March marks the 37th annual observation of Music in Our Schools Month, a celebration that recognizes the importance of music curriculum in the lives of students and music lovers. With the unprecedented changes to arts programs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic volatility, preserving music education has never been more crucial.
Yet, funding and access to resources remain obstacles to students receiving classroom music instruction. According to the Save the Music Foundation, more than 5 million public school students lack access to music education. Recent case studies have shown that music in the curriculum improves both overall student academic performance and social-emotional skills.
Keeping in line with the Recording Academy's commitment to lifelong music education, GRAMMY In The Schools Fest (GITS Fest), presented by the GRAMMY Museum, brings GRAMMY Week pomp and circumstance to students, educators and music lovers nationwide. Presented by MusicPower, the three-day virtual event features student and professional performances, as well as informative panels by artists, educators and music professionals. Lessons and other insights from these panels will provide an unforgettable edge for navigating the music industry ecosystem in a rapidly changing professional environment.
GITS Fest will take place virtually Monday, March 28 — Wednesday, March 30, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. PT daily. The festival culminates in A GRAMMY In The Schools Salute To Music Education, a benefit concert with Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats taking place Thursday, March 31, at House of Blues Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay; all ticket sales will support the GRAMMY Museum‘s Education Programs.
This year’s list of panels has something to offer music educators, students and enthusiasts. Registration for the virtual panels is free and open to the public. Switchfoot, Katie Thiroux, Gateways Brass Collective, and Jeff Pilson of Foreigner are just some of the few panelists ready to mentor young musical minds.
Read on for a list of must-see panels at GITS Fest 2022, and learn when and where to stream them. Click here to register.
1. The Artistry And Musicianship In Audio Engineering Panel With Manny Marroquin
Monday, March 28, 1 p.m. PST
Audio engineering is a crucial part of most musical projects and a marketable skill that can extend beyond the music industry. Guatemala-born audio engineer Manny Marroquin boasts a career working with legends such as Whitney Houston, 2Pac, Shakira, Rihanna, and many more. The Hamilton High School (a Los Angeles magnet school for students showing talent in the arts) graduate will discuss how he turned a studio internship into a long lasting sustainable career in the audio industry, and provide professional pointers.
2. The Art Of Tech, Performance, & Business: Career Tips In Music And Beyond With GRAMMY Camp Faculty Member
Wednesday, March 30, 1 p.m. PST
It’s one thing to be a phenomenal instrumentalist, but it's quite another to be able to mic yourself, tackle live performances and navigate the complexities of contracts, payments and more. Check out this panel featuring GRAMMY Camp faculty members and get some insights regarding this summer’s nonresidential in-person classes in Los Angeles. (Applications are open now through March 31.)
3. Preparing For Performance With Minimal Rehearsal Time Panel Ft. GRAMMY In The Schools Alumni Band
Thursday, March 31, 1 p.m. PST
In an ideal world, we would all have plenty of notice and time to prepare for live shows. But in the music business, when opportunity knocks you have to answer the door. Members of the GRAMMY In The Schools Alumni Band will share how to hit that stage with minimal rehearsal time — a worthwhile skill for musicians at any stage in their career. After all, who wouldn’t want to know more about prepping faster and more efficiently?
4. Choral Clinic At Alexandria City High School in Alexandria, VA Ft. Music Educator Award Winner Jeffery Redding & Alexandria Choir Director Theodore Thorpe II
Monday, March 28, noon PST
Most instrumentalists familiar with harmonizing with vocalists (and vice versa), so this panel is a must for anyone who is currently or was previously involved in choral ensemble performance. Held at Alexandria City High School — whose chorus students have performed at Disney World and Busch Gardens in nearby Williamsburg, VA, as well as for the President of the United States and even appeared on the hit TV show "Glee" — this panel focuses on vocal athleticism. GRAMMY Music Educator Award winner Jeffery Redding and co-panelist Theodore Thorpe II (who has worked with artists such as Mary J. Blige, the Backstreet Boys, Chris Brown, Bruce Springsteen, Janelle Monae and Sheryl Crow) will lend their insight on preparing choral singers.
5. Cimafunk Discusses Being A Professional Musician
Wednesday, March 30, 11 a.m. PST
Cuban artist Erik Iglesias Rodríguez, who performs as Cimafunk, has toured extensively internationally and was selected as one of Billboard’s Top 10 Latin Artists to Watch. His second LP, El Alimento was released in 2021 and blends Afro-Cuban rhythms and funk (with a little help from collaborators George Clinton and Lupe Fiasco). Known for his high energy performances and considered by some to be Cuba’s biggest breakout musician of the last 10 years, Cimafunk will explain how he professionally navigates the music industry while honoring his roots and staying true to himself.
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