Receiving letters from little children after a efficiency of some type is often cute and may typically be motivating and inspirational for adults. Such is the case for Michael De La Torre, a.ok.a. Mic Dangerously, lead singer of the band Jelly of the Month Club.
“I have this beautiful box of these little nice notes, and I got one one day that said, ‘I’ve never seen somebody play the guitar in person before. I think I want to play guitar now.’ And I was just taken aback. Wow. You know 50, 75 years ago, there was a piano in every house and home entertainment wasn’t anywhere what it is now, right? Everybody knew a couple of songs at least, you know, and now some kids don’t even have instruments in their lives,” stated Mic.
“That really stuck out to me. Like, not only is music education on the chopping block but this kid has never really seen a guitar [in person] before, man? Like, that’s heavy. So we got to do something here.”
That received the wheels turning much more than they already had been. Jelly of the Month Club is a band whose sound incorporates a variety of genres — swing, ska, pop, hip-hop and extra — and has been round since 2013. When Mic was requested to affix because the guitarist and singer, the opposite band members have been Dr. Todd Forman and Bud Gaugh (each from Elegant) and Bert Susanka (The Ziggens).. The band’s lineup has modified throughout its 10-year journey however, as Mic says, “The music and ethos has remained the same.”
With their model of younger, enjoyable songs that fold in messages of friendship, working collectively and celebrating music, Jelly has carried out at faculties, theme parks, resorts and extra — even a residency at Knott’s Berry Farm. However letters just like the one above, and numerous interactions with different educators (many within the band are or have been academics), impressed the band to tackle a brand new accountability: youngsters’s music schooling.
“Our efforts began a few years back by traveling around to schools and donating our time to perform free shows to help generate excitement for our cause,” stated Mic. “We crafted our live show with songs about musical concepts [like] tempo, rhythm, notes, etc. A few of us were already music educators as well, but we felt that we simply could not reach enough students just traveling from school to school. We needed to figure something out to help launch our message and program.”
From that have to increase, the Jelly of the Month Club Music Academy (JMA) got here on-line. Actually. The group got here up with an interactive cartoon studying expertise that makes use of colourful characters and sing-alongs which might be “teacher-approved” to work together with, entertain and educate children about music and interpersonal relationships.
“For almost three years straight now, we have worked tirelessly to create an animated version of our show, and it has now turned into a learning experience for kids much grander than we could have ever hoped or imagined,” stated Mic. “This is the music education experience I wish I had as a kid. Music lessons taught by Disney-type characters with catchy songs and video game-esque features? It’s the perfect winning formula.”
And it’s a system. The group is not only singing to children for enjoyable — it has created an entire curriculum that can be utilized to enhance any elementary college’s current applications. Jelly members wrote, recorded, carried out and even animated their first course: JMA — Music 101. The cartoon course consists of play-alongs with digital devices just like the piano, xylophone, drum kits and even turntables. The devices are in a nook of the display and gamers use the keyboard to regulate them. It’s simply one other instrument to foster a need in children to create.
“When we saw the learning tools specifically for music education — for TK [transitional kindergarten], kindergarten, first grade, second grade — that’s where I feel like it’s a little phoned in. There’s not nearly as much thought and creativeness and power behind it for those kids as it is when they get a little older,” stated Mic.
For the document:
3:58 p.m. Dec. 21, 2022An earlier model of this story stated Knott’s 2023 Peanuts Celebration begins Jan. 22. It begins Jan. 28. It additionally misspelled cartoonist Charles Schulz’s final title as Shultz.
The Jelly of the Month Club Academy hopes to increase and create much more programs. There are plans to include drum/impact machines and, they hope, introduce this system to highschool districts. The band continues its healthful concert events and can as soon as once more be at Knott’s Berry Farm for the park’s monthlong Charles Schulz Peanuts Celebration starting Jan. 28.
A decade after the band began, Mic and his crew are nonetheless all about catering to the children.
“They’re smarter than we give them credit for,” stated Mic. “I’m sure a lot of parents are discovering this every day, and it’s important that we create an opportunity for them to have a quality first impression, a first handshake to music, as we like to say.”