Groundbreaking program tackles gender inequity in the music business providing young women more access to careers in the recording industry
NEW YORK – The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) and City University of New York's Creative Arts Team (CAT), in partnership with NY is Music, have launched Sound Thinking NYC – a groundbreaking new education and career path program for young women in high school. The free program is designed to provide an on-ramp into careers in the music industry where women are under-represented. This multi-faceted and multi-year program introduces young people to careers in music production, audio technology, and sound recording while providing leadership opportunities that will foster lifelong success.
Sound Thinking NYC kicked off with its first Summer Intensive, a three-week full-day camp for students entering 11th and 12th grade. The curriculum focuses on audio technology, engineering, and sound recording and includes a combination of hands-on workshops in music production using Pro Tools, field trips to music studios and other industry sites, leadership skill-building sessions including college readiness, and discussions with professional women in music.
Graduates will participate in workshops throughout the year and will have the opportunity to apply for paid summer internships the following summer. The first cohort includes 42 students from 35 schools across all five boroughs. Eventually, 250 students will participate. Admission is open to both young men and women.
"We are thrilled to expand our commitment to gender equity in the entertainment fields with this innovative program for women thinking about careers in music," said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. "The music business is booming in New York City and we want to ensure young women have the access and training they need to enter it. I thank the City University of New York and NY is Music for their continued partnership, and look forward to seeing the work our first cohort produces through the Summer Intensive and beyond."
Leveling the playing field in all the entertainment industries is a primary mission of MOME, which has launched an ambitious set of initiatives in the last few years addressing gender inequity and diversity in the film, TV and theatre industries. Women in music are under-represented at all levels, but especially behind the scenes in music production. According to a January 2018 report by USC's Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, just 22.4% of artists and 12.3% of songwriters are women, and a meager 2% of producers are women, with 49 male producers for every one female.
"The staff and educators of the Creative Arts Team at the City University of New York are proud to support the next generation of music industry innovators as they explore turning their passion for music into a profession," said Dr. Jeanne Houck, executive director, the Creative Arts Team at CUNY. "We thank the Mayor's Office for Media and Entertainment, Commissioner Julie Menin and NY is Music co-founders Justin Kalifowitz and William Harvey for their leadership and support as our partners in delivering a program that benefits our city's youth and -- ultimately – a more equitable music industry in New York."
"Building bridges between the music industry and public education in New York City has been a longtime priority for us," said Downtown Music Publishing CEO and NY is Music co-founder Justin Kalifowitz. "New York City is a leader in advancing gender equity and we are glad to partner with Commissioner Menin and Dr. Houck in bringing Sound Thinking NYC to life to help level the playing field for the next generation of women in the music industry. As a graduate of the City University of New York--Baruch College, I'm especially proud to work with one of the city's most critical institutions in rolling out this new program."
The Sound Thinking Summer Intensive focuses on giving young people hands-on experience, including field trips to places such as Downtown Music Studios, Platinum Sound Recording Studios, MONOLisa Studios, and Flavorlab. Weekly assignments and group projects are designed to put technical skills developed on Pro Tools and other equipment into practice. The Summer Intensive concludes on July 27 when students will present their final projects that showcase their learning and critical growth within the production field.
All graduates of the Summer Intensive will be invited to participate in a series of professional events during the following school year; apply for paid summer internships during summer 2019; and apply to take free college credit courses at CUNY. In 2019 and 2020, the Summer Intensive cohort size will increase to 100 students.