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!

austin stage

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!



Musical Chair with the Grand Ole Opry

Notes For Notes™ (N4N™) is thrilled to announce Musical Chairs – A “fan”tastically fun way to partner with venues and touring musicians! Through this project, N4N will partner with hosting sites and musicians to raise money for the organization by bringing ordinary chairs to life through music.

At the end of the year, the chair will go up for auction, and all proceeds will benefit N4N!

We’re honored to launch this campaign with The Grand Ole Opry with a rocking chair from a Nashville vintage store and participating artists Kane Brown, Seth Ennis, Luke Combs, and Keith Urban.

We kicked off the campaign with rising star Kane Brown in the Nashville North N4N Studio. There he engaged with youth through Q&A and provided insight in to his world that’s quickly changing! He signed the back before we moved the chair backstage at the Opry. There it will stay throughout 2017 for Opry guest musicians to sit, sing, and sign!
Our first #MusicalChair guest backstage was Seth Ennis and we’re so grateful to him and his team for participating!

The Opry engaged Seth’s fans through their “Tweet Your Seat” campaign on Twitter. The winning audience members were brought back stage for an intimate in-person performance with Seth and a couple of his band members and The Opry streamed it live to thousands of viewers on Periscope!

A great big thanks to the Opry for capturing this up close and personal fan experience!

The N4N Musical Chair will live backstage at the Opry the rest of 2017 to collect as many songs, signatures, and experiences as possible before being auctioned off at the end of the year. Be sure to follow the campaign with #MusicalChair and @opry and @notesfornotes.

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.


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


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!



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

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.


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.


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!


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.


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


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?



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.



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!


And me taking a photo of Jarrad taking this photo.


#GivingTuesday Toolkit

GivingTuesday Header_05This #GivingTuesday, Notes for Notes® asks you to join the team as a Producer, following this LINK to sign up for recurring $4/mo (or $48/yr) memberships (please be sure to mark “make my payment a recurring payment“). Notes for Notes (N4N) Producers are acknowledged on the website, receive pre-sale access to all official N4N benefit shows, discounts on merchandise, first listen of exclusive tracks from the studios, and much more.

#GivingTuesday is a movement that leverages social media to create a global moment dedicated to giving around the world, culminating with a global day of giving on December 2, 2014. This effort uses the collective power of a unique blend of partners — charities, families, businesses and individuals — to transform how people think about, talk about, and participate in the giving season.

What YOU can do starting now and on December 2nd to support the #GivingTuesday Notes for Notes campaign:

  • Donate to the campaign HERE.
  • POST an image to your social media channels pledging your support for Notes for Notes on #GivingTuesday. (Click the image for a full res. that you can download):


  • POST an image as your FB cover photo to let everyone know your plans for December 2nd! (Click the image for a full res. that you can download.):

  • TAG @notesfornotes on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook (facebook.com/notesfornotes) with your #GivingTuesday #UNselfie picture, holding this sign, or one like it. (Click the image for a full res. that you can download.):


With your help, #GivingTuesday will inspire others to take collaborative action to improve their local communities, give back in better, smarter ways to the charities and causes they celebrate and help create a better world. Thank you!

Notes for Notes Artist Visits

Check out who has stopped by Notes for Notes to hang. We have been extremely lucky and honored to have some incredible musicians stop by the MusicBox Studios to hang, jam, educate N4N participants. This post is chock full of videos, photos and press from some of folks who have stopped by.  Enjoy and stay in touch and perhaps you could be a fly on the wall for one of these visits next time.

Jack Johnson and Zach Gill Jam at MusicBox East (2010)
Check out Part 1 of Jack Johnson and Zach Gill Jamming when they stopped by the before their SB Bowl Show. Visit the page for the rest of the footage.
Click Here for an article on the visit from the SB Newspress.

Jack Johnson and David Crosby with Rod and Phil

Steve Miller teaches “Jet Airliner” (2011)
Check out some footage from when Steve stopped by the MusicBox before he performed for N4N at the Seymour Duncan 35th Anniversary Benefit for Notes for Notes.
Click Here for an article about the concert in the SB NewsPress

P-Nut Jams and Talks Life (2011)
Check out some footage from P-Nut (311) when he stopped by MusicBox Studio East and West.
Click Here for an article in the SB Independent

N4N Participants Hang with Immortal Technique (2011)
Participants recently hung with Immortal Technique before his show at Casa De La Raza for some tips, critiques and wisdom from the Hip-Hop world.
Click Here for an article from the SB Independent.

C-Rush with Immortal Technique

Ziggy Marley Performs at the MusicBox Studio (2009)
Ziggy stopped by the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara to play a few tunes before his SB Bowl show.
Click Here for an article from the SB Independent

Ziggy performing and signing autographs

Glen Phillips Songwriting Session (2011)
Check out some footage from Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) visit to MusicBox Studio West.

Robin Thicke visits MusicBox Studio East (2009)
(Photo courtesy of Paul Wellman)
Click Here to read the article in the Independent

Robin listens and gives feedback on Luis’ track

Martin Gore hangs at N4N

Martin, Caesar and Phil


Martin, Rod and Phil

BackStage at the Lobero Theater
N4N Participants have had the privilege of hanging with Derek Trucks and Cat Power.

N4N with Derek Trucks

Amanda and Karisma with Cat Power

Alan Parsons at the MusicBox Studio
Pictures coming soon!