Finding the Groove

Mike Lawson • Archives • May 14, 2008

Last month I wrote about the power of music in the column “What Music Really Means.” Through the stories of people more than 30 years removed from school and in careers far removed from music, this diverse group of “regular people” gave voice to the power music has to change lives.

In a related article, back in October of 2006, I wrote about this great new series from HBO called “The Music in Me.” This documentary showcased a series of young musicians (12 and under!) who demonstrated their musical ability while also speaking to the important role music played in each of their lives. At the time I wrote:

“From the very start I was captivated. There were times I caught myself with my mouth wide open. It was without question the most inspiring program (television, film or radio) focusing on music and kids that I have ever seen (and I have seen most of them). It was so moving that I immediately called my good friend and partner in advocacy, NAMM’s Mary Luehrsen, insisting that she see the show. Her response was the same as mine.”

Well, the visionary behind the HBO series, Leslie Stifelman who generated not only the above response from me, but from positive feedback from thousands of viewers around the nation (and earned her a Peabody Award to boot!) has now created a new project designed to pick up from where the HBO series left off and to showcase the power of music to transform lives. The project is called “Finding the Groove™.”

Finding the Groove is a virtual world where kids aged seven to twelve, from diverse cultural and regional backgrounds, and who are instrumental musicians, composers, singer songwriters and vocalists of all styles or genres, will be able to come and share their musical stories by uploading and sharing videos on a safe network designed for them. A handful of those kids who submit the most exciting videos online will be chosen to be part of the Finding the Groove concert series. This will feature the musical performances and stories of these young musicians who are making connections between their music and the world around them. These multi-media events will be presented in conjunction with major symphony orchestras, symphony halls, and university and community arts organizations from around the country.

Here is how it works:

Between now and June 15th encourage your students or friends who live in Indiana ages seven to twelve to:

  1. Log on to:
  2. Create an account
  3. Fill out your profile
  4. Create your video
  5. pload your video
  6. Share with your friends

It is almost like YouTube for young musicmakers!

Children will be invited to join the Finding the Groove world premiere concerts based on their comments and musical passion and will be given the opportunity to perform live onstage with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and the Indiana University Philharmonic Orchestra. Some children will also be invited to perform solo, or with their bands or musical friends or families. Video clips from other amazing submissions will also be shown during the program, all illustrating how every child is on a path towards finding their own “groove.”

The world premiere of the Finding the Groove concert series will be hosted by the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, and Music for All in September and October 2008.

The world premiere of Finding the Groove is an Indiana statewide initiative in partnership with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, and Music for All. This program is made possible by the generous support of the NAMM Foundation with a special thanks to MusicCrossroads. The Finding the Groove partners will work closely with many other Indiana organizations that understand the importance of music in the lives of Indiana’s youth including the Indiana Arts Commission, Indiana Music Educators Association, Indiana State School Music Association and the Indiana PTA. Finding the Groove marks the first statewide collaboration between one of America’s major orchestras, one of the world’s most highly respected music schools, and one of the nation’s most prominent music education organizations, all of which call Indiana home and are uniting to celebrate the important role music plays in the educational development of Indiana’s youth.

If Finding the Groove has anywhere near the impact the original HBO series had, this could be a wonderful new way to celebrate and advocate for the importance of music for everyone.

Visit now through June 15, 2008 for more details, and see first-hand that music is alive and well, and living in the hearts and minds of children everywhere!

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