LAS VEGAS — Our Notes For Notes Program Director Pete Sullivan blogs the happenings of the Las Vegas Studio and the impact it has on our talented youth!
December 4th, 2020
Welcome to the Las Vegas Studio blog for December 2020! I don’t know about you but I am glad to see 2020 coming to an end with aspirations that 2021 will be as good as 2020 was bad as far as world events go. I do have to say I am impressed with how well all of the kids at Reynold's club have dealt with the pandemic with such maturity and empathy.
I am happy to announce that we have finished recording the first song to be released out of this studio and after a few tweaks it will be ready to be heard by everyone. It features several of our teens at the club as well as some of the younger kids who were so gracious to lend us their voice talents for the song as well. I am very proud of the kids and how they all contributed to make this song as great as it is with hopefully a lot more to come as we continue to grow and get better as musicians.
Lessons are still going well for all of the youth involved, we have even added a few more kids to the roster that have told me they are interested in learning. To see the looks on their faces as they are able to play a song they know is one of the best feelings in the world. I hope that soon we are able to collaborate the youth together to play a recital or concert for the parents and everyone else involved. Whether that be over a zoom call or just making a music video to post on a social media platform I haven't decided yet but I know that it will be coming soon and I can’t wait to share the results with everyone.
November 20th, 2020
What a year 2020 has been and we still have about a month and a half to go. Staring at the possibility of another shutdown across the country I can’t imagine what it is like being a child during all of this. I am impressed with the ability of the youth in the club to be so mature about all the events that are happening right now. I can see that they are getting frustrated and fed up with constantly having to have their classes online without any physical interaction with any other students and teachers in any of their classes. That’s why I think Notes for Notes is so important; it gives the kids a chance at escaping at least for a while to do something that makes them happy and can forget the virus for a while.
We have been working on a new song for a few weeks now and it has been fun to see the youth I’m working with experience what a music production project is like for the first time. They have gone from freezing in front of a microphone to memorizing and reciting lyrics that they have written with a little help from myself and other youth. I hope to finish up the recording this week and hopefully have the track ready before the christmas break because it will be a nice present to show our sponsors the types of things that we can make in the studio they so generously provided for us. We have also been continuing with lessons in guitar, piano, and drums and I see my students getting better every week. I am anticipating a concert showcasing their musical talents in the near future.
October 22nd, 2020
As we move forward in this crazy year that is 2020 we should all be reminded that the future of our society lies with the children that we have brought onto this earth. I have spent a good amount of my time around classrooms as my mother has been a elementary and middle school teacher for over 20 years now. I have been around numerous groups of children of all ages and lifestyles and I have to say the group of kids that I have here at Donald W. Reynolds’ club is a special group. I feel very fortunate to be able to work with this awesome group of kids everyday.
After a few weeks of experimentation and implementation of different ideas I have finally developed a schedule that gives all the youth that come into the club a chance to participate in the different programming that I am able to do in the studio. Everything from guitar lessons to music production and even podcasting is available to the youth. With the help of the staff here and the parents I have created an easy way for all the youth to be able to sign up for any activity/ programming that they so desire.
Guitar lessons have easily been the most popular attraction that the youth want to sign up for as well as drum lessons that are taught by myself and another staff member at the club Karron who is definitely more of a drum expert than I could ever hope to be. One thing I did not see coming was how popular the karaoke slots on Friday would be and how many kids want to sign up to sing. It definitely takes the good vibes into the weekend for everyone involved.
This studio is as awesome as it is with thanks to a few different people and organizations, first off I would like to thank Mr. Brendon Urie from Panic at the Disco and the High Hopes Foundation for their contributions to the studio and also State Farm for their donations and help. So we are working on a song now to showcase what the studio is capable of doing; I am happy to have some talented youth in the studio with me that are currently working on lyrics for a musical composition that we have come up with in our short time working here in the studio. I am hoping to be able to release said song in the near future to show Mr. Urie and State Farm just how talented the youth in Las Vegas and around the country are so stay tuned for that! Thank you again for reading the Vegas blog and keeping up with our studio here in the Boys and Girls Club I hope that some of you get the chance to come in and really experience what we are all about here.
October 8th, 2020
The Long Time Coming Blog
It’s hard to put into words all the emotion and anticipation that had been going through my head the past few months. Sitting around in quarantine just waiting on the phone call that you can finally start working is excruciating. Finally that day came on June 1st, however it was only in digital fashion. I still wasn’t able to get into my studio space; a beautiful space that I had only seen once but knew it so well in my mind because it was everything I was hoping for. Finally after 2 months of waiting and a negative virus test I was admitted.
Since being able to come to the club my relationship with the youth here has grown by leaps and bounds. Teens who knew nothing about music and music production can now help create musical compositions and play classic rock hits on the drums and piano with me. It’s been amazing to watch how easily it has been for them to pick up and learn these instruments so quickly. It’s also been amazing how quick the youth are to open up to me and share their problems no matter how small and inconsequential I think they may be; I listen and that’s important to them because maybe I am the only one who does so. I have also been able to provide an escape for them from their digital lives that have now become a large part of their day because they are not able to physically go to their respective schools yet. I hear quotes like “This is the best part of the day” and that makes my day. So far we have accomplished such goals as creating a song for the Les Paul foundation, setting up a weekly podcast entitled Teen Talk, and creating a spooky soundtrack for the Haunted House that is going to be set up in the teen center.
With the ability to open up space and have more youth in the club I have since created a schedule for the studio going forward to hopefully add more structure to everything. I have included everything from guitar lessons to music production classes to songwriting seminars for the youth. Of course said schedule is always subject to change depending on the interest level of the youth and the numbers I get to come to each session. I look forward to sharing some of the cool stuff that we get into on this blog. Hopefully we can soon turn Vegas into a hotspot for music development in our youth for years to come.