EducationWatch: "I Create Music" Week
Series of event programs bring members of the creative community together
April 6–12 was proclaimed "ASCAP I Create Music Week" in Los Angeles in recognition of seven days of instructional, networking and celebratory events for emerging and established songwriters, composers, music publishers and industry leaders. Launched during "ASCAP I Create Music Week" and extending into May, the 13th Annual ASCAP Foundation/Disney Musical Theatre Workshop gave aspiring musical theater writers a free opportunity to present excerpts from their original works-in-progress and receive feedback from a panel of prominent theater producers, directors and composers. Associated events included GRAMMY-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz receiving his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the 25th Annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards honoring Steve Miller and Lionel Richie. During her event opening remarks, ASCAP President and Chairman Marilyn Bergman gave a special welcome from the stage to GRAMMY U students in attendance.
In related news, Miller and Schwartz also participated in the week's ASCAP "I Create Music" Expo. At the educational conference dedicated to songwriting and composing, Schwartz moderated a roundtable on opera and musical theater and hosted a master session on creating music for the theater. Miller, Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora, and Jackson Browne were expo interviewees and the convention also featured panels, workshops, song critiquing, networking, and state-of-the-art technology and product demos. The Recording Academy presented an informative panel, "Promoting Your B(r)and: Online And Alternative Marketing," moderated by songwriter/composer and Pacific Northwest Executive Director Ben London. London and the panelists addressed ways that music creators can use online and alternative resources for career advancement through methods such as building an audience, promoting shows, and marketing and selling their music.
While in his hometown of Memphis, Tenn., filming the upcoming movie The Open Road, Justin Timberlake recently donated $100,000 each to the Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum and Memphis Music Foundation. "Music education and keeping the legacy of Memphis music alive has always been important to me," Timberlake affirmed. The Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum is utilizing the donation to further its mission to tell the story of Memphis music and perpetuate its legacy, and the funds will also advance the music education of students throughout Shelby County. Memphis Music Foundation President Dean Deyo acknowledged Timberlake as "a great role model for students and a great musical ambassador" for Memphis. Timberlake has also previously made a financial donation to E.E. Jeter Elementary School, a school he attended.
Bob Dylan's American Journey, 1956–1966 — an acclaimed exhibition with several educational components — is running through June 8 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Organized by GRAMMY Museum Executive Director Bob Santelli in connection with Seattle's Experience Music Project (where Santelli previously served as director/CEO), the exhibition features more than 160 artifacts and an unreleased recording of Dylan's first concert. Visitors also have the opportunity to accompany Dylan's recordings on keyboards, electric and acoustic guitars, V-Drums and organs, as well as create their own mix of an authentic Dylan recording — courtesy of the Roland Corporation. Recent related Skirball events have included An Evening With Michael McClure, longtime Dylan friend and one of the last living Beat poets; Bob Dylan: Hiding In Plain Sight, a concert and commentary with music historian Ben Sidran; and Defining Dylan: A Bob Dylan Symposium, an event moderated by Santelli. A Concert Celebrating The Music Of Bob Dylan was also co-sponsored by the GRAMMY Museum and was described by Santelli as "essentially our inaugural live-music presentation." Also at the Skirball, the GRAMMY Museum is co-presenting a rare screening of the Dylan documentary Eat The Document on May 29, hosted by music documentarian Penelope Spheeris.
Baby Loves Disco is a nationwide afternoon dance party with music spun and mixed by DJs who blend classic disco songs from the '70s and '80s for parents and children up to age 7. In each Baby Loves Disco city, people from across the social spectrum congregate in a child- and parent-pleasing musical environment. The parties are entirely supervised by a network of local parents and local businesses, and service providers sponsor play activities and give out free items. The program was founded by Heather Murphy Monteith and Andy Blackman Hurwitz and has expanded internationally to Japan, Sweden, Tel Aviv, Israel, and the UK. The company has also released a number of related musical recordings including Baby Loves Disco Soundtrack, Baby Loves Jazz, Baby Loves Jazz Greatest Hits Volumes 1 & 2, and Baby Loves Hip-Hop Presents The Dino-5. The recordings feature contributions from professional-caliber musicians and are designed to introduce children to multiple musical genres. Baby Loves Salsa, produced by GRAMMY winner Aaron Levinson, is scheduled for release in June 2008.
(Laurel Fishman is a writer and editor specializing in entertainment media. She reports regularly for GRAMMY.com and is an advocate for the benefits of music making, music listening, music education, music therapy and music-and-the-brain research.)