Notes for Notes thrives from the support we are able to give to our members, but sometimes it can be more meaningful if the support comes from a peer. Xavier, 13, is a aspiring rapper and producer and has been in the recording booth a time or two. But, after sharing a recording session with a first time member who had a lack of confidence and recording experience, Xavier was drawn to assist by giving some great advice. “Just breath, wait, and listen to the music.” Xavier suggests to the member. “If that doesn’t work, take a moment, step out for a little bit, and go back into the booth when you’re ready.” Xavier says. Take your time, Xavier proposes when taking your first shot at recording. This wonderful piece of advice allowed the young member to feel comfortable and less pressured to get it all right the very first time, and inspired her to continue working on the comfort of being in the studio. This makes us delighted– and the encouragement passed from one youth member to the next, further reflects the astounding group of kids we have a part of our organization.
Notes for Notes San Francisco has had a great year. A year of great songs, great performances, partnering with the community in out-reach, and increasing membership. As we look forward to another great year, we’d like to end 2017 with a little something fun as we spent our last day of programming for the year singing Christmas Karaoke. Choosing a favorite of many, here’s Sammie, Sofia, and Risa singing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Bullying statistics are staggering nowadays and Notes for Notes is determined to maintain a free and safe environment for kids who are victims of this widespread epidemic. Kids like 10 year old Zyir, who is smart, likes to read books and write, get trouble from his classmates because of it. “When I get bullied, kids always want to fight me and try to hurt me, and call me a nerd because I read books and do a lot of writing” Zyir quoted. This is exactly what inspired his to write his first song “No Harm in School“. To deliver the message that no matter how much bullies may push him around or call him names, he will never result to violence. In fact, he holds hope that more of his peers would take a moment to get to know him. “When I did a talent show at school, all of sudden kids said I was pretty cool. I said yea, I’m pretty once you get to know me” says Zyir.
Not only does his song reveal his daily encounters with bullies, the song also expresses the desire to one day get his mother out of the bad neighborhood he lives in. “The song is also about getting my mom out of the apartments we’re currently living in. Its a bad place. There’s a lot of guns shots there. I get scared a lot. My mom and I used to run under the bed, run into the bathroom when we heard shots.” Zyir explains. This may be much to bare at the tender age of 10, but Zyir strives for a good grades and a good education to get a awesome job to accomplish his goal. He also shares this piece of advise to others that are being bullied, “Tell the teacher that you’re being bullied, call for help and let someone know that you’re being attacked. Never fight back unless really need to”. Good words coming from a bright young man who uses songwriting as therapy from the bullying that used to make him mad, and his goals to keep from retaliating against his bullies.
Take a listen to Zyir’s “No Harm in School”
It’s that time of year again! To spread love, and give gifts that we fight through crowds and stand in super long lines for. Some of us may love gift shopping, many others dread the insanity. But, we all know who benefits most from this time of season. The stores!! The sales are booming and the cash is rolling in. To tell us all about it in their cleverly written holiday song, is Andre & Easton. With the end of year holiday album in the works, Andre, 11, and Easton, 10, decided to write a song about how the stores are busy during the holidays. Not your typical holiday carol, the song gives you the perspective of store owners and the hard-working salesmen who are raking in the dough from their generous customers. “We wanted to be unique. And I wanted to involve cash in our song about the holidays” says Andre. They also wanted to express how overwhelming the holidays can be, but also how full of spirit everyone is in. ” We wrote the chorus to tell how the holidays are kind of crazy, but how we also like it.” Andre says, “Everyone’s in the holiday spirit”. “People are buying mistletoe for Christmas”, replied Easton. Using a sample of the classic “You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch” on the beat, along with their sharp rhyme skills, the song is super cool, catchy, and certainly worthy sharing. So check it out below!!
Holiday Store – Andre & Easton
As a musician, writing your first song can be intimidating. Melodies, concepts, lyrics and song titles may not come automatically. Even after putting much effort in the process of songwriting, we run the risk of others not liking our song as much as we hoped. Notes for Notes teaches producing and songwriting. Many of our students are first-timers and the overall goal is not to push them to become hit songwriters, but to enjoy the experience. So, we sat down with 11 year old Braedon Wilcox, to get to know him and hear how the writing experience of his first song “Adrenaline” went.
Our chat with Braedon, 11
N4N: Have you ever written a song before?
Braedon: I sing and act with A.C.T Theatre and in school plays, and dance with San Francisco Ballet. But, I have not written a song prior to music production class.
N4N: What was the inspiration behind your first song?
Braedon: I haven’t auditioned for much yet, but I wanted to write about how it may feel, so others know that we all feel the same way.
N4N: How did you feel about the process of songwriting?
Braedon: I found it challenging to come with base words related to adrenaline and rhyming words that also related to those words. But, other than that, it was pretty easy…and fun.
N4N: Can you walk us through what you did when writing your first song “Adrenaline”?
Braedon: I thought of some words based on what happens when adrenaline occurs, when you’re nervous, or what you feel when you have butterflies and I put them together.
N4N: Do you see writing more songs in the future?
Braedon: Yea!! It was fun. It was fun to sing it too. I love to sing and writing songs could really help me out.
N4N: So, what are your aspirations?
Braedon: I want to sing, dance, and act. To become a triple threat. I like singing the most though.
N4N: Who are some of your favorite songwriters or artists?
Braedon: Nate Ross. He used to be part of this band in the early 2000’s called F.U.N.. Now he’s just Nate Ross, the band is no longer together. I like his music, his style because its not Pop, and its not Rock, its in between…and I like that.
N4N: What would you advise someone who’s writing their first song?
Braedon: I would advise to base it off what you know well, and what you know a lot about. That’s how I wrote “Adrenaline”, because I knew a thing or two about it. Also, just do what you think sounds right, it doesn’t matter what others think about what you’re writing. Just be proud of what you have.
Check out Braedon’s “Adrenline” below!!
Adrenaline – Braedon, 11
Notes for Notes SF has been favored to have such great people commit their spare time during week to work with our youth. Our volunteers are extremely happy to help our young musicians grow. They are teachers, medical assistants, administrators, and graphic designers, who come by to give our members lessons on proper drum technique, classic piano music, how to play the strings on the violin, and guitar chords from our members favorite songs. Kuanie Julin, an amazing pianist who works in the medical field has been volunteering piano lessons with Notes for Notes for 2 years. “Volunteering adds to community and adds balance to life.”, says Kuanie.
“Its nice to give a foundation and watch how the kids blossom musically.” She adds. Tim Tung, who is an Economics Professor at University of San Francisco, expressed how much music means to him. “Music keeps me sane. It has helped me through some rough patches in life. I want to pass on the passion to younger people.”, Tim says. Tim teaches violin and has been working with 9 year old ReNae Williams on Disney songs. “I want them to love and appreciate music. I am thankful Notes for Notes exposes our kids to music”. We too are thankful for the ability to contribute to the creative well-being of our youth. We are also thankful for our volunteers and that their passions have guided them to contribute to their musical growth. Many, many thanks to Kuanie Julin, Tim Tung, Richard Geck, Julian Muller, Desiree Harris, and Yiann Chou. Our future musicians have learned and grown so much because of you.
The night couldn’t be any better at amazing rooftop concert with our youth this past Saturday. The night was chilly but, hot chocolate was flowing. The music had people amazed and moving under the evening’s stars. The weather didn’t keep us from jamming, and it didn’t keep our audience from showing their support. So many thanks to those who made the evening possible. From our community partners and supporters, friends and family, to our very talented members, it all came together so wonderfully because of you. Notes for Notes San Francisco could not express enough, the appreciation we have for you all for making the Notes for Notes – Night of Notes an amazing night.
“Notes for Notes Night of Notes” Intimate Rooftop Performance Showcase of Notes for Notes teen members, alumni, and volunteers.
Saturday, October 28, 2017
6:00pm – 9:00pm
380 Fulton St, San Francisco, CA 94102
The Rooftop Performance Showcase is a fundraising event that is free. Friends, family, and N4N partners and supporters are invited. It will be held on the roof at the Don Fisher Boys & Girls Club in San Francisco, who are our partners. There will be live music from our youth and volunteers to showcase their talent, and raise funds to sustain our program, and support the musical needs of our young members.
Aspiring young guitar, piano, and drum players frequent our studio throughout the week. But, rarely do we see kids with an interest in playing the bass guitar. This week, we were opportune to see two young ladies who made bass guitar their first love. Rickshenay Smith, 17, and Tamiko Calloway, 17 came to Notes for Notes from Civic Center Secondary High School in San Francisco. During their first visit, some would have expected them to be aspiring singers, or rappers. However, when asked their musical interests, “The bass”, they stated strongly. With the small number of female professional bass players, and an even smaller number of African American female bass players in the industry, it was exciting to see such a rarity. Taught by their teacher Fernando Portugal, who is a multi-instrumentalist, it took some heavy convincing to get them to try something new. But, after a couple days of fiddling with the bass guitar, Rickshenay and Tamiko fell in love with what some describe as the backbone of music.
Affirmations are something we feel are an essential part of path to success. Affirmations are positive, beautiful, and helps us to create our best lives. After hearing this special quote,
“You don’t become who you aspire to be. You become who you are” – Motivational Speaker, Les Brown
we felt the need to encourage our youth to know who they are. If they have the desire to be an artist or musician, then they must know its already inside of them. But also, the work goes into becoming a really good artist or musician. A legend, as 8 year old Isaac Giddings likes to call it. “I am a Legend,” he affirmed in a conversation about all the great musicians, such as Michael Jackson and Prince, that have passed away. Isaac mentioned that there is one still alive, and he was referring to himself. Isaac aspires to be a trumpet player and has every intention to become a legend. To Notes for Notes, he already has the first step down.