learn / 2021

Music and Dance for at-risk, low-income children and youth

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Boys & Girls Club of Venice

BGCV is partnering with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles to bring our incredible music program to their communities. Both organizations are providing care at no charge to children of low-income families with essential workers, with a priority for single parent households. Giving children and teens that lack the ability to pay an opportunity to have access to high quality music education - something that isn’t readily available for low-income families - is vital to both organizations’ mission.


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

  • Central LA
  • South LA
  • Westside

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Both BGCV and BGCMLA serve diverse, predominantly low-income students ages 6 to 18 without the financial resources to access dance and music education. Prior to COVID-19, we offered robust dance and music classes like ukulele, ballet, violin and more to all Club members. During the COVID-19 shutdown, access to creative outlets for our children and teens was essentially shut off. Music education and performance is the perfect way for children and teens to express their emotions, especially when they can’t articulate their feelings. Our young peoples’ mental health has suffered greatly from isolation and stress during the pandemic, and we want to relaunch our music and dance program. In addition, until recently, BGCMLA has had limited music programing. During 2020, they partnered with Fender Play Foundation and USC’s Thornton School of Music to offer music programs. Due to the enthusiastic response, they want to build an ongoing music program at BGCMLA Clubhouses, based on our model.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

The requested funds will support an expansion of BGCV’s longstanding, award-winning BGCV Music and Dance programming, which will serve a projected 300 students at BGCV during the school year and another 200 at BGMLA clubs. (All programs will adhere to public health and County guidelines, and both organizations have implemented stringent COVID safety protocols. We anticipate serving near normal numbers on-site by Fall 2021, but we are planning for multiple scenarios, including hybrid onsite/online programming.) BGCV has a nationally recognized performing arts program. BGCV provides our members with opportunities to creatively express themselves and build their skills in state-of-the-art music production studios that they would not otherwise be able to access. We emphasize building skills and learning, rather than perfect performance or artwork. As members work on their music or dance skills, they learn discipline and perseverance, and have the opportunity to perform or showcase their art. Our state-of-the-art music center and studio offers Club members the opportunity to learn skills in audio engineering, music production, song writing, and vocals, as well as learn about elements of the music and performing arts industry. We also provide introductory piano, violin, ukulele, guitar, and drums/percussion group and individual lessons, and ballet classes. Our Music staff mentor those students who show a particular talent for art or music.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

500
Direct impact
2,000
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Long-term, we are creating opportunities for underrepresented students to succeed in all aspects of the music industry. At BGCV, our hands-on Music Production curriculum prepares students for future employment in the music industry. In addition to taking individual and group music lessons, music production members learn to operate a recording facility, use ProTools, Logic Pro X, and Ableton Live, work with actual clients, learn the science behind sound, partake in music industry workshops, and learn about higher education. Music Production students may book the studio for private sessions. Members also attend field trips to various record label offices and state of the art recording studios. Many high school music producers, musicians and songwriters are on their way to achieving success, thanks to the guidance provided. Based on our track record of success at BGCV, we are now working toward expanding our curriculum to South and Central Los Angeles with BGCMLA.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

The BGCV/BGCMLA Music program will provide opportunities for our members to develop their creativity, express themselves, explore career options in the arts, and even improve their academic performance, with goals to: •Increase student interest in music. •Improve skill levels of participants in various music disciplines. •Provide opportunities to showcase participants’ music. •Expose participants to new music disciplines. We have set outcomes that 90% of members will improve their music skills by the end of the fiscal year. The Music Directors evaluate student work by assessing their skill level at the beginning and end of each semester and noting improvement. As students improve, they create more complex music or art projects. We also use our recitals as program evaluations. We also focus on ensuring those members with an interest in a career in the arts have the skills to do so, with a long-term goal of increasing the percentage of underrepresented groups in creative industries.

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

BGCMLA will recruit participants, provide space for programming, and manage the hiring process for the BGCMLA Music Director to be hired. Their staff will work with our Music Director, Shane Basye, to map out a three to five year plan to build out BGCMLA’s program. BGCMLA will cover all facilities related expenses for music programming at their Clubhouses.

Which of the learn metrics will you impact?​

  • Arts education
  • Enrollment in afterschool programs
  • K-8 chronic absenteeism