learn / 2015

Play with Music

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Play with Music, The New History (parent organization of Play with Music, current transition filing 501c3 status for Play with Music)

We change the way music is taught - teaching music theory, songwriting, audio engineering & production + enabling students to be creators, not just consumers, of music. We connect students with music industry pros, & build bridges from the classrooms to careers through internships & more. We’d like your help to capitalize on the momentum from our pilot (Jan-March 2015) and the partnerships we have since developed to launch PWM in schools across LA, focusing our impact on at-risk students.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • We can run programs wherever our partners, Green Dot Public Schools, and The Harmony Project, are operating.

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Mobilize for systems change
  • Advocate with policymakers and leaders

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Percent of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years
  • Youth unemployment and underemployment
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • HS student proficiency in English & Language Arts and Math
  • Academic Performance Index* scores
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed
  • Suspension and expulsion rates (Dream Metric)
  • Truancy rates in elementary and middle schools (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

We’re opening doors for kids with relevant music and technology education, and we follow up by connecting them with the music industry and career opportunities right here in LA. We’re not just giving music education a much needed update, we’re preparing kids for a world that is tech driven and empowering them to be creators of their own work. We’re doing this in the schools where it’s not happening. In LA, the media and entertainment capital of the world, we want our kids to be the resource that fuels our creative industries, by providing education that prepares our kids for those jobs. We’re making LA the best place to learn for ALL kids in LA, regardless of resources or skill level.

Play with Music works directly with schools, teachers and administrations to fill 3 major gaps in music/education:

CREATIVITY & COLLABORATION Music education has mostly been unchanged since the 19th century. Our students get to create their own music, in collaboration with their peers and music industry professionals. This develops crucial skills in creative thinking, teamwork, communication, organization, and more. We want our students not to be just consumers of music, but creators of it, and to learn by doing.

TECHNICAL SKILLS We teach technology. Music software (audio engineering, production, recording, set-up, & more) is essential to making music today. Beyond music, digital literacy and tech skills are essential in today’s workforce. We’re not just empowering students to better use technology as a work tool, we are opening their eyes to see technology as a creative tool as well, helping break down the digital divide, and paving a way for students enter into LA’s “creative class”.

FROM CLASSROOM TO CAREERS Our students meet, are mentored by, and collaborate with, professionals who make their living in the music industry. These mentors bring insight into the creative professional landscape and help students expand their sense of what is possible for their own futures. We also provide internship opportunities for students who complete the program through our amazing partners! This creates important gateways and opportunities for at-risk kids to access the industries in their city. We also provide graduates with support beyond the program through ongoing guidance and communication on social media about education and career opportunities.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

We will work with Green Dot Public Schools, CalArts CAP and the Harmony Project to track and analyze the progress of students we work with over the long and short term. Our work will also be evaluated by matriculation rates, number of internships secured and completed, as well as each students progress in other areas of education. We will also document student testimonials of their experience in the program and beyond to help us show others why Play with Music is transformative.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Network/relationship support