Silence Is Violence

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Music Clinics digest

Date: Sat, Mar. 20, 2010


a campaign for peace in New Orleans



Youth Music Clinics


Shortly after the founding of SilenceIsViolence in 2007, we held our first Music Clinic for young New Orleanians. Having launched an anti-violence campaign in memory of a drummer and a filmmaker, we felt a responsibility to work for peace through the arts ourselves. Since then, we have invited young people ages 5 to 15 to learn about music history, the business of music, and especially the practice of music from professional New Orleans musicians.


The evening clinics are led by trumpet virtuoso Shamarr Allen, who grew up playing with Dinerral Shavers, in whose memory these clinics are held. Shamarr and his team of coaches work closely with the students, in small groups and individually. A hot dinner is served, and an informal performance closes each evening. Between sessions, participants have the opportunity to take private lessons with the music coaches.


Students can come every week, or just once in a while. They can choose a steady instrument, or try out different instruments until they find the one that they love. SilenceIsViolence has a collection of brass, percussion, and woodwind instruments, as well as guitars, for students to choose from and borrow. The emphasis is on core skills and music literacy, with a repertory that favors Jazz and other New Orleans idioms.


Since 2008, the Threadheads organization has been a staunch supporter of the Music Clinics, and of Shamarr Allen as a performer. Along with the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic, Sweet Home New Orleans, and many individual supporters, the Threadheads agree with us that reaching young people through creative expression and mentorships can have concrete impact on everyone’s long-term public safety.


This evening, SilenceIsViolence will participate in a panel on social challenges and music education in New Orleans, at the Payson School for International Development at Tulane. The panel will including a discussion of the SilenceIsViolence Youth Music Clinics, and music as challenging the culture of violence. Music and Social Challenges Panel: Tulane University, 300 Hebert Hall, 6-7:30PM.


SilenceIsViolence Music Clinics will resume on the Tuesday after Mardi Gras, continuing every Tuesday throughout the spring, from 5:30 to 7:30 each week. The clinics are held at Sound Cafe (2700 Chartres Street) and are open to the public. If you would like to learn more, or if you know a prospective participant, please stop by to see this exciting collaboration between professional musicians and young New Orleanians exploring music for the first time!