About

We impart life skills through teaching young people to make original digital music

 

We’re an international, New York based, non-profit organization with a unique approach to music education. Since 2008 we’ve worked with over 20 host institutions and music teachers to share our gift with more than 1,500 children around the world.

We impart important life skills to kids through teaching team-based original song creation, using modern production tools. While teaching kids how to read and write music is important, we want to teach them how to make something out of nothing, as a team. We want to teach them to use computers and record their own original songs.  And it’s easier than you may think.

Why is this our approach? We’ve watched students create original songs with digital technology, and in each session we see this process transform and empower them as people. They learn essential life skills. Not only is it amazing, but it’s helped us create training materials that boil our method down to the essentials. If you want to bring our method to youth in your community, you or someone you know can enroll in our training program or request us to come direct to you. Find out how by clicking Get Involved

“Changing lives, one beat at a time” 

Our Story

Our Mission / Vision

Our Team

Our Board & Ambassadors

Theory of Change

 

Our Team

Jāmin Gilbert – Executive Director

Jāmin is the founder and Executive Director of Project Rhythm. Throughout his life he has used music and technology to uplift people. Jāmin’s interest in music, technology, community and entrepreneurship has been a theme throughout his career. He began DJing at age 12 and has since DJayed globally for discreet private events for clients including Daniel Craig, Vogue, Teri Hatcher, Tom Cruise, Christian Dior, and at top nightclubs and music festivals. Jāmin holds a BA from New York University in Music Technology with a focus on business, and was the first person accepted as a DJ into the music program. He founded his first business, Ishlab Recording Studio in 2000. Jāmin created a community for engineers, producers and artists to flourish. Ishlab has facilitated recording and production for gold and platinum recording artists such as A$AP Rocky, Skrillex, Roberta Flack, French Montana, Jet, Santigold, and MIA as well as many budding independent artists. In order to help independent artists, he created a music licensing and sonic branding division that licensed music for national network Television and Advertising agencies to companies including CBS, Oxygen, and MTV. The company developed proprietary technology to curate music by context. Jāmin has spoken on panels at Harvard, NYU and the Global Nexus. He was a student mentor at the NY General Assembly technology school and startup incubator. He is an advisor for studentdream.org, a nonprofit that helps students of color build businesses. He holds a pending patent for music curation technology. His original music can be found at jaminmusic.com and on streaming platforms.

Jon Shapiro – Co-Director

Jon started out as a Project Rhythm teacher in 2015. His background in music, education, and technology helped him develop and share Project Rhythm’s unique pedagogical approach. Over the years he helped to quantify the program’s impact and is now leading on creating and sharing online training materials for new teachers.

He is also the c0-director of Data Garden, an art technology company that produced the MIDI Sprout, an electronic device that allows people to listen to music generated from their houseplants. His experience in creating this project is uncannily applicable to the Project Rhythm mission statement, bringing technology to growing plants and humans to expand the consciousness of future generations.

Eboni Banks – Development Officer

Eboni comes from a family of social workers and has been working in the social service, non-profit industry throughout her career. Ms. Banks has worked in various capacities providing fundraising consulting to an array of organizations supporting the needs of vulnerable populations across the country. In 2009 she founded a volunteer grassroots nonprofit organization focused on healthy eating and in 2016 won the Osborn Elliott Award for Community Service for that work.

Chelsea Watts – Digital Training Production

Chelsea Watts has been involved with Project Rhythm since 2014. Initially she supported the team by helping with administrative tasks, now you’ll recognize her as the personality of many of our latest training videos.

Professionally, Chelsea is an actress and operatically-trained singer. You can see her on TV shows such as Deception (ABC), Power (Starz) and Betrayal (ABC) as well as on national commercials. She is also the mother of her energetic young son who she credits as her own personal Fountain of Youth.

Josh Robertson – Digital Training Production

With a varied creative and technical skillset across video production, music composition, digital strategy and innovative web design, Josh is at the cutting edge of interactive media, and is a creator and producer of music, video, and images. Currently digital strategist and VP of Content for collaborative music startup Indaba Music, Josh has created successful music initiatives for major brands like Converse, Red Bull and Microsoft. Josh has helped develop Project Rhythm’s video platform – including producing, shooting, and editing various videos for Project Rhythm.
Sage Atwood – Video and Graphic Design

Our Story

Project Rhythm was founded in 2008 by Jāmin Gilbert. As a recording studio owner, engineer, producer, DJ and a volunteer youth music instructor in the NYC tri-state area, Jāmin observed first-hand how group-based song creation using modern technology positively affected the young people with whom he worked.

In the face of the rapid erosion of music programs being cut from public schools, Jāmin saw an urgent need to preserve and further evolve the real-world experience that music can offer. He was convinced that Project Rhythm’s unique approach – the use of music as a tool to foster broader skill set development rather than learning direct music instrumentation – was a key to effectively reach underserved students in need.

Today, with a passionate team of board members, educators and partners, Project Rhythm has grown into a multi-pronged, interdisciplinary youth outreach organization that cultivates both personal and professional skills through the progression of several programs including a mobile studio, a clubhouse studio, work-study, and mentorship.

By participating in these programs, our students encounter the breadth of possibilities that music had to offer while learning collaboration, conflict resolution, computer skills, engineering skills, planning, troubleshooting, performance, public speaking, and product creation.

Mission/Vision

Mission

Project Rhythm is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to changing young lives one beat at a time using music as a tool to educate, empower and enrich underserved youth who are poor in means, but rich in potential.

Vision

Project Rhythm seeks to harness the transformative power of the creative (innovative) process to educate, empower and enrich youth. Project Rhythm’s suite of programming leverages music education to not only improve the participants’ social and emotional learning (e.g. collaboration, confidence, tolerance), but also to build their cognitive abilities (e.g. troubleshooting, executive functioning), and enable them to develop critical career readiness skills (e.g. public speaking, digital media literacy, time management). Additionally, Project Rhythm aims to incubate our programs within community-based host organizations and then leverage those subsequent tools and data to help music education pedagogy at large. We believe by mobilizing individuals and organizations dedicated to increasing the efficacy and implementation youth music programs, we can instill a sense of confidence and responsibility in young people, empowering them to make positive life choices and to develop valuable professional skills.

Theory Of Change

Project Rhythm is committed to using music as a way to educate and empower young people.

We believe that by implementing effective youth programs, we can help young people:

  • Improve their collaborative leadership skills
    • Collaboration
    • Conflict Resolution
    • Leadership
    • Confidence
  • Improve cognitive development (executive functions)
    • Planning
    • Task Flexibility
    • Problem Solving
    • Execution
  • Increase career readiness skills
    • Technology / Computer Skills
    • Engineering / Troubleshooting
    • Production / Product Creation
    • Public Speaking

Ultimately, Project Rhythm believes these outcomes will empower youth to make positive life choices and to become beneficial contributors to society.

Board & Ambassadors

Board of Directors

Kevin Shiiba

Kevin is currently a full-stack software engineer with a strong product focus, helping companies launch new businesses and products or grow existing ones. His experience in full-stack application development spans isomorphic JavaScript via Node.JS and React.JS (with a functional and functional reactive programming focus) and mobile development via React Native.

A multidisciplinary jack-of-all-trades with experience both in the trenches of early stage startups and through hyper-growth phases, Kevin brings a customer-centric approach, business strategy focus, and UX intuition to my software engineering work. He spent 4 years as a Product Manager at General Assembly (employee #4) for products ranging from online education and hiring platforms to community products. Kevin also consults for companies and first-time founders who are looking to define and build their MVP.

 

Annie Ly

Annie has always been passionate about education, the transformational opportunities it can provide, and its potential as a socioeconomic equalizer. Currently, Annie is leading the design, development, and delivery of learning solutions for the technology organization at Jet.com, the high-growth e-commerce startup acquired by Walmart for $3.3B. Prior to Jet, Annie spent two years with the global education startup, General Assembly – first in Seattle, where she helped launch the local campus and its programs, and later on in NYC, as an instructional designer for enterprise clients. During her time at General Assembly, she saw first-hand the impact of her work on the careers of both students and instructors, and she loved training and coaching subject matter experts to teach what they knew and practiced in their respective industries – in-demand, 21st century skills such as web development, UX design, product management, digital marketing, data science, data analysis, and visual design. Prior to GA, Annie was based in Asia for six years (five years in China and one year in Singapore) and worked with various international non-profits such as Free the Children (now known as WE Charity), the JUMP! Foundation, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Her background in experiential learning began when she was studying international development and education reform while earning her degree at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, and what she enjoys most about her work now is always having the opportunity to learn new things, as well as coaching and mentoring others who consider themselves to be lifelong learners. Annie loves traveling, great storytelling, documentary photography, and puns – so if you can tell her a great story about your travels and include a few photos and puns while you’re at it, you’ve got a fan in her.

 

Boris Khmelnitskiy

Boris Khmelnitskiy is an organizational effectiveness consultant, partnering with education, social justice and community non-profit organizations on project management, organizational strategy, technology innovation, and grassroots organizing. His recent collaborations include Immigration Equality, San Francisco Spikes, Urban Opera, Voter Owned Elections, and GetEqual. Boris’s expertise areas range from leadership (corporate and non-profit management) and organizational effectiveness (budgeting, evaluation, revenue generation) to talent management (training facilitation, integration of technology into traditional instructional design and delivery models) and technology (programming languages, databases, web technologies). Currently, he works with Community Collaborative Consulting to help manage the Soda Foundation ASK Initiative, with a focus on knowledge capture and the website.

Previously, Boris worked as the Vice President/Chief Technology Officer for The New Teacher Project (www.tntp.org), a national non-profit that applies innovative human capital strategies to eliminate educational inequity. In this role, he led the division during the 20% org-wide business expansion and executed strategy to double internal IT capacity to meet increased demand in technology services. Additionally, he introduced a 5-year IT roadmap – a strategic plan for growth and cross-product integration. Mr. Khmelnitskiy also spent many years with Morgan Stanley as a Learning & Development Manager, a Program Manager for IT Analyst Training, and an Equity Trading Systems Developer.

Boris started his B.S. in Mathematics at Moscow University in Russia, and received B.A. in Computer Science and Mathematics and an M.S. in Computer Science from New York University.


Matt Emmi

Matt is the co-founder of OneButton, a design company which creates solutions that simplify and enhance the technology experience of any environment. These automation, lighting, theater and music systems have been featured in publications such as Architectural Digest, New York Times and Dwell Magazines. Matt manages the music experience at all Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants worldwide. In addition, He is an innovation consultant to the executives of Chipotle. Matt brings humans and technology together to solve real-world challenges. Matt likes fixed lens cameras, single speed bikes, rotary powered cars and running through mud.

 

Alana Denison

Alana is a nonprofit development professional with 14 years of experience helping organizations build the strong donor relationships they need to thrive. She has worked with some of the country’s most esteemed organizations including: San Francisco Performances — San Francisco’s largest independent presenter of jazz, chamber music, and modern dance; AVANCE Houston — a $25MM+ organization that provides family literacy services in Houston, Texas; and most recently, JCC Manhattan as a development writer and communications specialist. Alana brings a deep love for the arts and education to her work with Project Rhythm. She also brings first-hand experience overseeing annual fundraising efforts for San Francisco Performances’ award-winning arts education programs.

 

Nadia Block
Nadia is a graduate of NYU with a Master in Philanthropy, with an emphasis in grantmaking. She runs a small family foundation and sits on the board of two organizations. She is committed to supporting these organizations with strategy and organization in order to help them have more impact and sustainability. Outside of her philanthropic pursuits, Nadia is also a talented painter and a photographer.

 

Paul Hudson

Paul is a Managing Director at Park Hill Group LLC, which provides global alternative asset advisory and fundraising services across four specialized verticals. Park Hill’s platform includes expertise in hedge funds, private equity, real estate, as well as secondary advisory services. Paul is a member of Park Hill’s hedge fund project management team based in New York. Prior to joining Park Hill in 2006, Paul was an analyst in Credit Suisse’s Private Fund Group focused on raising capital for hedge funds. Previously, Paul was an analyst at Argonne Capital Group, a private equity firm in Atlanta, GA. Outside of work, Paul is an avid musician and active supporter of the arts. Paul has recorded two original albums and is also the Founder and President of the Murren Foundation, a small nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting charitable causes related to music and the arts.

Ambassadors

 

Annetta Seecharran
Annetta joined UNH as Director of Policy and Advocacy in January 2012. She comes to UNH with a 20-year track record as a leader within the social justice movement. Prior to UNH she served as an independent consultant, providing strategy, policy and organizational development services to not-profit organizations. In September 2009 she completed an eight-year tenure as the Executive Director of South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!), the pioneering organization dedicated to ensuring the transition and success of low-income South Asian youth and families in the United States. Under Annetta’s leadership SAYA! grew from a start-up to a nationally recognized organization that provides comprehensive youth development programs to 600 youth whilst having an influential voice on public policy issues related to youth and immigrants. At the time of Annetta’s departure, SAYA! was considered to be the largest South Asian American organization.
Prior to joining SAYA!, Annetta spent five years at the International Youth Foundation, where she ran YouthNet International, a best-practices network of youth development organizations in over 30 countries, and created YouthActionNet, now a leading global initiative promoting youth social entrepreneurship. Earlier, Annetta worked for the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the Gender and Development Program of the United Nations Development Program.
Annetta holds an M.A. in international political economy and development from Fordham University, a B.A. in political science from Manhattanville College, and executive management certificates from Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School. She serves on the boards of the New York State Immigrant Action Fund, New York Immigration Coalition and the National Coalition for Asian Pacific American Community Development.

 

Nancy Shankman
Nancy served as the liaison between the Department of Education and the cultural community of New York City, expanding the walls of the classroom by encouraging collaboration among teaching artists, performing ensembles and schools. Ms. Shankman conducted the choir at Hostos Community College, served as Director of Creative and Performing Arts for Bronx High Schools, chaired the Department of Music and the Arts at Columbus High School and held the post of Arts Coordinator in Community School District 7. She designed and developed music programs and curriculum, most recently creating the Blueprint for Teaching and Learning in the Arts in collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, the Metropolitan Opera Guild, Jazz at Lincoln Center and other arts and cultural organizations. In March of 2002, Ms. Shankman was honored by the Music Educators Association of New York City and in April of the same year, was recognized by the Bronx Museum of the Arts for her outstanding contributions to Bronx schools. In May of 2003, her work was cited by the New York Assocation for Supervision and Curriculum Development, and in December of 2005, she was privileged to receive the Outstanding Educator of the Year Award from the New York State School Music Association.

 

Carrie Gillispie
Carrie is an advocate for the powerful, positive impact of music education on the developing brain, and is excited to support Project Rhythm in its measurement and evaluation. Carrie is a current doctoral student at the George Washington (GW) University in Applied Neuroscience in Special Education and Disability Studies. She is a graduate assistant for the Secondary Special Education and Transition Services program at GW. She has worked with students, families, educators, and policymakers in a variety of roles, including as a former school psychologist, as a special education teacher aide, as a government relations intern at Autism Speaks, as a research fellow at the National Institute of Mental Health, and as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Education for the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Carrie grew up playing piano and violin and singing, and is currently a high school musical theater coach and student of musical improv. She has consulted to schools on applying neuroscience findings to improve music education for students with disabilities. She has a M.Ed. in school psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from Bates College.

 

Radhika Batra
Originally from Southern California, Radhika came to New York City in 2008 to pursue a Master of Public Administration degree. Upon graduation, she began working on BBVA’s project finance team which funds large-scale infrastructure and energy projects. Her day-to-day involves the analysis of potential infrastructure opportunities to determine whether they meet the bank’s financing criteria and support in the execution of such projects. Though in the private sector, Radhika is dedicated to incorporating social change issues into her life. As a two-year Indicorps fellow in rural Rajasthan, Radhika worked primarily on livelihoods and employment projects such as a start-up women-based small business and a vocational institute. Her exposure abroad instilled in her the desire to give back beyond her time there. As such and given that she also worked to engage youth in sports in India, Project Rhythm’s mission resonated with her and she’s excited to be involved.
In her free time, Radhika can be found trying new restaurants, justifying the food with exercise, reading, or rooting for the Lakers.

 

Bob Power

Grammy and Multi-platinum Producer/Mixer Bob Power possesses a wide and diverse range of musical talents: producer, engineer, composer, arranger, performer, and educator. In the recording world, Power has produced, recorded, or mixed hundreds of pop and jazz recordings for such artists and groups as Erykah Badu, D’Angelo, India Arie, Chaka Khan, MeShell N’degeocello, Ozomatli, De La Soul, Common, A Tribe Called Quest, Miles Davis, the Roots, Tony Toni TonÈ, Mos Def, Macy Gray, Curtis Mayfield, David Byrne (Talking Heads), Spike Lee, The Brand New Heavies, Big Daddy Kane, Maceo Parker, Pat Metheny, KRS 1, Phylis Hyman, The Jungle Brothers, Quincy Jones (Remix), Greg Osby, and Run DMC. A 1997 Grammy Award nominee himself for mixing, Bob Power has had over 40 charting records, and has received more than 20 gold or platinum records. As a feature T.V. composer, Power is best known for his theme music for the Emmy Award winning Over Easy on P.B.S.; he also composed the original theme and score for the Disney family series The Scheme Of Things. Bob Power is a popular and dynamic speaker and lecturer; clients include Apple Computer, Apogee Electronics. The National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Grammys), Aguilar Electronics, Red Bull, CMJ, Guitar Center Pro, Boot Camp Convention -Vancouver, Pacific Coast Jazz Festival and has taught or lectured for University of San Francisco/Lone Mountain College, NYU, William Patterson University, Mercy College, New York Institute of Technology, Parkway School District (St. Louis), and the Boys’ Club of New York. He is an adjunct professor at New York University.

 

Akir Plan

Akir has been dedicated to outreach and activism predominantly focused on underserved youth.  In 2008 he was named the head of artist relations at the Hip Hop Caucus during the Respect My Vote campaign, which featured such celebrities as TI, Chris Brown, Maino,DJ Green Lantern, Dawn Richard, Keyshia Cole, Sean Kingston, The Simmons Sisters and Pharoahe Monch. Akir also found himself working with at-risk youth teaching writing, production, and recording with the non-profit organization Art Start, working in a studio donated by Bruce Willis, Russell Simmons and Queen Latifah. As an MC artist he was featured in the The Source’s: Unsigned Hype and Off the Radar and XXL’s: Show & Prove and Chairman’s Choice among them. AKIR has rocked over 1000 shows, completing 7 international and 10 domestic tours, including Paid Dues, Rock the Bells Vans Warped Tour and, tours with Fort Minor and Redman. He’s also performed with other such landmark artists as Lauryn Hill, Snoop Dogg, Rage Against the Machine, Nas, Wiz Khalifa, Kool G Rap, Tribe Called Quest, Rakim, KRS-One, Wu-Tang, The Game, Talib Kweli, and Yelawolf. As the founding member of “The Sound” production collective he has produced for: Immortal Technique, Chino XL, Crooked Eye, and Timbo King.

 

Samara Gaev

Samara is a New York based activist, educator, dancer, poet. She has been working as a teaching artist in the New York City schools, shelters, transitional programs and community centers for over ten years. Her active involvement in progressive social change has taken her beyond the classroom and the stage, and towards actualizing the change she wishes to see. As a consultant for a number of Arts and Education organizations, she has initiated young women’s groups, support networks for pregnant and parenting teens, interactive educational theatre residencies, and performance poetry and hip-hop intensives for formerly incarcerated youth. She serves as an educational specialist, teaching artist, and artist in residence at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and was the lead teaching artist for BAM’s Theatre and Justice program.
Samara graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study; her interdisciplinary degree was awarded in performance as a tool for cross-cultural education and social change. She received her Master’s Degree in Performance Studies from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with a thesis that explored trauma, advocacy, and witnessing.

 

Maya Azucena

Maya Azucena is a global singer-activist known for making music that uplifts the soul. Born & raised in Brooklyn, she travels the world inspiring through her songs. Featured as a coach on MTV’s Made, she also has a Grammy-certificate for her collaboration with Stephen Marley; performed at the 2013 Essence Fest with artists like Beyonce, Jill Scott and Maxwell; has been mentioned in O Magazine, Washington Post, Billboard, and countless other publications; heard on HBO’s The Wire, seen on NBC’s 30 Rock; and sang at prestigious events with incredible world-movers such as TEDxWomen; Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s Every Woman, Every Child event at the UN; One Billion Rising international campaign to end violence against women; and Omega Institute’s Where We Go From Here conference alongside President Bill Clinton. Maya is also an artist ambassador for BeadForLife, an NGO based in Uganda that enables women to overcome extreme poverty by becoming business-women with sustainable skills, through jewelry making.

What We Do

Training & Professional Development for Community Based Youth Organizations

We train your employees to lead Project Rhythm workshops with young people between the ages of 13-23. No previous music experience is required. We will teach your instructors and facilitators how to lead song creation sessions through our training videos, books and live webinars.

The process:

A community based organization (i.e. school, camp, youth center, detention facility, etc) wants to teach youth important life skills through music. They get in touch with us to request a training package for their instructors to begin leading workshops or to sign up for a live webinar for more in-depth training.

After reviewing they start running the program at their facility.

We provide:

  • Instructional materials: Including video, books, and live webinars
  • Equipment: Through partnerships with distributors we offer the necessary and suggested musical equipment at a discounted rate
  • Continued support: Access to our online learning software to download additional teaching materials and ask questions

Partnership Structure:

A typical cycle is 3 months long, consisting of two hour long sessions per week. You should allot 1 to 3 days for teaching training, depending on whether teachers are teaching themselves through our online training materials or attending an in-person session or webinar. Before the beginning of each session we will work with you to determine whether or not you will need any additional equipment beyond whatever computers or tablets you currently own. Any additional equipment will be factored into the cost of the program which typically runs between $3,000 – $6,000 depending on the length of engagement and amount of equipment that needs to be ordered.

 

Method

Click here to read about our FLOAT method of teaching and training

Click here to Get Involved if you’re a teacher or host organization and want to work together

Method

Our method is drawn from and is compliant with the following educational standards:

STE(A)M, SEL, ELA-Literacy, ISTE, NCCAS, NGSS

Our goal is to teach young people life skills through the process of creating original art. We draw on our own experiences in the studio as musicians and in the classroom as teachers while drawing from contemporary Social Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculums. Through the years we’ve honed our craft and named it the FLOAT method:

Frame of Mind – The approach used by teachers trained in our method: Think like a producer to capture the magic. Teachers show young people how to create the music of their generation. Music that is made in the 21st century studio rather than the 19th century study.

Life Skills – We guide our students through the creative process by teaching important life skills such as time management, conflict resolution, digital literacy, and leadership. Most importantly, we use breakdowns as opportunities for learning

Order of Operations – Here we walk our teachers through the process, helping them to see all that needs to be accomplished over the course of the year and how to prioritize what needs to be done by when. While we leave the curriculum open for each teacher to choose what best suits their style as a teacher and artist, we also provide suggestions for the structure of the year. We invite them to envision the arc of the year from getting started on the first day to the final performance.

Artistry (Music!) – While we don’t teach our students to read music we do pass on the basic building blocks of the artform. We combine traditional components such as melody, harmony, rhythm, and lyric writing with contemporary production elements such as arrangement, mixing, texture, and timbre.

Technology – Students learn how to use contemporary hardware and software to create, engineer arrange and produce their own music. These hardware and software principles can be applied to other computer programs and physical engineering.

Impact

Case Studies and Testimonials:

This is a great program, it gives the kids the opportunity to be creative and helps their collaboration skills. Making something out of nothing is important for them. The kids get excited about the technology, making the music and performing it. Some kids who want to do the engineering, some who want to sing, everyone has an important role. There are a lot of kids who want to be in the program.

~ Miss S., School Liaison for Board of Education, Horizons Juvenile Detention Center, Bronx NY

View more testimonials and Case Studies here

 

In 2014 the Brownsville Community Justice Center, which provides alternative sentencing options for young offenders age 16-24, invited Project Rhythm to run programs and train staff and students to run classes independently.

After a year of direct programming and teacher trainings, they were off and running on their own! Their program coordinator Sharese told us two years later that it has become one of their most successful programs. The students loved it and learned so much that they created their own studio to continue the program on their own. They’re still at it today!

This case study is an excellent example of how organizations and communities can leverage the Project Rhythm method to uplift youth and impart valuable life skills through making music together.

Learn more about the amazing work Brownsville Community Justice Center is doing to keep youth out of incarceration and guide them toward being positive contributors in their communities.

 

Testimonials

Our Students

Kaitlin’s Story

Everywhere 16-year old Kaitlin turned, including at home, she was told “you’re going to fail!” and “you’ll never amount to anything in life!”
School wasn’t any better. She felt lost and invisible in an overcrowded Brooklyn public high school. Not exactly the most nurturing environment for a teenager. Struggling to stay afloat, Kaitlin faced ridicule when she dropped out of school. Her only refuge? Music. Enter: Project Rhythm. What happened? She found a new self. In the Project Rhythm Program, Kaitlin made songs from start to finish – writing, playing, recording, engineering, producing, rehearsing and performing. She experienced the transformative power of collaboration, communication, problem-solving, and focus.

Kaitlin continued on as a Project Rhythm Intern where she worked on special social media projects, and then attended a Project Rhythm Mentor Roundtable, where she received advice and guidance from seasoned professionals in the music industry. When we asked her what she learned and how she felt, she said, “I learned how to be more professional…far more patient…I started feeling more alive in school. I had so much to look forward to…I was doing something special, I mattered. Thank you Project Rhythm for the countless opportunities you’ve provided, you’ve kept me so engaged with school and you’ve helped me conquer the obstacles life has thrown at me.”

Danielle’s Story

In 2009, Danielle J felt lost and could not face the idea of sitting in a classroom after tragically losing her best friend to an unfair death at a young age. Government budget cuts made music-the medium which is by far the most influential in her life-virtually non-existent. For Danielle, expressing herself and overcoming her conflicts seemed impossible to do on her own, without a vehicle that could drive her feelings towards healing and productivity. But then, Project Rhythm came to her school for the first time. She took part in a Project Rhythm program, where she collaboratively wrote, recorded, produced and performed songs. She was empowered to express herself and collaborate in the creative process. She graduated from high school and gained the confidence and skills she needed to secure a job. Danielle continues her involvement in Project Rhythm programs and she continues to writes songs and grow through music. She said to us, “In here you can let yourself be free, you can say what you gotta say, you can let it all out, you can cry, you can laugh. Thank you for this opportunity. I could of been roaming the halls doing nothing but now I got a job and I’m happy for myself”

 

Testimonials From Students

At first, I didn’t want to write because I wasn’t good at it, but I learned and I helped write the chorus to a song.  I also didn’t know about technical stuff, but now I do.  And when people had different ideas we would try it different ways and there wasn’t any arguing. There’s nothing you should change about it, it’s great.
~Stephanie

The leadership we had of the production and engineering was wavy (cool). I learned new things about how to hook things up and how to record.
~ Rayshawn

It is a good way for everybody to learn about new things and be able to make some thing bigger than themselves, something more than music.
It’s a good way for us to learn about our potential.
~ Nyre

Project Rhythm helps me get out of my shell… it’s like wow, I can do this? I can play the piano, I can write songs. It gives me confidence. It’s a really great experience.
~ Tamika

I learned if someone else isn’t good at something, to never criticize, instead give them positive feedback. I learned a lot about how to make songs, and how how to setup equipment and how to express myself through music.
~ Rayshaun (aka Happy Feet)

Well first I gotta say without listening, communication, creativity or collaboration you won’t get far in this game. And that’s what I got from Project Rhythm. Since working with Project Rhythm, I went out and met new people and was inspired to work hard and I started my own company. I love what I do. Project Rhythm helped me find my goals in life.
~ Shingi

In here you can let yourself be free, you can say what you gotta say, you can let it all out, you can cry, you can laugh. Thank you for this opportunity. I could have been roaming the halls doing nothing, which I was doing, but I got a job and I’m happy for myself.
~ Danielle

Project Rhythm has opened my eyes in a positive way using a different and smart method, music. Some people help kids chase their dreams, but thanks to Jamin and Project Rhythm, kids live those dreams. They’ve impacted and continue to impact my life greatly and I’m forever grateful. Project Rhythm is inspiration.
~ Rodney

Confidence and teamwork can take you a long way, and that’s what you get from Project Rhythm.
~ Tyshawn

This means a lot to me. I never really had someone take the time out to listen to what I had to say.
~ Lisa

It’s cooperative and supportive and terrifical and I didn’t know it would be this much fun.
~ Jantee

 

Testimonials From Our Program Hosts

Working with Project Rhythm for the past two years has been an amazing experience for my students. In addition to empowering them and increasing their self-confidence, they had an opportunity to problem solve and work with students other than their friends. They have learned so much about writing and performing; all the while having a positive and fun learning experience.
~ Diane Rigo, English Teacher, Brooklyn School for Career Development

Project Rhythm has had an enormous impact on the Camp AmeriKids program and has become a central part of our camp culture. The hands-on workshops led by the staff of Project Rhythm allows children with different skills and personalities to participate fully, whether on stage as performers in our Talent Show, or behind the scenes as song writers, composers and editors.  While learning about music, our campers develop collaboration skills, active listening, and learn how to support and respect each other through the creative process.  Each child feels connected to the final product, and can proudly share it with his or her peers.  For years, we’ve watched Project Rhythm inspire our kids to speak up, give their opinions and insight, and discover a deep sense of pride in their contributions.

It is so important, given the challenges that many of our kids are facing, to create spaces where they feel empowered and valued.  It is wonderful to see children build self esteem through a process whereby they discover their own talents, and to know that they carry this confidence into other areas of their lives.  We are incredibly grateful for the work that Project Rhythm has done with our campers and hope it can continue for years to come.
~ Gaby Moss, Executive Director, Camp AmeriKids

This is an amazing organization! I’m an art therapist and work with inner city teens, so I know firsthand the far reaching benefits of arts education on so many areas of development. I’ve witnessed Project Rhythm’s fantastic work at Camp AmeriKids. Music is something kids are naturally drawn to, and they generate their own enthusiasm. Their gains in skills and self-esteem are awesome to see.
~ Helen Ellis, Volunteer and Supporter

Project Rhythm allows campers to see what they have in common and to express themselves through music, the medium which is by far the most influential in their lives. It is nothing short of truly life changing for them. That’s what Project Rhythm brings to the table.
~ Steve Kidd, Program Director, Camp AmeriKids

To see how these guys were really quiet and to see how they then helped to create music and make beats and started talking a lot and became leaders…it’s been really amazing to see the growth.
~ Timothy Ryan – Staff, Camp AmeriKids

Being a part of Project Rhythm has been such an inspiring opportunity to build community through the arts with young people from a diverse range of backgrounds. As a teacher, I have worked intensively alongside Project Rhythm instructors to cultivate the students’ voices in a safe space and enable them to tell their powerful stories and build self confidence. Carrying their voices from the page to the studio where they become agents in the production of their own work, I have born witness to the emergence of young empowered writers, directors, musicians, and engineers working together to solve problems and support one another as they meet their powerful reflections, sometimes for the first time. Project Rhythm is a refuge for young people in inner cities who work tirelessly to uphold tough exteriors and battle mainstream discriminatory assumptions and stereotypes; transforming bravery in to beats, hopelessness into harmony, rage into riffs, and sorrow into song, it has been miraculous to be a part of such a joyful community.

Powerful stories and build self confidence. Carrying their voices from the page to the studio where they become agents in the production of their own work, I have born witness to the emergence of young empowered writers, directors, musicians, and engineers working together to solve problems and support one another as they meet their powerful reflections, sometimes for the first time. Project Rhythm is a refuge for young people in inner cities who work tirelessly to uphold tough exteriors and battle mainstream discriminatory assumptions and stereotypes; transforming bravery in to beats, hopelessness into harmony, rage into riffs, and sorrow into song, it has been miraculous to be a part of such a joyful community.
~ Samara Gaev – BAM/ Brooklyn Reads Host Instructor and Project Rhythm Ambassador

Partners

  

 

Work With Us

Make Music With Us!

Please be in touch if you are a school, teacher, or run a youth organization that wants to bring our program to your community of young people. We’ll work together to either lead workshops or provide you with the training materials and continued online support.

Get in Touch!

We’d love to hear from you whether you’re a young student or an organization interested in partnering with us:

info@projectrhythm.org

Partner & Donate

Donate online to Project Rhythm with PayPal

 

 

 

Thank you for changing young lives, one beat at a time.

Become a Partner

We work with: schools, community centers, summer camps, justice centers, detention centers, churches, etc. Bring Project Rhythm to your organization

partners@projectrhythm.org

Our programs rely on strong partnerships between community based organizations and the generous support of our donors.

 Donations via Post Mail

Project Rhythm
78-02 37th Avenue
P.O. Box 1277
Jackson Heights, NY 11372

Project Rhythm is a 501c3 nonprofit organization, so your donation is fully tax deductible to the extent allowable under law.

A Few of Our Generous Donors

Listen