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

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Audio Engineering and Studio Production Program

The Roots Academy is an audio engineering and studio production program for youth ages 15 – 19 years. In collaboration with Artisound Productions, LLC, The Roots Academy is a 10-month intensive designed to teach youth how to run their own music production business. Participants will become certified in industry-standard software as well as gain experience with live audio recording, studio recording, and engineering/mixing. In addition, they will learn music theory, financial literacy, and business management. Students will graduate with everything they need to know to support their careers as music creators and producers.

The Roots Academy runs four days per week for ten months, Monday – Thursday, from 5:30 – 7:00 pm. Classes are hosted on-site at Artisound Productions and at The Roots of Music’s main campus. The Roots of Music piloted The Roots Academy during March – May 2021. 

The Roots of Music’s mission is to empower the youth of New Orleans through music and to preserve and promote our city’s unique musical and cultural heritage. We create the next generation of New Orleans musicians. Through The Roots Academy, we are able to extend our mission’s potential and impact. By investing in the STEAM-based skills required to be an audio engineer, we can increase the number of young Black men and women certified as audio engineers as well as the number of young black men and women with transferrable STEAM-based skills. According to the US Department of Labor, Black youth are the least likely demographic to enter technology related fields. One of the largest reasons for this is the lack of representation of Black youth, adults, and culture in technology fields. A study from the Pew Research Center found that out of all minorities, Black STEM workers were concerned the most about racial equity in their field. Lack of representation as well as lack of educational opportunities were most often cited as reasons for their concern. By offering the opportunity for Black youth to learn STEM skills in a culture centered around them, The Roots of Music can increase both representation and educational opportunities in a STEM field. 

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Further, through this program we are addressing a lack of racial equity in the music industry. Currently, approximately 73% of musicians, singers, and related workers are white; over 60% are male (DataUSA: Musicians Singers, and Related Workers). Long-standing systemic barriers exist to accessing opportunities in the music industry. Even in a city as musically and ethnically diverse as New Orleans, these opportunities do not readily exist for our Black youth. The Roots of Music seeks to address this disparity by leveraging our knowledge and network to create a space for young Black men and women to master audio engineering and studio production. 

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