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Memphis Music Initiative creating next generation of local musicians, creatives

Songwriting, singing, and playing instruments are just some of the options Memphis Music Initiative offers students.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Music Initiative is an organization working to empower young people to explore careers in music and build a larger local interest in the music industry.

“In our in-schools program, young people are also being taught creative liberation,” Rychetta Watkins, MMI’s Director of Grantmaking and Partnerships, said. “They are learning how to use instruments and right now we have about 15 fellows who are in schools.”

Students at the Memphis Music Initiative can create music videos, write music, perform through singing or other instruments, take up production work and even learn how to manage musicians.

“We also talk a lot about jazz improvisations where the kids learn transcriptions and they have to perform,” fellow Stephen Lee said.

The initiative offers free in-school, summer and paid internship programs. All photos throughout the main building show off students in the programs, encouraging future students to pursue different creative careers here in Memphis.

Not only does the program help students, but it also gives professional musicians new opportunities.

“We’re really, really proud of the fact that this program gives working musicians an opportunity to have a stable income where they are practicing their music, they’re living out their music and they’re teaching young people,” Watkins said.

“It’s a lot of fun to share my life skills and knowledge to these students,” Stephen Lee said.

These fellows are hoping to inspire the next generation of musicians.

“As these young people are dreaming new dreams for the creative economy and the arts in Memphis, they then have the infrastructure to live out those dreams,” Watkins said.

The program is always looking for more volunteers, that information can be found on the Memphis Music Initiative website.

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