LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Empowering Young Musicians: Musician Advancement Program

Harmony Project will empower young musicians from historically marginalized communities to establish sustainable careers in the creative arts industry. By connecting current 11th and 12th grade Harmony Project students as well as alumni to paid gig opportunities, mock auditions, competitions, career advancement lessons, music mixing and recording sessions, and internship opportunities in arts administration, we will cultivate a community where young musicians can gain entry into the creative arts industry through real-life experience.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

South LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Across the music industry, there is a significant lack of diversity and representation. According to the League of American Orchestras, African Americans make up only 1.8% of orchestras nationwide, while Latinx make up 2.5%; further, only 9% of women conductors occupy artistic and music director roles. Additionally, a study by the Martin Prosperity Institute revealed that 73.8% of all creative class jobs in the country are occupied by white workers. Harmony Project engages primarily young people of color, 8% of whom identify as African American, 4% as Asian, 3% as Caucasian, 68% as Latinx, and 17% as Multiracial/Other. While our students pursue diverse fields of study, many are drawn to music. By establishing this program, we create a formalized pathway for our students to gain essential experience and forge connections within the music industry. Our aim is to address the systemic barriers they face and foster greater diversity and representation in the field.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

Harmony Project's Musician Advancement Program will deliver a comprehensive and immersive curriculum tailored for young musicians from historically marginalized communities. Our goal is to equip students with the necessary tools and resources to embark on successful careers in music. By providing practical resources, real-life experience, and a strong support system, we will ensure that their aspirations in the music industry have a solid foundation. The program will include: Paid Gig Opportunities: Harmony Project frequently receives requests from entities seeking performers for various events. As part of the program, this cohort of students will be the primary group of performers chosen for such opportunities. In addition to compensation, they will gain valuable work experience and networking skills. Mock Auditions and Competitions: In a supportive environment, students will refine their audition skills, receive constructive feedback, and build resilience. Weekly Career Advancement Sessions: Participants will meet for weekly Saturday sessions focused on resume building, networking, and other essential skills to propel career development. Music Mixing and Recording: Practical training equips students with technical knowledge in music mixing and recording, preparing them for the technological aspects of the industry. Arts Administration Internships: Students will gain hands-on experience in arts administration and insights into the inner workings of the music industry.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Harmony Project envisions a Los Angeles where every young person has equitable access in being successful in whatever path they choose. Through this program, Los Angeles will begin to witness a transformative shift in its creative landscape. The program's vision for success is to empower our young people with sustainable careers, increased representation, and a supportive community. The intended impact includes fostering a diverse and inclusive arts industry, breaking down barriers to access and opportunity, and inspiring future generations of artists. With long-term scaling, the program will aim to expand its reach, forge partnerships with industry stakeholders, and become a model for similar arts education organizations to create pathways for individuals from historically marginalized communities to pursue careers in the creative arts industry.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Harmony Project is a data-driven organization that regularly evaluates all program initiatives. In our core K-12 music programs, we assess the musical growth and socioemotional development of our students through end-of-year surveys and teaching artist-administered evaluations that track quantitative and qualitative results All data is processed through PowerSchool and is utilized internally to measure impact and inform decision-making. This program will similarly have an evaluation plan created collaboratively by our data and evaluation team and program leader. Through the program, we will accomplish the following outcomes: - At least 85% of participants will report improved confidence in pursuing a career in the music industry; - At least 85% of participants will report that they have created viable connections within the music industry; - Each participant will participate in at least one paid gig; - Each participant will create a personalized career development plan.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 50

Indirect Impact: 3,000