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  • Sony Music Group Expands Beyond the Instrument Initiative
  • Jan 30, 2023

Cat Burns, KayCyy, DIXSON, Adam Lukas and James Everingham Named Newest Program Ambassadors and On-Site Event Mentors  

Now in its third year, Notes for Notes® and Fender Play Foundation® will join to Promote Music Creativity, Education and Career Development in the US and UK Music Industries  

Program Held at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles – Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse on February 1 and Harris Academy Greenwich school in London on February 9

New York, NY – January 30, 2022 – Sony Music Group (SMG) today announced the global expansion of its annual Beyond The Instrument initiative. Now in its third year, the program will include academic activations in the U.S. and U.K. throughout the month of February, providing international resources and exposure to music professionals and creatives and collaborating with community partners to help prepare future music leaders. Since its launch, Beyond The Instrument has donated thousands of dollars’ worth of instruments, equipment, software and curriculums as well as provided mentoring and is on target to support nearly 10,000 students over the course of five years. This year, SMG will work with non-profit partners Notes for Notes® and Fender Play Foundation® to bring music education to students through innovative and sustainable programs that put instruments and learning tools directly in the classroom.

On Wednesday, February 1 – ahead of the 65th Annual GRAMMY Awards – Beyond The Instrument will launch in Los Angeles, California at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Los Angeles – Watts-Willowbrook Clubhouse. Together with Sony Music artists, songwriters and composers, Boys & Girls Clubs youth members will join a discussion with KayCyy, DIXSON, Adam Lukas (Bleeding Fingers Music) and James Everingham (Bleeding Fingers Music), designed to inspire U.S. attendees’ personal development and musical aspirations. In addition, national non-profit organization Notes for Notes® with the support of SMG, will also open its largest recording studio in LA at the clubhouse providing club members with year-round free access to explore, create and record music. With access to guitars, drums, keys/synths, DJ and production gear, as well as headphones and microphones donated by Sony Electronics, the fully equipped digital recording studio for aspiring young artists will work alongside a talented Producer to develop their skills as artists, producers, engineers and film/TV composers.

The program will launch for the first time in London, England on Thursday, February 9, at Harris Academy Greenwich, a school in south east London, prior to the BRIT Awards. Joined by Sony Music artist and triple BRIT Award Nominee Cat Burns, the students will get a chance to perform and then participate in an active discussion about Burns’ career – and the evolution from being a BRIT School student and busking on the Southbank, to achieving the biggest debut hit and top single by a female artist in 2022 with Go. The school was selected in partnership with music education charity Restore the Music UK (RTM), who received a Sony Music UK Social Justice Fund grant in 2022. RTM noted that school has an excellent record in developing its music program and also won the RTM ‘Battle of the Bands’ competition last year. Fender Play Foundation® will provide educational workshops and core music and sound equipment to participating students and teachers thereafter. Established in 2019, the Fender Play Foundation® (FPF) is a 501(c)(3) organization on a mission to equip, educate and inspire the next generation of players through music by providing access to instruments in schools that need it most and has already gifted guitars, basses and ukuleles to over 15,000 students in the United States. This partnership is the Foundation’s first in the UK.

“It’s a privilege to continue Sony Music Group’s Beyond The Instrument program this year and to partner with first-class community partners, artists and songwriters to inspire and enhance music education programs,” said Towalame Austin, Executive Vice President, Philanthropy and Social Impact, Sony Music Group. “Developing opportunities to support under resourced communities – now to also include the UK – is part of the Company’s overall global giving strategy and I look forward to seeing what these students create in the future and on their paths to becoming incredible music professionals.”

“We are so thrilled to be expanding in Los Angeles in partnership with Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro LA,” said Phil Gilley, Notes for Notes® Co-founder/CEO. “This studio marks our 26th and first in partnership with a major music company, Sony Music Group, who have proven with their support how dedicated they are to developing the next generation of artists.”

“We grateful to our partners at Sony Music Group and Notes for Notes® for the opportunity to expand our music programming,” said Patrick Mahoney, CEO of Boys & Girls of Metro Los Angeles. “Access to music is a core focus for BGCMLA and this studio will amplify opportunities for our Club members to explore their creativity and prepare for the future.”

“Through the Fender Play Foundation, we’ve seen firsthand how providing access to instruments and music education can truly transform lives,” said Aarash Darroodi, FMIC EVP, General Counsel and President for Fender Play Foundation.  “We’re thrilled to join forces with Sony Music Group to further our mission and give even more young people the opportunity to learn and express themselves through music, fostering connection and community around the world.”

Since 2021, the Beyond The Instrument program grant aims to accelerate equity and access to cutting-edge music technology education for students in high-need schools, located in historically excluded communities. To date, the program has been active in California, Tennessee, and Florida. The 2022-2023 program is designed to collaborate with first-class community partners, artists, and songwriters to enhance music education programs on a global scale. 

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