River Music Experience Brings the Power of Music to After-School Programs with “InTune”



Music is a powerful force in the lives of many people, and based in Davenport River musical experience brings this power to after-school programs as part of a new educational effort.

The “InTune” program – which was launched this week – is rooted in “the belief that music is a powerful way to get allowed with our identities, build trust, provide an emotional connection and build a positive path in life, ”according to RME.

This is a program focused on providing “intentional, student-led music education in spaces that never had access to it,” Brianna Hobbs, RME Program Director, said recently. The objective is to build a sustainable network of teaching artists whose role will be to develop a program that offers:

• Relevance – reflecting the student’s needs, interests and cultural background.

• Performance – investing in leaders who reflect the appearance and life experience of children to build confidence and help them envision their musical journey as they grow older.

• Mentoring – cohesive and healthy relationships that children can build on and learn from.

The activities specific to each site will vary depending on the interest and needs of the participating students. RME has a variety of instruments at their disposal, so whatever musical path a student wishes to explore, they can provide them with the tools to do so. The program is a weekly format (usually during after-school hours) of one hour.

The pilot program is based on two sites in the first year – Project renewal, 510 Warren Street, Davenport and TMBC at Lincoln Resource Center, 318 E. 7th St., Davenport, and local singer Dwayne Hodges conducted the first Wednesday at Project Renewal.

Project Renewal students choose an instrument to play in their first “InTune” after-school program.

A seasoned singer with 10 from the soul (a local blues, funk and soul group), it was recommended by Chrissy Boyer of RME, who also sings with the group.

“It’s a real musical mentorship because it strengthens the arts with our youth – going to community centers, participating in after-school programs, talking about music and the art,” Hodges said Friday. He plans to open the eyes and ears of students to different types of music and meet their needs.

“Every place we go will be unique,” ​​Hodges said. “Whichever agency we go into, we see what interests children.”

“We want to be consistent, to show the children that we are there for them,” he said, stressing the importance of serving as a mentor. “Sometimes people disappear from their lives. “

Dwayne Hodges (center in white) sings with Quad Cities, 10 of Soul.

In addition to Lincoln Center, a few other places have expressed interest in InTune: the Martin Luther King Center on Rock Island and the Boys and Girls Club in Moline.

“It’s having something for the kids to do after school, give them something to do, pique their interest in something that might interest them,” Hodges said.

“We talk to them, talk about their musical interests, about their favorite artists,” he said. “We want to know what children want, not tell them what to do.”

InTune aims to show kids (mostly grades 2 to 8) the potential of possible careers in music, as well as how to enjoy music, Hodges said.

“We do things to relieve stress, to be able to defuse anger, to do something that they like to do,” he said.

Hodges – a Davenport Central alumnus since 1989 – grew up in the same neighborhood as Project Renewal, “so he has very similar life experiences,” Hobbs said on Friday. “He understands what these children are going through. All of this is intentional on our side. And we were honest when we went to see him to see if he would support the program and lead it, because I think he’s so talented and such a strong mentor.

“He is very committed to supporting the youth in our community,” she said. “So we’re very fortunate to have him at the helm of the program and we hope to see where that goes.”

Pierce’s Promise financial support

InTune grew out of conversations with Ann Schwickerath and Tracy White, directors of Project Renewal and Lincoln Center respectively, Hobbs said.

“Beyond that, we also had broader conversations about, what do you struggle with in a community center? What are the things that challenge you as a director? And what is your main goal? And we kind of work together to find common values, ”she said. “Apart from conversations with these directors, we also have conversations with musicians of color in our area and ask them what they had to go through to pursue a career in music as a person of color. Because many of the children in these spaces come from communities of color and often their needs are not taken into account.

RME was also keen to deliver the program to better serve the interests of students, as much of music education in public schools is not about them, Hobbs said.

Brianna Hobbs, Program Director at River Music Experience.

“It’s hard for them to make that connection, so our focus on relevance is to make sure whatever we bring to the table is relevant to the kids and that they care,” he said. she declared.

Three years of the program will be funded with the support of Jeff and Kristi Cordle, strong supporters of RME who founded Pierce’s promise, in honor of their musician son who died by suicide. Their goals are “to equip and empower young people to learn the power and love of music and to raise awareness of the risk of sudden suicide in young adults.”

“We are so thankful that the Cordles understand what it takes to run a program,” said Hobbs. “We hope to generate funds to support the investment in more equipment and to have a fund set aside for whatever these kids have to build so that we have more resources for them.”

Additional community centers for InTune will begin after the New Year.

“It feels good to create a program where we hope to put the needs of the children first,” Hobbs said. “I think there’s going to be a lot of learning from that experience and the level of intentionality behind this program. Our goal as staff is to take this and use it as a framework for reflection in everything we do. And so it’s exciting to have laid the groundwork and started playing and then to see how that transforms the organization as well. “

Brianna Hobbs has taken on the new role of RME Program Director since June 2021 (photo by Jonathan Turner).

Hodges has been with 10 of Soul for nine years and worked as a Certified Addiction Counselor for 10 years, starting his own business in 2019. His InTune sessions include creating original lyrics and music, and training on how to do it. write songs. Another participating artist is a saxophonist, Anthony Collins, a student at Black Hawk College, who also plays piano and drums.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean these kids become professional musicians or dedicate their lives to music,” Hobbs said. “It’s just a tool. It’s a tool for connecting, for exploring. It is a tool for building relationships and learning together. And so it’s different in that respect where, with our camps, it’s an opportunity for children to learn music on a deeper level.

The motto of River Music Experience is “Music Changes Lives”.

Music with InTune is more of a tool for developing strong, influential mentors for children. “Regular mentoring is so important – it doesn’t matter what you talk about or what you do,” Hobbs said. “But if you show up regularly, it really has a positive impact. “

“It’s just an opportunity to connect and it’s different in that regard,” Hobbs said. “We don’t go to these spaces with a structured program. We learn together. We explore. Anything that comes out of those conversations will then guide next week. And so, it feels like it shouldn’t feel like the kids are sitting in a lesson at school.

“We teach them what they want to learn,” she said. “It really reflects the spaces they find themselves in, their life experiences. Each week will be different depending on where our mentors are based.

To learn more about RME, visit rivermusicexperience.org.


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