The Roots of Music is honored to be a 2024 recipient of The Lewis Prize for Music


The Roots of Music was created in 2007

during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, by Derrick Tabb, Grammy winner and CNN Hero. The Roots of Music is true to our name: we are the roots of music education and culture in our city. Tabb watched as many of our city’s music education programs did not come back in the wake of the storm and he knew that in order to save the lives of the city’s youth as well as its culture, he had to create a space for youth and music to thrive. From its humble beginnings as a six-week drum camp at Tipitina’s, a bar and music venue, to being a $1 million dollar organization with three programs and full wrap-around support services, The Roots of Music has held true to the belief that music saves lives.

The Roots of Music’s three programs include Sprouts of Music (ages 5 – 8 years), Marching Crusaders Band (ages 9 – 14 years), and The Roots Studio Academy (ages 15 – 19 years).

Sprouts of Music serves children ages 5-8, teaching basic music education after school. This program occurs at school sites so that young children are comfortable and familiar with their surroundings. The Roots of Music instructs students in the basic elements of music and rhythm. Classes are 1.5 hours long, offered during the school year, and can be tailored to reinforce classroom lessons. Currently, Sprouts of Music is the only early childhood music education program offered during after school hours, the most vulnerable time in a child’s day.

Through our flagship Marching Crusaders band program

we serve youth ages 9-14 from low-income households and provide our students with hot meals and round-trip transportation to reduce common barriers to participation. Five days a week, 12 months a year, this program delivers over 2,500 hours of music education and other academic tutoring, over 30,400 nutritious hot meals, 1,400 bus journeys, and supplies up to 200 instruments for student use.

The Roots Studio Academy works with young adults

Ages 15-19 who want to learn all aspects of audio recording and production, engineering, and music business. This intensive 10-month program will give young adults the technical knowledge, certifications, experience, and network to succeed in the lucrative world of music production. For young adults who want to continue their professional journey as musicians, The Roots Academy prepares them for future careers in the music industry.

The Roots of Music’s programming is designed and led by the highest caliber musicians and music educators. Our programming has won multiple awards including the Arhoolie award, The Adolf Busch Award, and finalist for The Lewis Prize. High profile performances include the Rose Bowl Parade, two international bookings in Summer 2018 (Curaçao North Sea Jazz Festival in the Dutch Caribbean and Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival in Canada) as well as the 2019 French Jazz Sous Les Pommiers festival as part of the D-Day 75th anniversary celebration in Normandy.



Accelerator Award Winner

The Roots of Music

Rising Star Award

The Roots of Music

BCBS Angel Award

The Roots of Music

Arhoolie Award

The Roots of Music

CNN Hero Award

The Roots of Music

D'Addario Foundation Grant

The Roots of Music

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We Believe music has the power to transform lives