WHO WE ARE
Founded in 2009, Real Life. My Music. exists to create a safer and healthier Detroit for our school children by poviding them access to quality afterschool programming that emphasizes structured training in fine arts; specifically music and dance. By offering students an artistic outlet in which to express themselves and by supporting their interest in pursuing fine arts programs if they choose to do so, it is our belief that they will not only learn an art form, but also develop positive characteristics and skills that are proven to be correlated with the improvement of academic and personal outcomes.
WHAT WE DO
Real Life. My Music. holds hour and a half long music, dance and art classes three times per week for a period of sixteen weeks. Our classes cover technique as well as an appreciation and history of the mediums. This sixteen-week period culminates with a showcase of the children’s newly learned craft.
We also offer a program called Field Trip Saturdays. One Saturday a month RLMM provides the students enrolled in our program the opportunity to experience art outside of their daily environment through attending informative and hands-on field trips meant to entice and stimulate their mind. In the metro Detroit area there are a lot of spectacular things for kids to experience such as the Detroit Institute of Art, Center for Creative Studies, Henry Ford Museum and a host of others.
WHY WE’RE HERE
The city of Detroit is considered the “ground zero of education” by the Department of Education with the worst NAEP scores and one of the worst graduation rates in the country at a mere 36% compared to a national average of 75.5%. In the city of Detroit there is a considerable need for both quality after-school programming as well as fine arts programs because as the city’s deficit rose, the Detroit Public School system administered budget cuts that eliminated the majority of extracurricular activities as well as almost all fine arts programs without consideration as to the indefinable benefits involved with including fine arts as part of a general education curriculum. Fine arts education is proven to benefit student achievement in countless ways.
The No Child Left Behind Act still considers fine arts education as part of a core educational curriculum. The status quo amongst Detroit Public Schools is “forget about fine arts”; we choose to leave no child left behind. An organization such as ours in a city like ours may seem outrageous because most DPS students are forced to share books and could probably use funding for many other things that could better their education while they are in school; however, we believe that a child’s emotional, social and cognitive well-being is just as important as their educational well-being in terms of developing their capabilities for success. Extracurricular activities are crucial to keeping as many children off the streets as possible. What we do is geared at nourishing inner-city children’s minds while keeping them safe. We provide hope and inspiration. This is real life, and this is their music; we want them to beat to their own drums, not become of product of their environment.
WHERE WE ARE TODAY
Since last year when we ran our first successful pilot program, Real Life. My Music. has grown exponentially in terms of our reach to the students who need our assistance and communication with the public through fundraising, social media efforts and word of mouth. We have interns, dedicated volunteers and are currently developing a new board of directors comprised of influential members of the Detroit community as well as the music world. We have also redeveloped our mission and vision in order to better focus the organization and what we are trying to accomplish.