J Dilla Music Tech Grant
We are very excited to partner with Save the Music Foundation on the J Dilla Music Tech Grant. The J Dilla Music Tech grant provides select schools and highly qualified music educators with equipment, instruments, resources, and professional development to facilitate contemporary music programs. The initiative was co-designed with Dr. Evan Tobias, who works closely with Save the Music to facilitate the initiative and its development.
What are we doing?
CITME plays an important role in the J Dilla Music Tech grant by providing grantees with professional development and support. We work with our partners to develop resources, curricula, and related pedagogy to help the grantees. Director of CITME, Dr. Evan Tobias is also facilitating action research for which each grantee earns 45 hours of professional development. Aspects of the grant program are also integrated with a number of courses at ASU such as Art of Teaching Contemporary Musicians, Beatmaking, Digital Hybrid Lab, Digital and Participatory Culture in Music, and our Sound and Music Innovation Lab (SMIL).
Why the J Dilla Music Tech Grant program?
Music educators across the country are interested in addressing issues of access and equity. The J Dilla Music Tech grant makes an impact in two key areas: 1) the grant provides select schools with resources to broaden access to music learning and teaching and 2) the grant helps highly qualified music educators update and expand their music programs to engage students who might not be interested in the large ensemble structures (band, orchestra, chorus) that are more typical in high school music programs. Over time, we see the potential of the J Dilla Music Tech Grant catalyzing and supporting the growth and expansion of secondary music programs across the country while developing related pedagogy and curricula.
What is the curriculum?
This program is unique in how the curriculum is highly flexible, dynamic, and customized to each school. This differs from a “curriculum in a box” or “one-size-fits-all” approach to curriculum that looks more like a document with the same set of sequenced tasks or lesson plans. We work closely with grantees and the students in their programs to curate, design, and develop curricula that emerge over time in relation to the needs and interests of students. We also curate and develop activities, units, and projects that address varied aspects of contemporary musicianship. Most importantly, we help each music educator design and develop their own curricula that make sense in their context.
What do we mean by contemporary musicianship?
There are many ways to answer this and we are purposefully leaving the notion of contemporary musicianship open and broad. The J Dilla Music Tech grant primarily supports students engaging with and through contemporary popular music forms and practices, with an emphasis on electronic and digitally-mediated music. The equipment included in the grant package leans more towards beatmaking, DJing, recording and producing, live creation and performance, and related ways of knowing and doing music. While we draw upon varied resources, we do not subscribe to any particular model or existing curriculum. However, each program is open to the many ways students can know and do music. The program is designed to evolve along with music and the ways people know and do music.
What is the approach?
Specific pedagogical approaches are at the discretion of each participating music educator. We, at CITME, take a comprehensive approach and embrace flexibility, hybridity, and hyphenated musicianship. As part of the professional development we facilitate, we address teaching with:
- Open exploration
- Project based learning (PBL)
- Inquiry based learning
- Problem based learning
- Blended learning
- Facilitating activities and units
Grantees draw upon typical teaching approaches ranging from scaffolding to direct instruction in ways that make the most sense at any given point in a class. The curricula we co-develop with teachers are dynamic and flexible so that music educators can move fluidly among pedagogical approaches.
Interested in getting involved?
Who is involved at ASU?
We work with numerous partners on CITME initiatives, including this program. Our lead team for the J Dilla Music Tech Grant currently includes:
- Director, Evan Tobias
- Project Coordinator, Steve Holley
- ArtsWork: Kax Herberger Center for Children and the Arts Liaison, Alisa Hanson
- Community Engagement Coordinator & Artist Relations Manager, Samuel Peña
Lead Team Members
- Arza Arzito
- AZ Beat Lab
- DJ Akshen
- DJ Musa Mind
- DeeJay Panic
- DJ Reflekshin
- Chad Henderson
- Richard Maxwell
- Nick Popovich
- Beat Mecca PHX
Current ASU Student Team Members
- Stormie Burcky
- Zak Gutzwiler
ASU Team Alumni
- Scott Allen
- Wesley Bell
- Russell Biczo
- Triston Burns
We are deeply appreciative of our colleague Marcus White, who collaborated on aspects of the project such as thinking through connections to dance, history, and culture, and the important role that DJs play in dance and music.
Numerous additional ASU students are involved in the program.
Thank you to the following people who have contributed to feedback on varied aspects of the J Dilla Music Tech Grant Initiative:
- Isaac Bickmore
- Elizabeth Campbell
- Carrie Joy Clark
- Aleta Cole
- Shane Colquhoun
- Roderick Hamilton
- Steve Moreland
- Heather J Peters
- Tyler Swick
How can I get involved?
Music educators interested in applying for the grant, find out more information at the Save the Music Foundation J Dilla Music Tech Grant site.
Music educators interested in collaborating on contemporary musicianship initiatives or earning professional development hours for related action research, contact Evan Tobias at CITME.
Company or industry reps interested in contributing to the project, contact Chiho Feindler at Save The Music Foundation.
Prospective ASU students interested in finding out more about contemporary musicianship and related opportunities at ASU, contact Evan Tobias at CITME.
Take a Look at Some Media Coverage
105.1 The Bounce: Community of Caring: How Your School Can Apply For the J Dilla Grant
The Playground (UK): Save The Music Foundation: Empowering Youth With the J Dilla Tech Grant