What We Do
Project Rhythm brings a new kind of music method to your classroom. It teaches students how to collaboratively produce their own music in groups and is a fun way for students to take charge of the learning process.
Click here to purchase the Curriculum Bundle if you’re a teacher or host organization who wants to bring Project Rhythm to your students.
Want to take a Project Rhythm test drive? Check out our free Sample Pack Bundle that includes three video lessons and a sample of our guidebook.
We offer a comprehensive compendium of lesson plans, handouts, videos, and other instructional materials so that anyone can successfully implement our program. They don’t need to be teachers, don’t need to know anything about music, and don’t need to know anything about music technology.
The Project Rhythm Curriculum Bundle comes with:
Pricing starts at $1,200 per classroom.
Our method is standards-based:
We combine Common Core, STEM, SEL, ELA, CASEL, ISTE, ITEEA, and other national music and technological literacy standards into an interactive, collaborative and dynamic digital music curriculum.
We help teachers, as well as students, address core SEL competencies, including collaborative learning skills, leadership skills, risk-taking, confidence, and empathy.
We use culturally competent and sustaining methodologies to show how music and technology can be used for the creation of a more just and equitable world.
Click here to read about our FLOAT method of teaching and training.
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.
Leadership Skills – We guide our students through the creative process by teaching important leadership skills such as time management and conflict resolution. With our “Each one teach one” philosophy students not only learn by doing, but are also empowered to teach and inspire each other in independent small groups.
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.
We teach life skills (collaboration, social emotional awareness, feedback, troubleshooting, technology, time management) through the collaborative process of making original music, using computers. Changing young lives, one beat at a time.
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 have imparted 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 saw 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 school or community, you or someone you know can purchase our curriculum bundle through Teachable; find out how by clicking here.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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
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.
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 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.
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 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 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.
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.
Learn With Us
You will learn:
You will learn:
Full Course + Webinar Series
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Get in Touch!
We’d love to hear from you whether you’re a student or an organization interested in partnering with us:
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
Our programs rely on strong partnerships between community based organizations and the generous support of our donors.
Donations via Post Mail
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
Brownsville Community Justice Center
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.
View more testimonials and Case Studies here
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!”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Confidence and teamwork can take you a long way, and that’s what you get from Project Rhythm.
This means a lot to me. I never really had someone take the time out to listen to what I had to say.
It’s cooperative and supportive and terrifical and I didn’t know it would be this much fun.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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