Dear RYTMO Team Members:
RYTMO’s had an exciting first half of 2023. Firstly, we celebrated our 20th year anniversary! It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years since we first opened our doors and started recruiting aspiring musicians from all walks of life. A huge thank you and congratulations to everyone who’s supported us and been a part of our journey. We’ve made a lot of changes to the structure of our program and curriculum since 2003, including the following recent developments:
As a result of RYTMO’s curriculum restructuring, we’ve been able to make it available for like-minded agencies to use in their various educational settings. The first quarter of the year saw us solidify arrangements with both Music Across Borders and Berklee City Music Network (BCMN) to use our revised curriculum as a teaching tool in their respective classrooms. Berklee School of Music’s BCMN is a consortium of 47 community organizations across the United States, Canada, and Latin America that leverages the power of contemporary music to help youth from under-served communities develop musically, academically, socially, and emotionally. United through its commitment to this mission, the 47-member organization serves over 55,000 students throughout the United States, Canada, and Latin America. Music Across Borders provides music education to low-income youth through various churches and non-profits in India, Vietnam, The Philippines, and the US.
In April, RYTMO was also given permission to utilize the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Oral History Library to be used in conjunction with our curriculum. This means agencies working in association with RYTMO will have access to a wide variety of interviews conducted by NAMM over the last two decades, which includes 5,000-plus interviews that preserve the rich history of the industry through first-person accounts from professionals in music products, pro audio, live sound, entertainment technology, artists and more. These interviews shed light on how an eclectic mix of music professionals have uniquely impacted the music industry worldwide and include artists like Stevie Wonder, Brian Setzer, Chick Corea, Spencer Davis, Paul Shaffer (David Letterman’s Band Leader), Tito Puente, and many others. “I am so pleased that the NAMM Oral History Collection will inspire the next generation of music makers and industry leaders,” shared Dan Del Fiorentino, Associate Director and Music Historian. “Mentorship comes in many forms, and RYTMO’s students will benefit from the words of wisdom and timeless advice found in these interviews as they navigate their careers.”
RYTMO was very grateful to receive a grant from the BMI Foundation for the 4th year in a row! We were also selected to be featured on the BMI Foundation’s website and their social media sites. We feel honored by the interest from this esteemed organization and especially want to show our gratitude to the late Cindy Badell-Slaughter for opening the doors to the foundation before her passing. This introduction was invaluable for RYTMO and Cindy’s part in it will never be forgotten.
We’re also excited to announce that through our partnership with The Festival of Children Foundation in Costa Mesa, RYTMO has been offered a complimentary recording session for a RYTMO student at Gold Pacific Studios in Newport Beach. The Festival of Children Foundation impacts the lives of children by strengthening the charities that serve them. By creating awareness and providing training and financial support, the foundation makes the dreams of member organizations a reality. We’re very grateful for their generosity and looking forward to hearing the finished recording product! Recording facilities are a very valuable tool for students to make a polished and professional music recording. These donations are always welcome and appreciated.
In collaboration with Studio 770 in Brea, RYTMO has begun providing live viewing sessions via Facebook for youth that desire a career in the area of recording. Youth are presented with a real-time look at a live-streamed recording session (mostly jazz) from the perspective of a fully equipped professional recording studio. It is our hope that these sessions will provide insight into what a recording session entails and give them more confidence should they choose to participate in one themselves.
As RYTMO continues to expand its reach and increase its solid reputation in the music realm, the funding for our program is lagging behind. Even though Proposition 28 passed with overwhelming support from Californian voters – guaranteeing funding for the arts and music in K-12 public schools beginning in the 2023-24 school year – the funding rollout will be very slow, most will go into the schools directly and up to 51% may be applied to one-time music and arts blocks grants that RYTMO doesn’t qualify for. It’s unfortunate that RYTMO falls through the cracks of this funding because our curriculum is constantly in demand by new organizations across the US and abroad, including a possible new connection in Nigeria.
As wonderful as it is to get continual interest, it presents RYTMO with challenges. As we continue to expand our impact, our need for volunteers simultaneously grows. We are currently looking for individuals who may be interested in volunteering a few hours a month to help with fundraising. Additional funding allows us to keep improving our program and offering our curriculum at no cost to those who can’t afford or access a quality music education.
We are planning to incorporate video tutorials into our curriculum, which again would present a new cost, so also need help with marketing and development. Marketing our brand to the right businesses would be advantageous in our fundraising efforts. One of our other major goals is to increase our revenue so we can include a fully operating publishing arm. We are on the lookout for volunteers who could help get this set up and facilitate music placements for original songs written by RYTMO students. Of course, the majority of the proceeds will be funneled directly into providing our program to non-profit agencies. If you have a few hours you can volunteer each month, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or if you would like to donate financially, you can do so via PayPal or send a check to PO Box 1206, Anaheim, CA 92815.
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As always, we are very grateful for your interest in RYTMO!
RYTMO is not only a program, it’s a movement