School recording studio

July 6, 2009 3:09:58 PM PDT
The singing stars of tomorrow are being groomed today at a middle school in Harlem. And they're not just singing, but also writing their own songs. It's all being done at a brand new recording studio Intermediate School 286, also known as the Renaissance Academy.

"It's fun. I wish a lot of kids could be a part of it because it's interesting," said student Kneandrea Bedeau.

The school has also formed a record company they call "R.L.A. records".

"Everything that a real record company does, the students are responsible for doing," said music teacher Darrell Branch.

Students perform, write the songs, produce and manage the business using special software.

"We balance budgets and we keep track of labels and incomes and expenses," said student Nangery Grullon.

The project was the idea of Principal Qadir Dixon whose father is a jazz musician.

"We knew, coming into the school, that this was gonna be something that eventually we were gonna fight for and be able to bring this to the school and bring this to the students," said Qadir Dixon.

The kids are guided by music teacher Darrell Branch who is also a veteran of the music industry and they have produced an album called "We Are Excellence". Educators say the students' work with the record company has helped their performance in school.

"If I don't stay focused in class, then I'm not going to be able to do the music," said student Jaquan McCall.

The plans are for any profits from the new album to go into a college fund for the students involved and to help grow the record company which is expected to be a permanent part of life here at the school.

Web produced by Maura Sweeney


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