Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse
Sociedad Latina’s target, at-risk youth are in a precarious position. They are up agains...
immigrants or first-generation Americans, and 75% live in subsidized housing or housing developments. On a daily basis
Need: In a landmark, 10-year study from UCLA, researchers analyzed the school records of 25,000 students and
discovered th...
recording). Newcomers Academy students, who are mostly recent immigrants to Boston, have limited English skills. They
Meet Samantha Medina: When Samantha Medina started out in our after-school program, she was
timid and didn’t feel comforta...
of 5

Music grant proposal sample - Sociedad Latina

Published on: Mar 3, 2016

Transcripts - Music grant proposal sample - Sociedad Latina

  • 1. Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse Sociedad Latina’s target, at-risk youth are in a precarious position. They are up against poverty, racism, low-performing schools, language barriers, and issues associated with immigration status and family mobility. But year after year we celebrate the successes of youth as they graduate from high school, enter college, receive job offers, and grow into competent, confident, self-sufficient adults leading positive change in our community. With more than 40 years of experience working with our Latino community, Sociedad Latina has developed a powerful and innovative array of youth development programming to address the challenges our target youth face. Our programs are community-responsive, evidence-based, and data-driven. Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse (MCH) provides in-school and out-of-school-time access to music opportunities for the youth of Boston. To maximize engagement our curriculum is youth-centered, and focuses on popular music youth want to play, computer beat-making, and studio recording. We encourage rapid skill-building for playing together in ensembles – not meticulous technique practicing. The Clubhouse is also integrated with Sociedad Latina’s youth development programming, linking participants to academic, workforce development and case management services, and civic engagement experiences that provide long-term support and are research-proven to foster success. And our organization’s focus on Latino culture and identity, incorporated in the songs youth play and lessons on musical styles in our Clubhouse, builds youth resiliency and boosts engagement. Meet Braulio Soto: Braulio Soto had never really played any music before coming to Sociedad Latina. He joined our academic and college access program his senior year to get help with the college application process, but ended up falling into a niche at the Music Clubhouse that has resulted in a career for him today. Despite his inexperience, Braulio was able to explore the world of music production in Sociedad Latina's beat-making lab. It wasn't long before he was making his own beats, writing lyrics, and performing for the Music Clubhouse’s first CD, Sonic Life. Braulio says he was a quiet, “in the corner” kid, but the staff and other youth at Sociedad Latina helped him find his voice through music. “They helped make me more outgoing and improved my communication skills,” he says. Now Braulio also plays the keyboard and bass, and directs a new ensemble at his church. In 2010, Braulio worked as an assistant in our Clubhouse while attending Wentworth Institute of Technology on a full scholarship. He credits Sociedad Latina for helping him get into college with the college access programming we offer. Since graduating, Braulio was hired full-time and now helps manage Clubhouse activities such as music lessons and workshops. But he still finds time to regularly jam with Clubhouse members. He’s thankful for how Sociedad influenced his life, and wants to support the next generation of Sociedad youth. “I want them to take advantage of the opportunities they have. I wish I started playing at a younger age, like them. And the Clubhouse is here in the community, when most studios are far away.” Organization Background: Since 1968, Sociedad Latina has served Latino youth and the community of Boston, pioneering new and innovative solutions to end destructive cycles of poverty, health disparities, and lack of opportunity in our community. Thanks to creative leadership and ground-breaking programs based on leading research and designed in direct response to community needs, Sociedad Latina has transformed into a premier youth development organization. We provide integrated services for Latino youth that ensure their long-term academic, professional, social, and emotional success. Sociedad Latina serves 1,000 youth at-risk and their families each year, with a focus on the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Our comprehensive, community responsive, culturally relevant, intensive array of youth development programming builds skills in four key areas: Education, Workforce Development, Civic Engagement, and Arts & Culture. Sociedad Latina’s Pathways to Success program model provides youth with multiple, closely aligned roads to successful futures as adults, with the acknowledgment that not every youth in our target population is college- bound. It promotes long-term engagement from age 10-21 and positive relationships with adults, providing youth with a vast network of support they need to grow confident, competent, resilient, and self-sustaining. Our Community: We serve Boston youth, with a focus on Latinos and the Roxbury neighborhood (highest poverty rate, 2nd highest crime rate). The neighborhood, with a population of approximately 57,000, is about 25% Latino and more than 50% African American. Youth in our programs have represented more than 20 different cultural backgrounds, and are currently 61.4% Latino (75% bilingual Spanish-English), 23.4% African American, and 15.2% other backgrounds. Most live at or below the poverty line (average family income is $26,000), half are from Roxbury, close to 60% are either
  • 2. immigrants or first-generation Americans, and 75% live in subsidized housing or housing developments. On a daily basis youth face systemic challenges that limit their opportunities for success such as underperforming schools, lack of employment options, health inequities, racism, and street violence, and they are underrepresented in the power structures that govern their lives. By connecting with Sociedad Latina’s array of programs and supports for whole families, youth are empowered to overcome these barriers to success and achieve long-term success in school, at work, and in their personal lives. Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse: Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse is a 1,400-square-foot facility located in our organization’s building on Tremont Street, the commercial center of our community. It includes a performance space, a computer lab for beat making, a recording studio, and access to guitars, basses, keyboards, and drums. Our participants, low-income, at-risk, Latino and African American youth age 8-21, often have little or no access to music experiences – either in school or the neighborhood. Combining traditional music instruction with our unique Youth Development Model, youth visit for school day, after-school, summer, and weekend opportunities to explore different musical styles, build skills, appreciate cultural influences, and become community leaders and art advocates. Arts opportunities are proven to increase school engagement, and through MCH, youth have a safe and supportive social gathering place that encourages creativity and positive self-expression. MCH develops life skills such as goal-setting, increases interpersonal skills, and nurtures talent that may have otherwise gone unattended. Our programming engages a diverse group of youth with varying skill levels and interests, and encourages participants to play together and make music as soon as possible. Since 2009, when the Clubhouse went to scale and moved into its current space, it has served more than 1,000 youth. Recent Music Clubhouse accomplishments:  In 2011, the Music Clubhouse celebrated Latino Heritage Month through a National Endowment for the Arts- sponsored series of weekly Latin music concerts featuring established artists such as Colombian songwriter Gregorio Uribe, Afro-Latin jazz/folk artist Cornell Coley, and Puerto Rican percussionist and multicultural educator, Jorge Arce.  Music Clubhouse vocalist Athalia Lopez won first place in a 2010 citywide “Clubhouse Idol” competition, while seven Clubhouse members won scholarships for prestigious summer programs at Berklee College of Music.  In 2009, the Music Clubhouse released a CD titled “Sonic Life.” The 12-track record features original hip-hop and reggaeton beats and lyrics including our theme song, “Welcome to Sociedad” (listen at  In 2010, Clubhouse members organized a benefit concert for earthquake victims in Haiti and Chile, presented workshops on Latino music to other youth organizations, and performed at nearly 50 community events.  For 2 straight years, youth won awards for their anti-tobacco hip-hop songs in The’s Digital Media Contest.  In 2011, guitarist Antonio Loomis won Berklee City Music’s Musician of the Year award.  In 2011, bassist Jackson Mann won a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee.  In 2011, we had 35 events such as a practice session and performance with Fausto Cuevas (who has performed with Stevie Wonder, among others) and an outdoor merengue concert featuring 4-time Grammy winner Henry Jiménez that was attended by over 500 community members.  In the past year, almost 100 youth used our beat-making lab and studio to create their own compositions and recordings. MCH offers a variety of options to youth to cover their wide range of interests. Whether you like hip-hop, R&B, rock, reggaeton, salsa, jazz, or blues, we cover it. If you’re interested in being a pop star, we have vocal lessons. If you want to rock in a band, you can pick up a guitar. If you want to be behind the scenes and produce tracks for hip-hop MCs, you can work in our beat-making lab. Drop-in hours make exploration easy for individuals or for groups of youth who want to jam together. We encourage youth to play and enjoy music, and move as quickly as possible into rehearsing songs and playing in ensembles through a sequential series of opportunities and programming that builds skills, provides opportunities for long-term engagement, and launches a pathway of lifelong engagement. The Clubhouse is a cultural institution in our underserved community, fostering connections between diverse groups of people, increasing vitality, and celebrating and continuing our Latino traditions. By boosting academic achievement and self-confidence, developing life skills such as goal-setting while rehearsing for performance, increasing inter-personal skills, and nurturing talent that may have otherwise gone unattended, the Clubhouse strengthens our community.
  • 3. Need: In a landmark, 10-year study from UCLA, researchers analyzed the school records of 25,000 students and discovered those who studied music and the arts had higher achievement, better attendance, and were more active in their community. Notably, low-income students improved school performance more rapidly than all others. We understand the connection music education has to learning engagement and academic achievement, and we are determined to provide this opportunity to the youth of our community. Too many of Boston’s students are denied access to arts opportunities due to budget cuts and the low priority of arts education. In a 2009 report, only 5% of elementary students and 6% of middle school students had the “best practice” benchmark of twice-weekly, year-long arts instruction. Only 26% of high schools offered arts education to more than 25% of their students. In response, for the past three years Sociedad Latina and others have partnered with the Boston Public Schools' Arts Expansion Initiative to promote access, equity, and quality in Boston arts education programs. Thanks to this innovative program that matches schools with community arts programs, the situation has improved; 9,000 more students have arts education during the school day, and 81% of K-8 students and 47% of high school students have weekly arts instruction. With the help of our program, 100% of our partner Maurice J. Tobin K-8 School students have weekly arts instruction. While we will continue serving these students, there is still a great need among the city's high school students. Only 20% of students at Newcomers Academy and New Mission High School receive any kind of arts instruction at all, and last year we launched partnerships with the schools to serve 60 more youth with high quality music education. Music Clubhouse Goals and Objectives  Goal 1: Increase music knowledge and skills through enriching music opportunities for at-risk youth. Objective 1a: Youth participate in lessons and classes, and learn music theory, music history, instrumental skills, and music production and recording. Objective 1b: Youth attend MCH activities such as workshops and concerts, and perform regularly in the community. Objective 1c: Youth drop-in during open studio, music exploration time at the Clubhouse to take advantage of available instruments, recording and production equipment, and knowledgeable Clubhouse staff and consultants.  Goal 2: Promote engagement and higher academic achievement in schools. Objective 2a: Youth attend music classes and lessons for middle school and high school students during the school day that are not offered in their schools. Objective 2b: Youth perform better in school through communication and personal skills developed in MCH activities. Objective 2c: Youth are more engaged in their education with enticing, enrichment opportunities.  Goal 3: Create a community that values the arts as a key component of a well-rounded education and a healthy, vibrant community, and raise awareness of challenges facing youth in our community and the safe and positive alternative music provides. Objective 3a: Continue to expand innovative arts initiatives such as the BPS Arts Expansion school day program. Objective 3b: Advocate for sustained or increased funding for high-quality arts programs in and out of school. Objective 3c: Youth record and release music with positive social messages. Objective 3d: Host weekly community events and performances to expand access, interest, and engagement in the arts among families and community members of all ages.  Goal 4: Foster parent and family engagement to support youth development. Objective 4a: Youth and their families attend Clubhouse events and performances together. Objective 4b: Youth and their families are exposed to new music and seek out further music opportunities. Sequential Programming: MCH programming is designed to provide a pathway of sequential opportunities for continuous music skill-building, with multiple options for entry and re-entry. Many participants are first exposed through school day music lessons for our partner schools at our Clubhouse, the music “club” in our after-school, middle school program, or by signing up for Saturday community lessons. Some are engaged through school day music lessons for our partner schools. As skill levels increase, youth begin rehearsing and performing in ensembles. Open studio time allows youth from the community to drop in and use our equipment. In high school, youth have the opportunity to be hired and work in the Clubhouse as a Youth Music Ambassador. Top-level MCH musicians are connected with outside partners such as Berklee School of Music for advanced training. School Day Opportunities: The Music Clubhouse offers weekly, 1-hour school-day lessons throughout the school year to 180 students from the Tobin K-8 School, and the Newcomers Academy and New Mission high schools. Lessons include a variety of options, such as drums, guitar, bass, keyboard, voice, or music production (beat-making, lyric-writing,
  • 4. recording). Newcomers Academy students, who are mostly recent immigrants to Boston, have limited English skills. They have thrived in our music program, however, which is a testament to the power of music to transcend language barriers and be an effective engagement tool. While some NCA students are Spanish speaking and can communicate with Sociedad Latina's bilingual Spanish-English staff, other students who do not speak Spanish or English have fared just as well. And as a core component of our curriculum, world music appreciation activities have proven especially effective as it gives students an opportunity to share their culture with the group as well as explore music from other cultures. Out-of-School Time Opportunities: The Clubhouse is open weekdays from 1 to 7 p.m. During this time, youth can drop- in, explore and practice instruments and vocals, make beats on computers, participate in workshops, rehearse in ensembles, and use our recording studio. Every other Friday afternoon we feature open houses with performances, guest professional musicians and bands, and other activities.  Lessons: During the school year, MCH offers 1-hour community lessons for up to 60 youth on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for guitar, bass, drums, and vocals. Over the summer, MCH provides lessons to our alternative summer school, middle school program and other organizations in the community with summer programs such as the Tobin Community Center and Roxbury Tenants of Harvard. In 2010 we began using newly developed method books from the Music and Youth Initiative that are designed specifically for clubhouse programs such as ours. The curriculum is structured to get youth playing songs faster than traditional books, and is synchronized between instruments so they can start playing in bands right away. Instruction covers voice, bass, guitar, drums, and keyboards. The books have been recently updated and revised in order to incorporate contemporary, popular songs, and to complement each other, meaning that students in a variety of classes can come together to play one song, even though they have been learning on their individual instruments. A key strength of the Music and Youth method books is they allow student to progress on track with each other and to collaborate creatively with one another across instruments. Curriculum is broken down into Music Production, Instrumental Instruction, Music Theory, and World Music Appreciation. Lessons increase participants’ sight-reading and sight-singing skills, rhythmic and melodic dictation skills, and music theory knowledge and its practical application. Clubhouse classes culminate in end-of-the-year performances where students showcase what they have learned for the enjoyment of their families, teachers, and friends.  Ensembles: For those just learning an instrument, the potential to form your own band or join an established one with a reputation is a strong incentive to keep practicing and stay involved. Ensembles offer opportunities for self- expression, and empower youth through music. Ensemble classes, offered twice a week, focus on developing youth as one unit and practicing eye contact, non-verbal communication signs, and interpretation of chord symbols for each various instrument (i.e. what a guitarist will play when seeing an E-7b5 compared to what a bass player will play). Other components include Theory & Ear Training, and Lyrics & Songwriting. Clubhouse ensembles are a cross-section of Music Clubhouse members who are the most skilled and determined. They range in age from 10 to 18, and sing and play guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. They are not content with just practicing on their own and taking lessons, they want to work together with their peers, learn songs, write music, and perform for the community. They have experienced the joy of spontaneously creating music together, are eager for any chance they can get to do so, and want to share their passion with others. Our ensembles have included the middle school band, “Three Dreams”; our blues-rock ensemble featuring guitarist Antonio Loomis, who recently won Berklee City Music’s Musician of the Year award; our Latin jazz ensemble featuring bassist Jackson Mann, who recently won a full-tuition scholarship to Berklee; our new, all-girl group program called “Girls on the Bandstand”; and continue to form as talents and tastes develop. Due to their appeal and visibility, ensembles also serve as an important outreach and recruitment tool for the Music Clubhouse, and engage the wider community in music experiences.  Youth Music Ambassadors: YMAs explore careers in the music industry and advocate for positive community change through socially responsible music and creative cultural events. Youth receive a paycheck for the 10 hours/week they work. They are immersed in the world of music with a curriculum of specially designed trainings on basic music skills such as beat-making and music production, event planning and project management, and ensemble playing. Once trained, YMAs promote Latino culture through performances, Music Clubhouse events, activities, and workshops, and work for positive community change through original musical compositions. YMAs are also responsible for management of Clubhouse activities, such as open exploration and studio time, learning graphic design skills for organization flyers, and teaching lessons on beat-making and studio recording.
  • 5. Meet Samantha Medina: When Samantha Medina started out in our after-school program, she was timid and didn’t feel comfortable with her peers and the activities. Who would have guessed that she’d end up joining our Sociedad Latina’s middle school band, “Three Dreams”? After Samantha started taking music lessons through the Music Clubhouse and learned to play bass, her overall confidence level skyrocketed. Now she’s outspoken. This spring, Samantha was even nominated for a Mission Hill Youth Collaborative achievement award for her teamwork skills. Through the band, she’s been able to play at locations such as the State House, Harvard School of Public Health, and a Boston Public Schools showcase of after-school programs. “Over the course of a year, she’s really broken through,” says Sociedad Latina Coordinator Ariana Lupercio. “A lot of it was being a member of the band. The youth involved with the Music Clubhouse often have the best attendance and are often the most reliable because of their engagement.” Sociedad Latina’s Music Clubhouse is unique: Since its grand opening in April 2009, the Music Clubhouse has become a hub for music engagement and appreciation in our Roxbury neighborhood, with a focus on fast-tracking youth through the lessons they need so they can concentrate on rehearsing and performing in groups. To maintain engagement and interest, we teach how to sing and play popular music on guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums, and all lessons and classes are student-centered, with instructors focusing on the songs and styles that youth want to play. Lessons and workshops also focus on understanding the process of songwriting, and encourage youth to work on original material. It is this philosophy of quickly giving youth vibrant, music-making experiences that makes our Music Clubhouse distinctive. As with all of Sociedad Latina's programs, the Clubhouse is cultural-based, integrating language and culture into lessons, trainings, and other activities with the goal of helping youth to build positive cultural identities that promote resiliency and engagement. For example, a MCH rhythm workshop will feature diverse Latin rhythms, how they were developed, and the connections between Latin music and social justice issues. Our intent is to help Latino youth develop cultural pride that will serve as a protective factor, guide positive decisions, and enable them to overcome multiple barriers to success. Research shows that a strong cultural identity and self-efficacy can have a profound effect on youth resiliency, which in turn affects a youth's ability to engage and operate within opportunity structures (i.e. schools and jobs). Self- efficacy also produces personal accomplishments, reduces stress, and lowers vulnerability to depression. Our Clubhouse’s model promotes positive youth development for Latino youth by amplifying the protective factors that are embedded into Latino culture such as the Latino focus on family and community. Besides boosting musical skills, Music Clubhouse activities impact youth academically and personally. Since the Clubhouse is part of our larger youth development organization, all youth are exposed to additional programming we offer such as after-school academic, workforce development, and community organizing programs, and many end up enrolling after learning about them.

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