Tech and Space Camp: ZUMIX Summer Radio Workshop

A lot of different motivations bring people through the old firehouse at ZUMIX. Parents bring their kids for a robust after school education; young-at-heart community members drop in to broadcast from the radio station; youth go in to learn, yes, but also to be young people. And that sometimes implies that, when you are given the power to choose the theme for the summer programs, you decide it is all going to be about space camp.

What brought Mariel through those doors this summer is the long-standing question of how we can use our existing windows into youth’s lives to promote critical thinking about the technologies in their everyday lives. What brings Brittany is the feeling of exploration that happens everyday in the radio studio, which she imagines to be similar to what Armstrong felt on the moon. But the beautiful thing about youth development is that it’s not about one or two forces dictating the path.

Some think that creating educational experiences is about choosing the wackiest ice breaker and pushing people through the right number of post-it brainstorms. But really, curriculum building is closer to juggling, pulling a vast number of elements into a symphony; facilitating is about encouraging a process of group thinking and learning process that fits within a larger pathway.
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Youth media literacy curriculum work tends to juggle three main components: technical skills, conceptual and analytical skills, and collaborative skills. In terms of ZUMIX radio workshops, the technical part involves learning the ins and outs of a radio studio, the software, the ZOOM recorder, and then the radio formats; conceptually, it’s about developing a grasp of the topic of choice — in our case, inner and outer space, and the technologies connecting them — and the ability to communicate those themes to each other and an audience; collaboratively, our youth practiced ways of working together to make a unified show, exploring the space camp theme selected by the ZUMIX Teen Council.

What this meant in practice for our summer radio program with youth, ages 13 to 17:

  • In terms of radio formats, we focused on the vox pop (meaning ‘the voice of the people’ — our link to outer space) to promote understanding of others’ perspectives; radio diaries (one person’s audio documentary of their day — our link to inner space) to promote richer reflections on the topic at stake. To explore the ‘colors’ of radio, we also designed a produced show introduction and sonic IDs.
  • In terms of the topic of analysis, we promoted tech reflection through exercises like ‘A Day in our Musical Lives’, critical discussions of app features like the Snapchat map and Jukedeck, best and worst case scenario exploration, and the interpretation of youth and adult tech perspectives from our ‘Tech Spectrogram’. From these exercises, our youth chose two topics, Snapchat and music technology, as the frames for each of their two radio shows.
  • In terms of radio communications skills, youth set goals for their own learning, through critical listening of their recorded radio work. The goals they determined after the recording of their first show were: improve the natural flow between the inner space and outer space segments, minimize ‘awkward silences’ and dead air, and practice voice tones and volumes.

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The broader youth development approach of the program (and ZUMIX as an organization) had an impact on different levels of the process. Our own co-facilitation involved Ana, a 14-year-old MLK intern at ZUMIX, who mastered ice breakers and her own radio production skills to facilitate the process for the group. The improvement of radio work was all based on the group’s own assessment and their own goals. And a lot of the class time was about creating opportunities for listening and talking about the portions of our lives that otherwise would not get discussed.

And then it’s about how all of this fits into a pathway; how this workshop builds on skills that youth have already developed in school and in other ZUMIX programs, and also crafting the steps that follow. We are happy for the launch of The Firehouse — a new daily radio program at ZUMIX, with collaborative themes and music curation, that aims to bridge the gap between the introductory course and independent youth-produced shows.

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In the end, helping youth realize their potential and their actuality implies connecting their pathway to a broader community. Youth media literacy work is about learning to communicate with others, from the ability to interview Nate Matias about Snapchat and Alexander Dorsk about music technology, to creating content that addresses community needs.

Despite this juggling of infinite elements, the intro radio program at ZUMIX is about creating empathy for your co-hosts on a radio show, and gratitude for the beautiful window radio provides into our communities. And if as an educator you are wondering about radio as an outlet to see this transformation happen, give it a try — wait until you see their faces when they listen to their own recordings on air.

You can find the curriculum for this program here.

You can also listen to ZUMIX radio, and see some tweets and other photos from the process.

Take a listen to an episode of Intergalactic Intersection!

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ZUMIX Radio Interviews IBA Youth

Last week, ZUMIX Radio host Dawry opened the studio doors to a bold a bright group of young people from the sound art program at Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion (IBA). This summer was the group’s first time experimenting with audio – writing commentaries and interviewing friends to create radio pieces on topics of their chooding. The pieces aimed to show that, big or small, our passions keep us moving.

Broadcast live on 94.9FM, IBA‘s show featured eight radio stories and brief interviews about the inspiration behind them.  Check out the recording below to hear more about the young people’s thoughts on net neutrality, their dominican identity, the importance of art-making, and dreams of becoming a pilot, to name a few.  Thanks so much to Inquilinos Boricuas en Accion and their dedicated instructor, Crystal Wegner, who led these youth through their first audio projects. We hope these are the first of many stories.

Staff Picks: August 2017

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It’s back-to-school season! We aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to summer but until one of us finds a time-turner we don’t have much of a say in the matter. The best way to head into a new school-year (or season for those of us not heading back to the classroom) is with new jams. ZUMIX has got you covered there, look no further! Strap on your backpack, pop on some headphones, and with this playlist in tow – you’re ready to face the day. Happy listening!

“Blue Boss” by Sampa The Great


“I love this song because I can listen to it and feel empowered while doing anything.” – Nikala Peroni, Development & Communications Associate

“Doomed” by Banana

“Banana is a really great local band with a distinctive sound- highly recommend checking out one of their upcoming shows!” – Kelly Baker, Director of Development

“Woman” by Kesha (feat. The Dap-Kings Horns)


“This song is a female empowerment anthem and a reminder to all listeners that women are stronger and more independent than society likes to believe!” – Saphire Broxton, Events Intern

“Temporary Tattoos (last forever) 2” by sourcreamqueen

“All of her music is such a big inspiration on me and I love the attitude she brings to the table with each and every song!!!” – Gabi Barroso, ZUMIX Teen Council

“Strawberry Letter 23” by The Brothers Johnson


“Unadulterated Funk with a side of psychedelic soul. Don’t worry, there’s enough for seconds…” – Scott Mizrachi, Community Engagement Coordinator

“Had Ten Dollaz” by Cherry Glazerr


“Cherry Glazerr is killing it on the festival circuit domestically and internationally and channels riot grrrl vibes wherever they go. The group is fronted by Clementine Creevy who just turned 20 years old, a fact that most stories written about them can’t leave out. If there’s one thing that we know at ZUMIX, it’s that talent is not correlative to age, maybe sometime the headlines will too. You go, Clementine!” – Jeeyoon Kim, Events Associate

“Room” by Palehound


“I’m just going to use a quote for this one: ‘This song celebrates queer love and the joy of finding a healthy relationship after a long time of heartbreak and shame,’ Ellen Kempner told The FADER via email. ‘For the majority of my life I saw my queerness as a curse and I have recently come to see it for what it is: a huge gift and a source of immeasurable love and happiness for me.’ And also, the art for this video is too beautiful.” – Sarah Saydun, Pathways Coordinator

“Shame” by Rachel Baiman


“I love that she’s confronting the stigma of ‘shame,’ as a woman in a music genre that tends to disproportionately highlight male voices. Especially in bluegrass music, which can often slant a little more traditional, it’s really refreshing to hear an artist overtly challenging those norms.” – Anni Leff, Development & Communications Associate

“Caroline” by Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers


“Steve Martin is brilliant. Feels so nice to relish in this fun tune and witness his unending passion for storytelling and humor.”  – Rene Dongo, Radio Program Coordinator

“1-800-273-8255” by Logic Ft. Alessia Cara, Khalid


“Strong song and video. The discussion of identity now-a-days and suicide prevention seems to be a hot topic, Logic finds a very creative way to start the conversation here.” – Corey DePina, Youth Development and Performance Manager

“Stay Happy” by Broken Social Scene


“So many diverse musical elements come together to make this song both infectious and refreshing – a great track for listeners who are digging into this band for the first time or who are seasoned fans of the group.” – Magdalena Abrego, Teaching Artist

“Pa’ Respirar” by Bomba Estereo


“It’s a meditation, and it reminds us to breathe in the good and breathe out the bad. Plus the mountain filming and acoustic guitars alone are a like a deep breath.” – Brittany Thomas, Radio Station Manager

 

Volunteer Spotlight: Stefan Maryniak

 

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Do you know Stefan Maryniak? While he is deeply beloved by many in our community, the true extent of his involvement could easily have slipped under the radar…until now!

Beginning with his first foray into the ZUMIX Songwriting & Performance programs as a volunteer with the Write Rhythm in Spring of 2016, Stefan brought a level of expertise that was almost as impressive as his level of modesty about it. Having a rich background of experiences in music composition, production, and performance, it was clear from the start that there would be ample opportunities for Stefan to support ZUMIX programs in a thoughtful, inventive way. After that semester, Stefan expressed an interest in working with advanced songwriters to hone their craft, and since became an integral part of with Wild Painting’s monumental Boston Landmarks Orchestra collaboration, guiding the group in songwriting and orchestration. As if all of that wasn’t enough, he even provided a database management consultation with our administration team, drawing from his professional experience in software development!
Here’s what Wild Painting’s Angelina Botticelli has to say about working with Stefan:
“I got the privilege to work very closely with Stefan when Wild Painting started writing for the Landmarks Orchestra collaboration. We started off as strangers and 6 months later, he’s not only super close to me, but to everyone in the band. He knows our inside jokes and he’s become someone we look to for insight and advice. He’s one of the nicest, coolest, most down to earth people I’ve ever gotten to work with/meet & his British accent makes it even better.” 
Stefan, from all of us here at ZUMIX, thank you for making a difference in our community through your love of music and support of talented young people. You totally rock!

Boston Landmarks Orchestra & ZUMIX: Anthems of the World

By, Saphire Broxton, Events Intern

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On August 9th, ZUMIX youth band Wild Painting performed with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra at the Hatch Memorial Shell! ZUMIX has been partners with the Boston Landmarks Orchestra for the past two years, and this year the theme was Anthems of the World. The performance was one of six that night, along with performances from the Boston String Academy and music from composers such as Amy Beach.

Wild Painting’s “Views”, written and produced with the help of Gonzalo Grau specifically for this performance, is raw and emotional, and described as “an anthem of youth culture”. It features three main components that are meant to describe three aspects of life many youth today experience: pressure, passion/production, and activism. The transitions between the three parts were flawless; going from upbeat, to more emotional and intense, then back to upbeat. The lyrics were breathtaking and honest, featuring lines such as “the pressures getting around and pulling me down”, “music is flowing and growing seeds in the ground”, and “if we’re taught to be conscious consumers are knowledge and our loving is what brought us here”.

 

Not only were the lyrics amazing, but the combination of the band’s instruments and vocals with the orchestra’s instruments were so powerful and uninhibited that you could not help but be moved. The performance was astounding, and a perfect example of the greatness that can be created when youth are allowed to be creative and true to themselves. Wild Painting broke barriers with their performance, and there is no doubt that they, and other youth as well, will continue to do so in the very near future.

 

Listen to and download Wild Painting’s first album, Emotions, here: http://www.nimbitmusic.com/zumix/

Follow them on their social medias to keep up to date:

Instagram: wildpainting.band

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wildpainting.band/

Meet Our Youth Staff: Kaylene Sheran

By, Saphire Broxton, Events Intern

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Kaylene Sheran

This summer, ZUMIX has a new group of youth staff members working here as part of the John Hancock MLK Summer Scholars Program! We caught up with them and asked some questions about their lives, their connections to ZUMIX, and their connections to music! This week, I interviewed Kaylene Sheran – here are her responses:

What’s your name and age and where do you live?

Kaylene Sheran, 17, East Boston

If you could describe ZUMIX in one word, what would it be?

I would describe ZUMIX as powerful because it gives ordinary people extraordinary power to be able to share their thoughts and opinions through the arts.

How has ZUMIX impacted your life?

ZUMIX has impacted my life bc I’ve never been able to play sports due to my health so ZUMIX has given me an outlet to be able to express myself in ways that other programs are unable to

Who would you recommend to visit and learn about ZUMIX and why?

I would have to say that it would be my 11th grade English teacher because she started off doing radio  and I feel like she would really enjoy the radio station here.

What is your most prominent memory at ZUMIX?

My most prominent memory was when I got to go with Madeleine to WBZ radio and be on air to talk about the DJ event that was happening at ZUMIX at the time.

What about music is most important to you?

Music gives people a chance to express themselves in a way that other things like spoken word may not be able to give to them. I feel that every song has the power to connect to people on a personal basis because there are songs about every possible feeling and every possible situation someone may be in.

If you were a genre, which one would you be?

I think that I would be alternative because it’s kind of a genre like no other genre and I like to be unique and share my stories because I feel that every person is different and that’s what’s so special about the world.

This Summer Speakers Series Event Was Boss!

By Kaylene Sheran, Pathways Intern

On August 3rd, ZUMIX Pathways hosted the third Summer Speaker Series event of 2017, “How To Be Your Own Boss”. We welcomed six panelists, each of which had experience in being their own boss and running their own business. During this event, the panelists answered many of the typical questions that people have when they want to start their own business, as well as questions about their products and what a typical day of work looks like for them.

One of the main topics that the panelists focused on during this event were the challenges that they have faced as entrepreneurs. Tivan Amour, the CEO of Fortified Bicycle, spoke about the financial challenges that he faced when wanting to start Fortified Bicycle, since he had lost a large amount of money from two previous businesses endeavours. Tivan was able to overcome this challenge by creating a Kickstarter campaign for his product, which enabled him to raise the adequate amount of money needed to start his business. Mark Ethier, the CEO of iZotope also faced challenges in his company when his company began developing photo editing software. When Mark began to realize that the photo editing software that his company was producing was not in popular demand, he decided that his company would just solely work on technology that would inspire musicians and audio technicians.

Many of the panelists agreed when speaking about the keys of success in a business. All of the panelists believed that luck was a main factor in their success, since it typically takes a lot for entrepreneurs to get people interested in their products. It also takes luck to find employees who share the same values for the company and have the same ability to get the customers interested in a product. Kannan Thiruvengadam, the founder of Eastie Farm, spoke about the difficulties of having the ability to convince the city of Boston that a farm would be the best use of the land. Kannan was able to overcome this challenge by convincing city officials to provide him with a temporary permit, which allowed people to realize how beneficial Eastie Farm was to the community.

Some of the other panelists who spoke at this event included: Marlene Del Rosario, founder of Marlene Jazz Ensemble and Home Chef worker, jazz and pop teacher, and musician; Joel Edinberg, physicist and founder of Somerville Symphony Orkestar; and George Howard, entrepreneur and Business Teacher at Berklee College of Music and Brown University.

The next (and last) Summer Speaker Series event will be on Thursday, August 24th, 2017 from 6-8pm. The topic of this event will be “How To Turn Your Passion Into A Full Time Job”. The Summer Speaker Series events are free, and open to people of all ages. This event will take place in the main lobby at ZUMIX. We hope that you will attend!

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