Coronavirus News: Grammy Museum offers podcast, free online programs amid pandemic

NEWARK, New Jersey -- Like so many places in our area, Newark's Grammy Museum has been shut down for months due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but those in charge have filled the gap with a podcast called "Musically Speaking" and two free online programs called "Behind The Songs" and "Mini Masterclass."

More than 30,000 visitors have come to the museum since it opened in the fall of 2017, more than half of them students.

The space, located within the Prudential Center, has been empty since the outbreak began.

Director of Artist Relations and Programming Mark Conklin responded by developing virtual presentations featuring everyone from stars of tomorrow to living legends.

"It's about finding artists from all genres and speaks to a variety of different people," he said.

Artists like hip hop pioneer Darryl McDaniels, of Run-D.M.C., offer practical advice.

"Look at what everybody's doing and add an element of something different," he told the students in his Mini Masterclass. "We just said, 'Hey, let's rap over a rock song,' and that was the thing that changed everything."

Remember how unique "Walk This Way" sounded the first time you heard him rapping opposite Aerosmith's Steven Tyler?

More than 60 of these classes have been recorded so far, and one common theme runs throughout all of these conversations: The need for persistence and tenacity to succeed.

"What we really want to do is encourage students to learn the mindset of what it takes to be successful in the business and to give them a background of the different things they can do within the business," Conklin said. "Not just being an artist, but maybe being behind the scenes as well."

Conklin hopes viewers will be sufficiently inspired to make music themselves.

"We want them to actually create something, put it on YouTube, put it on the internet somewhere, tag us, and share it with us," he said.

The best will be featured on the museum's own social media accounts.

You can start by watching at GrammyMuseumExp.org/.
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