The MusiCounts TD Community Music Program has supported music programs across Canada for the past five years. We recently announced our 2017 recipients and to celebrate, we’re sharing their stories through weekly spotlights. This week, meet Jam Club, the community music program at Studio Bell, Home of the National Music Centre in Calgary, AB.
Q: Can you tell us about the history of the Jam Club?
A: Jam Club is a free after-school drop-in program for youth ages 13-19 who want to learn to play an instrument and jam with other musicians. The program provides a safe and welcoming place that allows students to pursue their musical curiosity and learn how to play a range of instruments by working with the National Music Centre’s team of incredibly passionate, dedicated volunteers and staff. Jam Club also offers wonderful opportunities for students to interact with and learn from artists & JUNO Award-winning clinicians who graciously share their knowledge and expertise.
Q: Why did your organization apply for a grant for musical instruments through the MusiCounts TD Community Music Program?
A: One of the most important aspects of Jam Club is that students do not need to bring in their own instruments – the National Music Centre (NMC) provides a range of instruments for Jam Club members to play with. For several years, NMC has hosted Jam Club (previously Guitar Club) every Thursday, and, over this time, many of our instruments have come in need of replacement. Additionally, in order to support the musical evolution of Jam Club members, we needed to introduce new instruments and equipment like a proper drum kit, a high-quality electronic keyboard, some DJ gear and more professional guitar and bass amps to more accurately represent the robust needs of a musician performing on a stage. The MusiCounts TD Community Music Program grant was a great opportunity for us to address these needs and ultimately help us deliver a better experience for our students.
With a wider range of instruments and equipment, NMC is able to offer a program that suits the needs of a more diverse group of young musicians…
Q: What is the impact that receiving the grant has had on your students and community?
A: Many of our students are not able to easily access musical instruments and equipment. This grant has provided our Jam Club participants an opportunity to play with quality, functional gear as they strive to make music that speaks to them and channel their inspiration into songs. The ability to play their music on high-quality gear has been a remarkable confidence boost.
The quality of the new instruments we were able to purchase with the MusiCounts grant has also allowed the students to really focus on the tonal and dynamic details of their playing. Knowing that they have the tools that they need to create excellent music has elevated the students’ willingness to improve their musical skills and take advantage of all that Jam Club has to offer. The availability of new equipment suited for making electronic music has opened up a number of opportunities for students to explore different musical styles and learn new instruments and techniques.
Q: What are the next steps for the program since receiving the grant?
A: Since we received the grant and purchased the new instruments, we have been turning our attention towards creating a more band-friendly like jam space and getting students ready for live stage performances. Jam Club has always been a bridge between playing music alone at home and playing with, and in front of, others. The addition of all of these new instruments and equipment allows us to foster that collaborative environment further.
Ultimately, with a wider range of instruments and equipment, NMC is able to offer a program that suits the needs of a more diverse group of young musicians – from absolute beginners to those ready to make the leap to the stage. We believe that we now have a better Jam Club as a result of this grant and are confident that this will lead to better outcomes for our members.
To learn more about the National Music Centre or Jam Club, follow the links below:
Read last week’s blog featuring the Cristie Refugee Welcome Centre from Toronto, ON. See the full list of recipients from the 2017 MusiCounts TD Community music program here. Our next feature will be on Sistema New Brunswick next week – stay tuned!