Earlier this month, Music Unites, an organization dedicated to empowering youth through music education, workshops, and special programming primarily in New York and Los Angeles, brought their Makers Academy Beat-Making Club to The Orchard. A group of 15 high school students came prepared to perform their music in front of The Orchard and received feedback from our judges. While there were no Simon Cowells in the house, our judges took notes and carefully constructed feedback for students to apply to their craft. Then the tables turned and a panel of esteemed Orchardites — aka our very own Alyse Vellturo, Niya Morton, Naji Grampus, Ryan Whitman, Stephanie Demar, and Sammy Pisano — talked about how they got into music, some of the challenges they experienced along the way, and what they do at The Orchard to help independent artists release their music across the globe.
The event was incredibly powerful and reminded all of us at The Orchard that music matters so much — it’s what breaks barriers and brings people together. Simply put, it was a reminder of why we do what we do. The truth is, Makers Academy doesn’t have a single music curriculum, so the Beat-Making Club allows students to craft beats and learn the fundamentals of what it takes to make and perform music.
In between performances, Jared Russo, the program director of the Music Unites Makers Academy Beat-Making Club explained the various initiatives Music Unites has developed over the years to connect students with music, including a choir and guitar club. After those two initiatives didn’t stick, faculty started listening to the buzz within their own classroom. A group of students had put together a track and the beats were going viral around the school. But without a music course, how could these teens learn how to pursue their passion? Cue Music Unites.
The Beat-Making Club helps students define who they are as artists — they work on their stage presence, eye contact, breathing, and most importantly — the message they want to share through their music to all those who will listen.
Thank you, Music Unites, for choosing The Orchard to host your Music-Versity program and Makers Academy Beat-Making Club performances. Until next time!