San Bernardino Teen Music Workshop performs live at Disney California Adventure
[Teens rock out on stage after being selected in a very competitive audition from the Disney Summer Concert Series on Sept. 1, 2013.]
Recalling how his own interest in music performance began in high school and continued on through college, Bryan Wing created the San Bernardino Teen Music Workshop in 2009 at a community day school and today is hosted by the Boys & Girls Club of America. The Teen Music Workshop is an after-school program that provides an opportunity for teens to learn how to play musical instruments as well as write and record their own music.
As a counselor with the Richardson Prep High Middle School in the San Bernardino City Unified School District (SBCUSD), Wing had students with severe behavior problems and wanted to help them beyond traditional methods, such as one-on-one counseling. With a career spanning 27 years as a social worker, an educator and a school administrator, he sought productive ways for students to better occupy their time.
"I started the program because I believed music would add a positive incentive activity for students at my school,” says Wing. “The program quickly grew from less than 10 students to about 20 students from all over the district within the first year.”
[Guitarist and drummer of the San Bernardino Teen Music Workshop jam together before a live audience during the Disney Summer Concert Series on Sept. 1, 2013.]
With nearly 500,000 students, SBCUSD is the eighth largest school district in California. Wing knew the Teen Music Workshop would need to expand as interest grew. Not sure where to begin, he visited a Guitar Center and the manager suggested he contact the Fender Music Foundation. As a nonprofit organization, the Fender Music Foundation donates musical instruments to qualified music programs that are in need of support.
Wing’s music program fit the Fender Music Foundation’s criteria, so he applied for a grant and was approved. Just last year the Teen Music Workshop received 11 electric guitars and two acoustic electric guitars. Some of the models include: Natural Finish Jackson Soloist; Natural Fender Malibu Electric Acoustic Guitar; Red Fender Telecaster Electric Guitar; and the Amber Fender Electric Guitar.
The Teen Music Workshop is made up of between 30 to 40 regular students, which includes three performance groups and various solo artists. Additionally, about 100 students receive music instruction each week.
The city of San Bernandino is poor and many of the students who participate in the Workshop are unable to afford the cost of the instruments, so the program loans them out to those who qualify, Wing says.
Not long ago, the idea of selling a song for a commercial would have been seen as career suicide. Now, thanks to the music industry’s implosion and the rise of a new generation of artist-friendly ad execs, bands can barely survive without doing so. But has the bubble already burst?
Dave is a music teacher at the Ramona Elementary School in Alhambra which recently received a grant for their music program from the Fender Music Foundation. Dave graciously accepts a Fender Modern Bass guitar. He and daughter Keena enjoy the harmonies created from the beautiful Gretsch Rancher acoustic guitar in Savanna Sunset red.
Because we receive more grant requests than we can satisfy, we are launching a new instrument donation program so that we can put more instruments into the hands of students and qualified music education programs than ever before. If you have a gently used instrument that you could donate, you could change the course of someone’s life. We will be happy to refurbish your guitars, drums, flutes, violins, and just about any other instrument you see fit to give to this program. Donations are tax-deductible.
n the afternoon of Sunday, May 26, 2013, during Commencement/Reunion Weekend, students from Oberlin’s Masters in Music Teaching Program treated children attending Camp Oberlin (a weekend of Children’s activities) to a musical petting zoo. Squawks, Booms, and all other manner of sounds occurred. It was a great time! All photos by Zach Christy.
Some students would never get through school if it had not been for band. Band was their safe place. Band was their home. Band made everything else tolerable. I look at my current band, and I know there are students in it who succeeded in academics because band got them through the tough times.
Amen. I dunno about other kids, but that’s exactly what band and orchestra were for me in high school: a safe place.