year and here’s to looking forward to a great 2012!



Studio Update East: September 2011

Musicbox East

Studio Update Sept. 19-30

Performance Room:

In the past couple of weeks I’ve noticed a few new faces that are consistently coming around for the 3-5pm time block.  Together they get thru the frustration of “ but my fingers won’t do that” stage of learning guitar and move on to the fun part.  Catchy riff rock songs like “Smoke on the Water” and “Iron Man” are perfect for this stage of learning guitar.  From these melodies, we can build chords and work on our dynamics.


Seasoned Notes for Notes musicians, Alvaro and Chimoy have had some time playing together lately too.  Sharing what they know and rocking out to AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Led Zeppelin classics.  It’s great seeing these guys each develop their musicianship in their own way.  I’ve attached a video clip of Chimoy showing us a rock ballad that he made up himself…. ( Such a big sound for only one guitar don’t ya think?)


Many of the younger kids that come around the Musicbox tend to be drawn toward the drums and piano because the gratification comes sooner than say playing a guitar or bass.  I will often use rhythms and melodies from the songs they are watching on Youtube as learning material.  The other day, as I was mimicking the vocal melody on piano of Ant Farm’s Dynomite, the kids started singing and dancing together.  I was happy to capture what had evolved into a “party-choir” of sweaty, singing and dancing kids.  I’ve attached a video clip for everyone to enjoy.


Studio Sessions:

Our volunteer, Jerry has made some progress in the electronic music department.  He has been meeting with Jorge (DJ RAINE) once a week to work on song development and a few engineering tricks to get the best sounds.

We’ve had a couple of sessions with a great acoustic guitar player; Luis from La Cuesta High School.  Unfortunately, I received an email from him saying that he broke his wrist so he will be out for a couple of weeks.  I look forward to hearing his recordings once he’s back in business.


Adding some “acoustic” noise to MusicBox East!

Studio Update-August 19-30

Musicbox East
Studio Update: Aug. 19th – 30th

​It’s the end of the summer, always a bummer. Until you realize there’s a recording studio and practice space across the street from your high school!!!… Did I mention that we have an open jam from 3 to 5 on Monday thru Friday? I’m looking forward to all the music that gets made this year and I can’t wait post it up on the N4N site either.

​Here’s a look at what we’ve been doing lately at Musicbox East:

Performance Room
​We had some great moments this week. We had Michael on the keys, Marble on guitar and I was on drums. We slowed down Crazy Train by Ozzy and played it over a hip-hop beat. Aaron and his friend sang and rhymed over it. Ummm.. It was pretty epic. We’ll continue to arrange and rehearse it so we can lay down a recording of it. We have a couple other ones developing as well…I think I’m starting to notice the embryonic stage of a band.

​Ceasar came back for a visit and laid down a nice one featuring Rico titled “Oh Honey”. Ceasar rhymed over an instrumental version of The Delegations, “Oh Honey” with Rico singing the choruses. Soon to be finished and posted.

​Joey came in a couple times and got a lot of work done too. I think he’s ready to compile his songs together as a product of his work.

Music Research Stations:
We picked up from where we left off with regards to what we think influences today’s popular artists to be the way they are. We began by picking one performing artist and analyze what their influences might be. The first name to come up was Lady Gaga. One of the kids suggested that Madonna was an influence. For the rest of the kids, it was their first time watching a Madonna video. We watched Holiday and Boarder Line and all the kids had heard the song but did not know it was Madonna.

I suggested we check compare Lady Gaga to Grace Jones.

Or David Bowie.


​We found that Lady Gaga’s influences were many and that they span across many different genres. The common thread was the strong expression of visual art they used to accompany their music. The kids all agreed that Grace Jones’s style was the most like Lady Gaga and we could also hear similar vocal styles in both Cher and Madonna.
​Next up was LMFAO’s Everyday I’m Shuffling. I couldn’t help but to think of the running man from back in the old school days. So we checked out some Video’s by Kid’N Play and MC Hammer. We had a good laugh…

​In these comparisons, we noticed right away that common elements were dancing and rhyming. The conversation began to come back around to music when I asked the kids, …. “Where’s the band?”
​This always seemed to be the golden era of sampled music in mainstream popular music and it redirected all of us to discover the artists they sampled: Super Freak by Rick James and Under Pressure by Queen & David Bowie.

​We successfully opened the gates to new music. This is something we will continue to explore. We will compare and discuss other artists and their influences as they come up… I’ll be sure to post the highlights.