This summer, youth ages 15 to 18 will have the opportunity to learn about the various careers in the music and entertainment business at the Jackson Street Music Program's Music and Entertainment Business Academy.
The free summer academy will be held Aug. 27-31 at Seattle University and is accepting high school students entering their sophomore, junior or senior year. Students are asked to submit a one-page essay along with their application form on how music affects our lives; how the music industry reflects and impacts culture; and what they would change if they were in the entertainment industry.
The objective of the yearlong program is to provide education relative to the artist and musical genre's cultural and historical roots and inspire cultural, social and personal development though illustrating individual artist's expression and exposure to musical and cultural diversity.
Dr. James Gore, a Detroit native who moved to Seattle on a basketball scholarship in 1982, started the program two years ago, after feeling like there had to be more engaging programs for youth in this city.
"I thought, OK, they give the kids snacks but what else do they do? What are they learning?" Gore says.
He researched all different types of programs but he wanted the kids to have a different type of experience; a more stimulating, educational program that would spark their imaginations yet make it fun for the students.
One of Gore's first jobs as a promoter was booking national comedians in the 1990s and he eventually expanded to promoting jazz artists. Gore has a company called Ariel Productions which brings different artists to Seattle such as Angie Stone, Rachelle Ferrell, Kem, Jamie Foxx, Gil Scott-Heron, David Sanborn and many others. Gore received his doctorate in education from Seattle University and is using his knowledge in education to address how people learn.
"Learning is based on experience, so you take that whole faming of the experience, everything we do in life in interrelated so how does that make a difference," he says. "The experience of coming to the shows, seeing how this type of production is put together makes a big difference in the learning process."
Having the youth talk to artists and write about their experience is crucial, Gore says.
"Communication is vitally important in all areas ... and that exercise is a form of public speaking in itself and listening," he says.
Giving youth an inside look into the arts allows them to think outside the box, Gore says.
"With entrepreneurship or any type of business, you have to be creative and that's what the art part gives us," he says.
Most of the youth involved in the program are already into the arts and want to be producers or writers.
"We're trying to teach them how it relates to real life," Gore says.
Students will live on campus in the dorm rooms for four days, learn in real college classrooms about careers in the music and entertainment business, attend field trips, learn to develop a music event business plan and hear speakers from the music and entertainment industry as well as professors. Students also will research the type of music is played in stores and how stores decide what they will play; what type of market it is; the type of audience; and what public relations firms specialize in just music and entertainment business.
Students tend to think of just being an artist when they think about careers in entertainment, but Gore points out that there are several job opportunities in the entertainment business – in promotions, the recording industry, producing, or entertainment law.
"We're looking at all these opportunities that a lot of people don't realize are there," Gore says. "We bring professionals in and have them talk about their backgrounds, how they got in the industry and what skill sets are necessary for a career in the business."
The JSMP has awarded four $1,000 scholarships to past participants who went on to attend Howard, the Art Institute of Seattle, Evergreen State College and an art school in New York.
The students will attend workshops once or twice a month, attend concerts and will assist with sound checks and meet with the artists when they come to town for the Jazz in the City concert series.
Jazz Alley also invites the students to the Meet the Masters Program. A fund-raiser will be held in November with George Duke.
To sign up or for more information about the JSMP, call 206-325-5454 or email [email protected]. Application forms are available at Langston Hughes Performing Arts Center; the Rotary Boys and Girls Club or online at www.jacksonstreetmusicprogram.org.